The Patiala gharana, though of comparatively recent origin, has made its mark on the musical scene early and in many ways. The chief feature of the thumri in the school is its incorporation of the tappa ang (tappa aspect) from the Punjab region. Thus, the gharana immediately makes its presence felt as a fresh departure from the khayal-dominated Benaras and the dance-oriented Lucknow thumri-s. These thumri-s dazzle on account of their imaginative and extremely swift movements. Of equal importance is the intricacy of tonal patterns – a special mark of tappa.
The Patiala thumri is also influenced by folk tunes of the region, which are in Pahadi, and its multiple varieties. The descending and lyrical tonal patterns associated with the Heer songs of the region are known for their moving quality and Patiala thumri has certainly benefited from this regional source.
However, while gaining on one front the Patiala thumri has lost on the other. The dazzle it has cannot be retained for longer stretches and, thus, the thumri lacks in expansiveness. The musical ideas it throws up are brilliant but short-lived and the effects, though intense, do not have the potential for an elaborate treatment.
Some scholars have pointed out regional variations of the form. For example, thumri-s sung by Ustad Abdul Karim Khan and his followers have been described as khayali thumri-s on account of their perceptible lack of eroticism and seriousness of approach bordering on the devotional. This kind of thumri was shaped in Maharashtra. Yet another variety from the same region popularized by Master Krishnarao, a senior disciple of Pt. Bhaskarbuwa Bakhale, is delightfully cerebral and lyrical as it relies on imaginative variations not necessarily emotive in impact and intent. Maharashtra also brought into vogue Baithakichi Lavani, a form which was a musical response to the Hindustani thumri in every way, though the text is in Marathi. Variations of the form in Bengal are also worth considering. In the final analysis, all these claims prove the major musical contribution of the prototype thumri discussed with the added perspective offered by the gharana-s outlined earlier.