March 20, 2006

Guru Fateh!

Some of you may have read my previous post on Partals. Some details in there were wrong so I have deleted it and I am writing a new post on Partals now.

Partals basically means the use of different Taals in one shabad. Normally if we sing a shabad in the 16 beat Teen taal or the 12 beat Ik taal, we sing the entire shabad in that particular taal. However, in partal the Asthai is sung in one taal and the Antras are sung in another taal. At times antras are sung in different taals as well.

In the Guru Granth Sahib Ji there are some shabads with the word Partaal in the title . For example “Nat Narayan Melha 4 Partal – Page 977“. This means that this shabad must be sung in Raag Nat Narayan and the composition must involve more than one taal i.e the Asthai and Antra cannot be sung in the same taal.

The reason why these shabads are to be sung is different taals is because of the variation in the stanza and the line size. Lets look at the shabad in Raag Kanra – Har Jas Gavo Bhagwan on page 1297 of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. This is a partal shabad.

kwnVw mhlw 4 ]
hir jsu gwvhu Bgvwn ]
jsu gwvq pwp lhwn ]
miq gurmiq suin jsu kwn ]
hir ho ho ikrpwn ]1] rhwau]
qyry jn iDAwvih iek min iek iciq qy swDU suK pwvih jip hir hir nwmu inDwn ]
ausqiq krih pRB qyrIAw imil swDU swD jnw gur siqgurU Bgvwn ]1]
ijn kY ihrdY qU suAwmI qy suK Pl pwvih qy qry Bv isMDu qy Bgq hir jwn ]
iqn syvw hm lwie hry hm lwie hry jn nwnk ky hir qU qU qU qU qU Bgvwn ]2]6]12]

A cursory glance tells you that there is no uniformity in the number of lines making up a stanza. The Raho Stanza(in red) has 4 small lines . The 1st and 2nd Stanzas have 2 long lines(in blue). If you have basic knowledge of music you will know that it is close to impossible to sing this shabad in one taal. It can be sung but its not going to sound very nice. As a result of this guru sahib’s commanded us to sing it in different taals. As a general guideline taals with smaller theka like Kehrava ( 4 beats),Dardra(6 beats) and Rupak( 7 beats) used when singing a stanza with smaller lines. For stanza with longer lines the taals used at Iktaal( 12 beats), Chau taal (12 beats), Dhamar ( 14 beats).

Another point to note is repeating the same word a number of times(in green). This is particular to partaal shabads.

Partaals are found only in GuruMat Sangeet and are unheard of in Indian Classical Music. Singing in partal requires great deal of practice. Both the singer and the tabla player have to practice together as the tabla player must know exactly when he has to change back and forth from one taal to the other.

In my earlier post I had mentioned that I found 17 shabads in partal. That was an error on my part and I apologize for that. There are 17 headings with the word partal in them. I made the mistake of not counting how many shabads were there under each subheading. Amardeep Ji has a book on partals . In that book the partal shabads are given and the notations have been given as well. We saw 54 shabads in partals.

Partaal shabads are only written by Melha 4 and Melha 5.The raags in which they are written in are Asa,Dhanasree,Sohee,Bilawal,Ramkali,NatNarayan,Nat,Bahiro,Sarang,Malhar, Kanra and Parbhatee

Some shabads in Partaal

The following shabads MUST be sung in partal cause they fall under the subheading of Partaal.

Shabad : Mohan Neend Na Aavae
Raag: Bilawal
Singer: Bhai Avtar Singh Ji

Shabad : Preet preet guriya mohan lalna
Raag: Suhi
Singer: Bhai Avtar Singh Ji

Shabad : Gur munar priy dyar

Raag: Gaund Malhar
Singer: Bhai Avatar Singh ji

Shabad : Har Jas Gavoh Bhagvan

Raag: Darbari Kanada
Taals : Ada Chautala, Iktaal, Rupak
Singer: Bhai Avatar Singh ji

Shabad : Man jap ram gopal

Raag: Darbari Kanada
Singer: Bibi Jaswant Kaur

Shabad : Har jan bolat sri ram nama

Raag: Sudh Malhar
Singer: Bibi Jaswant Kaur


The following shabads do NOT have Partal in the title. These shabads need not be sung in partal. The use of partal here is optional.

Shabad : Dekh Phool Phool Phoole

Raag: Basant Bhar
Taals: Chartaal,Ektaal,Tintaal,Soolfak
Singer: Amrit and Meher Kaur

Shabad : Man Kaha Bisaryo Ram Nam
Raag: Basant(Marwa)
Singer: Bhai Gupal Singh

Shabad : Kaun bidh taki kaha karun
Raag: Kalyan
Taals: Chartaal, Rupak, Sulfaq, Teental
Singer: Bhai Gupal Singh

Shabad : Hau Kurbani Jao
Raag: Tilang
Singer: Kids from Boston Chapter

Guru Ang Sang!

Angad Singh


2 Responses to “Partaals”

  1. Angad Singh Says:

    the reason why guru sahib wrote in partaals was to bring our mind back to the shabad ..when the rythm changes..our mind that has wondered away comes back..

    in addition it also signifies that bani is above does not dominate bani

  2. Vaheguru Says:

    whoa!! some really valuable information!!!!! thanks!

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