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Tappa Music - UPSC Current Affairs

Tappa is a captivating form of Indian semi-classical vocal music known for its fast-paced and intricate melodies. Originating from Punjab's folk songs, it has evolved into a refined art form with legendary exponents showcasing their skill and expertise.

May 14, 2023

3 min read

India's rich musical heritage encompasses a wide array of classical and semi-classical forms, each with its unique charm and essence. Among these, Tappa stands out as a mesmerizing genre that captivates listeners with its lively pace and intricate composition. With roots in the folk songs of Punjab's camel riders, Tappa has evolved into a refined form of classical music over time. This blog explores the vibrant world of Tappa, highlighting its distinctive characteristics and legendary exponents.



Tappa's allure lies in its energetic and nimble structure, characterized by fast-paced, intricate melodies. The term "tappa" itself denotes the act of jumping, bouncing, and skipping, reflecting the relentless pursuit of perfection by the singer. Unlike other Hindustani classical forms, Tappa demands uninterrupted, rhythmic notes without pauses, making it a true test of a singer's skill. Mastery over the diction is crucial, as even a slight deviation can undermine the entire performance. 

In contrast to the expansive and contemplative nature of khayal renditions, Tappa showcases a concise and volatile style. Its brisk tempo and rapid succession of notes create an exhilarating musical experience. Renowned maestros like Ghulam Nabi, Pt. Bholanath Bhatt, and Girija Devi have elevated Tappa to unparalleled heights with their extraordinary expertise, solidifying their status as legends in this genre.

Tappa's journey from its folk origins to a refined classical form is a testament to the dynamic nature of Indian music. It was Mian Ghulam Nabi Shori, a court singer for Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowlah of Awadh, who played a crucial role in shaping Tappa into a recognized art form. In 18th and 19th-century Bengal, the enchanting renditions of "Nidhubabur Tappa" by Nidhu Babu garnered immense popularity. Today, Tappa continues to thrive through the contributions of contemporary artists like Laxmanrao Pandit, Shamma Khurana, Manvalkar, Ishwarchandra Karkare, and Jayant Khot.

Tappa, with its lively rhythm, intricate melodies, and rich historical legacy, stands as a testament to the incredible diversity within Indian classical music. Its unique ability to captivate listeners with its bouncing and re-bouncing notes sets it apart from other vocal forms. The mastery required to navigate its relentless pace and deliver flawless renditions has cemented Tappa's place as an art form that demands both technical prowess and emotional depth. As we continue to explore the vast tapestry of Indian music, Tappa's exceptional artistry will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on our hearts and minds.

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