Kayda means a rule or something bound to a limit or conditions. It is a composition that we can improvise in a taal cycle and it is designed according to the cycle. It must have khali and bhari components. Mostly, it is composed symmetrical to the taal cycle but sometimes takes a different approach. Kayda is firstly introduced by Delhi Gharana and then after it is adopted and developed by other Gharanas as well. 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 language in tabla that we form with the help of tabla syllables like - Ta, Tin, tu, Kat, etc.  Generally, Kaida starts with a bass phrase like "Dha, Dhin" and ends with a resonating sound, "Dhina, Dhinagina" etc.

It's not a single composition it is a set of Kayda's main theme, variations, or paltas and a tihai or a Chakradhar tihai. So this group all together forms a Kayda. They can be various types like in Tean Taal 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 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, and layas and also entertains the listeners as well as during a solo performance or accompany. ​This composition has multiple rules, or instructions 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 usually performed 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 pattern 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. No one is allowed to shift this variety of variation or palta to any other sequence (In some cases it is hard to create exact dohera). 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, followed by the first half of the Qaida. Third, without a base version of the first quarter, Fourth, Qaida first half. Most importantly, 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)


Here we are not using the above-mentioned regular pattern for the palta.


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. In tihai definition, we should not include the gap between the cycles as It differs Taal to Taal. For example, In Teen Taal we add 1½ beat gap between the tihai cycles, where in Roopak it is 0 gap, In Mat Taal, it is 1 full beat. So tihai is a group played three times with 'Dha' and the pause or gap between the cycles should be followed as per Taal cycles.



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”.


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 with Tihai three times to 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”.

This is just a single and most common pattern for Chakardar Tihai. You can create different patterns for the chakardar tihai by changing the size of the group and tihai of the above example. You need to calculate according to the cycle. A chakardar tihai can size upto 2-3 cycles. [some times we have examples as long as 4 cycles as well in teen taal, In short Taal Cycles like roopak, sizing upto 5-7 cycles looks normal.]

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