Kayda is a composition that we can improvise in a taal cycle, it literally means rule or something bound in a limit. It must have khali and bhari components. Mostly, it is composed symmetrical to the taal cycle but sometimes it takes a different approach. It is also mentioned as Qaida. Kayda is an essential component in tabla. It is a well-structured composition of tabla Phrases and syllables. As we know, we have our own language in tabla that we form with the help of tabla syllables like – Ta, Tin, tu, Kat, etc.  Generally, it starts with a bass phrase like “Dha, Dhin” and it ends with a resonating sound as well.

It’s not a single composition it is a set of Kayda main theme, variations, or paltas and tihai or Chakradhar tihai. So this group all together from a Kayda. They can be a variety of types like in Teamthal we can create kaydas in 4-4, 8-8, and 3-2-3-like patterns. Also in variations we have variety, which we discuss in the upcoming Para with the Chakradar tihai at the end, we also have a variety of forms that we can use with the Qaida. (Very soon we will upload that chapter in detail separately right here to show the different types of chakradars which you can use with the Kaida.

Kayda – Teen Taal

Kayda Teen Taal 2

The kaida is the most commonly used composition as it showcases a variety of phrases, layas and also entertained the listeners as well as during a solo performance or accompany. ​This composition has multiple rules, or guidelines to follow while improvising. It is also mentioned as Kaida or Qaida.

  • Kaydas start with Base Sounds (such as dhati dhage, dhadha tit, Ghena Dhage, etc).
  • It is played in vilambit or madhya laya. Certain compositions may be played faster than others depending on the bols and flow of the composition.
  • Kaydas follow the khaali-bhari arrangement of taal, but in some cases, It can follow a different division as well (refer to the example given below).
  • The bols of the paltas / variations must follow the kayda phrases.
  • The very first variation should be Dohera. Noone is allowed to shift this variety of variation or palta two any other sequence. It should be played in the first position after Qaida main theme.
  • Kaydas are formed in various jaati by different gharanas according to their style: Chatushra, Tisra, Khand, Mishra, Sankeerna.

Structure of Kayda, Palta, Sampoorna Palta, Tihai, Chakardar Tihai:

Kayda: A can be of different sizes and divisions in a particular taal cycle. For Example, We can use them in 4-4, 8-8, 3-2-3, etc. divisions of the composition.

4-4 (Short Lenght Kaydas)


8-8 (Medium Lenght Kaydas)

3-2-3 (Medium Lenght Kaydas)

16-16 (long Lenght Kaydas)



For palta or variation we have a very simple rule. First, We should improvise in the first quarter and second, follow by the first half of the Qaida. Third, without a base version of the first quarter, Fourth, Qaida first half. Most importantly, last we should use Dhina, Dhinagina, etc to close the variation.

Sound Effect Structure:

First Quarter –

Second Quarter –


Third Quarter –

Without Base
Fourth Quarter –



Sampoorna Palta

In this version of palta the regular model will change to where we are using kayda first half in the second and fourth quarter of the variation. This time we should improvise overall the cycle without showing the first half of the kayda. (You should still use kayda phrases only)



When we are performing a kayda, Peshkar, rela, etc followed by paltas or sampoorna paltas, then we have to conclude the composition by playing a Tihai or Chakardar at last. Tihai is a composition when we play a phrase group three times with ‘Dha’ without any change.


For Kayda when we form a Tihai, we should use phrase group from it’s main theme only.

Simple example of Kayda Tihai in Teen Taal. We are adding a Tihai for Kayda “DhaDha Tit DhaDha Tina, TaTa Tit DhaDha Dhina”.

Kayda Tihai

Chakardar Tihai

Same as Tihai this is a phrase group that we play to conclude the kayda, Peshkar, Rela, etc but it has slightly different structure.

For Chakardar Tihai we play a short phrase group from the kayda followed by a Tihai. Then we play this combination of Phrase group and Tihai three times it will form Chakardar Tihai. (Note: There are several ways to form a Chakardar Tihai, we are adding just one example).

A simple example of Kayda Chakardar Tihai in Teen Taal. We are adding a Chakardar Tihai for Kayda “DhaDha Tit DhaDha Tina, TaTa Tit DhaDha Dhina”.

Kayda Chakardar Tihai

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