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sinhayash

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #1 
Hello everyone,
I was looking for a complete set of rules which dictate how a Tabla player should accompany a singer in Khayal gayaki. I have not found any such list in the books and blogs I have searched. However, based on my experience I have listed down the following rules.

A. Must Have Rules:
  1. Tabla (stroke) should be tuned in one of the allowed notes in the raag.
  2. First beat (sam) should align with the emphatic syllable of the lyric. (For example in Pya, in the popular bandish Jaago Mohan Pyaare in raag Bhairav).
  3. The length of taal cycle should be same as the rhythm cycle of bandish.
  4. The vibhags of the taal cycle should match. (because there can be two taals of same length but different vibhag structure. True?)
  5. Tempo should match.
  6. Taan/subsection when end on sam, sam should be highlighted with a variation (prakar).
  7. ...
B. Nice to Have Rules:
  1. Suitable theka of taal should be played. (How to know what is suitable?)
  2. The Tabla notes should have similar note density as note density in bandish. This means if the singer sings taan in chougun, the tabla player should also have a similar variation (prakar) with Tabla notes in chougun. (Is it correct?, Can we refine it?)
  3. A tabla player should accompany with similar pieces. For example tihayi with tihayi with samilar length of palla and pauses. (Can we elaborate this?)
  4. ...

What more rules can be added here? Please help me. Please add a new rule or refine the rule by mentioning the numbering of the rule: A# or B#. 

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dhatitdha

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Reply with quote  #2 
There are few I had written as tips, especially accompanying string instruments. You may find them useful

http://vishwamohini.com/music/music.php?id=200
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sinhayash

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you Shivraj Ji. Based on your post, I can add the following rules:

A. Must Have Rules:
6. Taan/subsection when end on sam, sam should be highlighted with a variation (prakar). The variations should be small.


B. Nice to Have Rules:
4. No accompanying for alaap.
5. Initial tempo of utaan and variations should be according to the tempo of gat. (Sober for vilambit, aggressive for drut) (Refining B#3)
6. Laya should be intact while the main artist is improvising.
7. Play correct matras especially in vilambit.
8. Incremental improvisation in laya. (Refining B#3)

Are there any more Must Have rules, which cannot be broken?

Is there a book on Music accompaniment that systematically discusses this? 


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sinhayash

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Reply with quote  #4 

There is a book Art and science of playing Tabla which discusses this:

 

 

Quote:

Tabla Accompaniment: An Overview

What is Accompaniment? Accompaniment refers to the musical support extended by one or a group of artistes to the chief performer during a recital. If you have been to a Hindustani vocal music concert, you might have noticed that there are several performers on the stage. Usually one or two persons play the Tanpura continuously. There may be a Harmonium player or a Sarangi player (or both), who provide melodic support to the vocalist by replicating the vocal melodic patterns or taans. Then there is a Tabla player, who provides the rhythmic support by playing the theka. Occasionally, the Tabla player interjects with a brief composition and breaks the monotony or provides a much-needed breather to the chief performer. All these musicians support the chief performer, and are therefore known as accompanists. All performances — be it vocal, instrumental or Kathak dance —require the support of able accompaniment. Imagine, how boring it would be to attend a two-hour a capella concert! In fact, the success of a concert depends, to a large extent, on the musical support offered by accompanists. It is they who can make or mar a concert — turn a lacklustre performance into a heartily enjoyable concert, or take the wind off the sails of even a great performer.

Types of Accompaniment on the Tabla

Most scholars agree that accompaniment on the Tabla should depend upon the kind of music being accompanied. Broadly, accompaniment on the Tabla can be of two types:
a) Ann Sangati (Replicative accompaniment): In this form of accompaniment, the Tabla player provides a steady rhythmic support to the chief performer, by playing the theka. The Tabla player makes a mental note of the laya variations, tihais, and stresses of the chief performer and replicates them on the Tabla, while the chief performer sings or plays the gat, which indicates the rhythmic cycle or taal. This format is usually followed while accompanying Khayals, and stringed or wind instruments.

The advantage of this format is that the laya remains steady, because one of the two performers hold on to it steadily. This form of accompaniment acquires a dramatic dimension when the replication is of brief pieces, and is then known as sawal-jawab (sawal=question, j awab=answer).

b) Saha Sangati (Complementary accompaniment): This format is also called saath sangat. A variation of this form of sangat is ladant ki sangat (combative accompaniment). In this form, both the chief performer and the Tabla player try to outperform each other by playing their pieces simultaneously. There is a deliberate effort on the part of both the performers to confuse the other, and thereby establish a sort of musical supremacy.

Consequently, the combatants deploy intricate variations of tempo, graha ( ateet-anagat ) variations and several other tactics. This format is chiefly followed in Dhruvapad and Dhamar recitals; and Sitar, Sarod, Santoor, Flute or Kathak recitals performed in the upaj ang (impromptu style). To be successful in this form of accompaniment, Tabla players must have the power to anticipate the moves and patterns of the chief performer, and be capable of impromptu creations. On the flip side, the danger of missing of the sam is a drawback of this format.

These apart, there’s a third type of accompaniment, which the author has learnt from Tabla Shiromani Pandit Gama Maharaj, called bharav ki sangati (lit bharav = to fill).

c) Bharav ki Sangati (Inteij ective accompaniment): In this form of accompaniment, the Tabla player adds to the piece and takes it to its rhythmic conclusion. Let’s try to understand this with an example. Often, the compositions sung or played by vocalists or instrumentalists begin at a point other than the sam. For example, if the performer plays a gat beginning on the 8th matra of a 12-matra taal , it means that the performer will end the melodic patterns (taans) just before the 8th matra, and begin the mukhda from the 8th matra. Now, if the Tabla player plays a short 4-matra piece ending in a tihai that culminates on the sam, it will fill the gap between the end of the taan and the sam.

To sum up...

It is difficult to define accompaniment and tie it down to a set of rules. At the end, every Tabla player must exercise his or her judgement and play accordingly. The Tabla player must take into consideration his or her capability, and decide upon a suitable format. Irrespective of the format you choose, it is critically important to remember that it should not be an obstruction to musical enjoyment (rasa).


A Tabla player should always try to provide constructive and creative support to the chief performer. This requires the Tabla player to carefully choose the compositions or production technique (soft and sweet or resonant and powerful). Most importantly, a Tabla player has to strike a rapport and arrive at an understanding with the chief performer. The sooner you can do this, the faster you will be on the road to success.




However, this speaks at a very high level of performing on stage. These can be learnt best with a Guru.

I want to know more details about the basic level of rules. How can I present them step by step to a beginner?

For example, if I don't play a variation at the end of a taan, is it a mistake? How to accompany in bol taans, as compared to tarana? When to play which theka?  etc.

Is there a book which discusses accompaniment basics?

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sinhayash

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #5 
@David sir, does your book have the topic of accompaniment?
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