Generally, my consultants felt that dāndān poems were less formal than tristich reǧzīt and ʾōdī we-krēm krēm poems. Unlike reǧzīt, for instance, dāndān couplets may address sentimental and jocular topics when performed at a festive event. In the words of Mahri poets ʿAlī Nāṣir Bālḥāf and Ḥājj Dākōn, collectively chanted dāndān couplets are performed later in the evening after the “serious business” of the collective reǧzīt is finished (personal communication, al-Ghaydha, 2004). However, dāndān poems were for the most part viewed as the hemistich counterparts to tristich reǧzīt and ʾōdī we-krēm krēm poems.
In this way, the term dāndān demonstrates both the range of the Mahri metapoetic lexicon as well as its lack of concern for strict generic boundaries. Indeed, it was the lack of specificity of the term dāndān that initially lead me to focus on genre unmarked poetry in al-Mahra, and thence to the conclusion that formal parameters—rather than genres—were the most effective way to describe the coherence of the Mahri poetic system.