Types of Powade and Powade Accompaniments

Types of powade

Shahiri poetry appears in three types:

  1. Gondhli powade,
  2. Bhativ powade,
  3. Shahiri powade.

Gondhli powade deal with deeds of deities and importance of sacred places. Gondhali Shahir composed these powade. They used to sing with purpose of collecting money at the time of 'aarti' (a religious ceremony). Gondhal is ritual performed by Gondhalis at various religious ceremonies in temples and households.

Bhats or Bandis sing the second kind of powade. They used to enjoy royal patronage. Their work praised the ruler, their benevolence, their sports, or pleasure. Such songs were called "Bhativ" during the Yadav period. The wandering Bhats were known as 'Nagari' or 'Magadh'. They used to spontaneously compose and sing to earn rewards from the rich.

The third type of singers is known as Shahir. Their subjects covered battles, deaths of illustrious personalities, killings, aggression, valor, revolutions, riots, burglary, famine, floods, etc. They used to perform from place to place and subsist on donations from the audience.

Types (According to Koshkar)

  1. Powada
  2. Lawani
  3. Daf Gane
  4. Bhedik Gane
  5. Dehavarche Gane

Powade accompaniments

Initially, powade were accompanied by instruments like 'daf' (similar to the tambourine), 'tuntune' (a single stringed musical instrument being continuously played during the performance), and 'zanj’, or ‘taal’ or ‘manjiri’ (cymbals). Subsequently many instruments other instruments were added to the mix, like, harmonium, shehnai, dholki, tabla, violin, triangle etc.

In daf gane (songs accompanied by the daf) the beginning is made by 'gan'. This tone is rather low which is raised in subsequent part. In tamasha the party consists of both- male and female performers. The male singing falsetto was said to be of 'gali' voice.


The Marathi name tuntuni was prevalent in the South of Narmada, while in the North of India, 'ektari' was in use. Usually male singers used to perform in 'kali 2' range. Tuntune was tuned to 'madhyam' of kali 2 shadja (SA).Ordinary singers find that note little higher. We note here that the Marathi word 'tuntunya', the person playing the tuntune, also refers to a witless fellow who repeats expressions of another.


Is usually tuned in a high pitch. Marathi Dholki is probably an in-between stage of Hindustani Dhol and Mrudang.It might have come from Karnataka. Dholki provides 'taal' (rhythm.)


The halgi is a smaller version of Daf, and played with Dholki.


The daf is a type of tambourine and is played in 'daf gane' for providing rhythm. Daf is used to provide a slow tempo (laya). In Marathwada to match double the laya, dholki is used along with daf. This type of singing is known as 'chhand' as against 'pad' type to slow laya.


For clarity of words, slow laya is necessary. To provide such a tempo, zanj (small cymbals) or taal (a bigger variety) are used.

Tabla (Indian drums)

Traditionally powade used to be sung accompanied with daf, tuntune, and zanj, however, recently, non-traditional instruments like tabla, harmonium, triangle have become popular.


When harmonium was not allowed on All India Radio, Shahir Prabhakar used to take violin and tanpura accompaniment during Radio performances, along with traditional instruments.

Last updated 200310211350.