athak music begins with the "lahara" which is played by the sarangi, sitar, flute, or sarod and played as accompaniment for the abstract or "nritta" portion of the dance. The word "lahara" is a derivative of the word lahar, meaning current of a river or a stream. In Sanskrit and Hindi, it means a pleasurable tune. The current of lahara takes the dance along with its rhythm, and so the dance is intensely saturated with rhythm. It can be composed in as many talas (rhythmic cycles) the artist would use. The repetition of one strain of lahara in one avarti or cycle or from sum to sum (starting point) is purposely done as the abstract is mainly time measurement and it helps to the correctness of time. So lahara is the examining balance of the rhythm of abstract or "nritta." Lahara is the speed or tempo of rhythm. The technique of dance is regulated by lahara. Each pattern in rhythm is rendered mainly in three tempos vilambit (slow), madhya (medium) and drut (fast).The performers efficiency in technique is marked the artist's dexterity in rendering any rhythmic pattern the fastest tempo called drut.

The rhythm of kathak dance is played in cycles of beats according a particular number of beats or matras. Bols or rhythmic syllables are used to express particular rhythmic or dance patterns played on the tabla or pakawaj.The most common and versatile of rhythmic cycles is the "teen tal" having the capacity to express three separate rhythms within one. It has one "khali" beat at the 9th beat- meaning that the right tabla "dayan" is not played.The rhythm teen tal is expressed as dha dhin dhin dha;dha dhin dhin dha ; dha tin tin ta; ta dhin dhin dha Teen tal is cycle is broken down as 1-2-3-4/5-6-7-8/9-10-11-12/13-14-15-16 and 1.The accents are 1-5-13. Other rhythms also widely used are "jhapa" 10 beats which is expressed on tabla as dhin na dhin dhin na- tin na -dhin dhin na 1-2-1-2-3/1-2/1-2/3, tal "roopoak" or seven beats tin tin na­dhiin na;dhin na, 1-2-3/4-5/6-7, and 14 beats, tal "dhamar" which is expressed as ka -dhi-ta- dhi -ta/dha -Dhee-na/Dee -na -ta­ or 1-2-3-4-5/6-7/8-9-10/11-12-13-14

Jatis and yatis are used in the compositions of the various bols. Jatis are species of talas and are of five kinds. Chatusra, Tisra, Misra,Khanda and Sankirna. Chatusra is four beats of bols, Tisra is three beats, Khanda have five beats and Misra seven and Sankirna nine beats. Laya Jati is tihai in different Jatis rendered with teen tal as basic time measure. The tihai starts from sum or from any other place, and repeats the patterns three times and ending on sum

"Nritya" expressional dance, songs such as "thumri", "geet" and "ghazal" are sung to accompany the dance, and the dancer brings out the meaning and inherent emotion through appropriate gestures and suiting movements and postures.

Ghungaroos are the bells tied around the ankles of a Kathak dancer to reflect the sound of the percussion instruments such as the tabla or pakawaj. Traditionally, 100-150 ghungaroos are tied on each ankle. Kathak and folk dances are the only dances in which so many ghungaroos are used.

It is a long practiced art of the dancer to produce the volume of the sound from ghungaroos. The volume increases and decreases in accordance with the desired accents and emphasis on the rhythmic pieces and also with intensity of the expressions of various kinds of sentiments.

Music and dance have been the chief forms of religious expression in India. The origin of music in India is attributed to gods and goddesses and to mythological figures like gandharvas and kinnaras who figure in all the stories and legends connected with the science and practice of music.

Ancient Sanskrit literature and treatises on the science of music commonly refer to musical instruments. Ancient Indian sculpture also depicts musical instruments with astounding wealth of detail. Numerous varieties of drums, flutes, veenas and bells are shown in the ancient sculptures. These sculptures and paintings reveal performers who participated in concerts and dance programs. As for the theory of the music they practiced and the name and characteristics of the instruments they used, the only sources of information are the treatises that deal directly with music.

The migrations of Indian music to the countries surrounding at an early period forms an interesting subject of study. In pre-Buddhist times, India had trade relations with Middle East, Greece, Turkey and other regions; and naturally there was an exchange of music. Ragas or modes depict certain emotions which are shared universally. This exchange of music and feelings has been shared throughout the world. My experience has brought me to witness this first hand. Ragas Bhairava, Todi and Chandrakauns are shared throughout eastern Europe, Greece and the Middle East.

The sitar is perhaps the commonest of all the stringed instruments of northern India. In superficial appearance the sitar is very much like a veena. The body is usually made of a gourd cut in half near the core. Originally the gourd was almost flat like the back of a tortoise, and therefore such sitars were called kachchawa. The name kachchapi was also given to a type of veena for the same reason.

The fingering of the sitar is about three fee long and three inches wide, hollow and deeply concave, covered with a thin piece of wood. There are sixteen to twenty-two slightly curved frets of brass or silver. These are secured to the finger-board by pieces of gut which pass underneath. This arrangements makes it possible for the frets to move so that intervals of any scale can be produced. There are eleven or twelve sympathetic strings (trab) which run almost parallel to the main strings under the frets. These are secured to small pegs fixed at the side of the finger-board. The sympathetic strings are tuned to produce the scale of the melody which is being played. The sitar is played by means of wire plectrum (mizrab) worn on the forefinger of the right hand. The thumb is pressed firmly upon the edge of the gourd so that the position of the right hand should change as little as possible.

The sarod is one the the most popular instruments of the stringed variety. Though it is not known for certain where the sarod originated, it has been suggested that it is a descendant of the rabab, a popular instrument of the Middle East. The sarod is from three to three and a half feet long and is made of wood. One ed of the body is rounded, nearly a foot in diameter and ocvered with parchment. The round part gradually joins the neck There are six main strings including the chikari for the drone and rhythmic accompaniment. All the strings are metallic. They are fastened to pegs at the neck end of the instrument.

It is worth mentioining that in the the ancient Greco-Buddist art of Gandara (moderna Afghanistan), an instrument of this type in a primitive form is represented in the early centures of our era. This instrument was played with long plectrums, probably made of bone or wood. This Gandhara instrument could be a precursor of the modern sarod and perhaps it was not imported from the Middle East at all.

The sarangi take a prominent place as accompaniment to the main artist in a musical concert of Kathak dance. It is suitable for both solo playing and for accompanying dance music. It is easy to produce all type of gamakas on this instrumemt. In fact it is said to be closest to the human voice. The sarangi is about two feet long. It is made of hollowing cut of a single block of wood and covering it with parchment. A bridge is placed on the belly in the middle. The sides of the sarange are pinched to facilitate bowing. Four tunning pegs are fixed to the hollow head, one on each side. The instrument usually has three main strings of gut of varying thickness.It is played with a horsehair bow which is held in the right hand. The fingers do not press the strings down on the finger-board as in the case of the violin but press against the strings at the sides. It has all along been a folk instrument used by the common peoople for their simple music.

Tabla is the most widely used percussion instrument in the north. Although the pakawaj is the most ancient of all percussion instrument, it has been superseded by the tabla. The tabla constitutes a vital part of Kathak dance music. The tabla is a pakhawaj in two pieces. Insteaf of being one drum with two heads, it is two drums with separate head. The tabla is believed to be one of the innovations of Amir Khusrau who flourished in Delhi in the reign of 13th century. The name tabla seems to have been derived from a kind of Arabian drum called tabla. The tabla has a highly developed technique of playing and in the hands of a master is a capable of producing almost all the patterns of rhythms and cross rhythms that a musician can conceive of. The well-established time cycles (talas) are rendered in terms of drumming phrases (bols) called theka. The theka constitutes the drummers's basic structure which he elaborates and upon which he freely improvises.

The pakhawaj is a highly developed percussion instrument. The name pakhawaj seems to have been derived from the awaj, a king of drum used during the Mughal period and described as two kettle drums joind together at the reverse ends, their heads covered with skin and braced with thongs." The pakahawaj is used in accompanying kathak dancers and classical vocal music.


The Duffali also called khanjari is one of the most ancient musical instruments of the percussion variety. It is used all over India for accompoanying folk songs and devotional music. The duffali is very simple construction and consists of a circular wooden frame about ten inches in diameter and two inches broad. Across one side, some type of skin is stretched. The other side is left open. The frame is proved with three or four slits and a few pieces of metal or coins are inserted in a cross-bar inside the slit. These make a jingling sound when the instrument is shaken. The variations in sound are brought about by pressing the skin near the rim with the four fingers while laying.