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Posts: 390
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi fellow forum members!

When accompanying others, what are the "key" skills needed to do a good job at it?

And when soloing...?

I have heard that Rimpa Shiva for instance, is basically a soloist and not trained for accompaniment. However I can not grasp that such a tabla player with all those skills is not a great accompanist too.

Maybe we can discuss what makes a good soloist and what makes a good accompanist?

I would think for a soloist, ideas and timing and virtuosity is more important than with an accompanist. And that as a team player when backing up sitar, flute, vocals etc etc there is other skills more important.


Posts: 68
Reply with quote  #2 
Playing solo means you can play anything you want, so the only limitation is how much practice you do. Those who practise their solo material sufficiently can give a successful solo.

Accompanying is a different kettle of fish altogether - ideally, the tabla player must be able to adapt their playing in the moment to that of that the lead player, become an open channel flowing freely.

Both require extensive practice, and a really good spontaneous soloist should really be able to be an excellent accompanist. But while a soloist can get away with repeating rote-practised material, an accompanist will need to give dynamic theka, spontaneous embellishments, and responsive solos. All of those involve some element of rote-practised material (eg 2 hours daily nadhindhinna practice, a wide selection of tukaras, kaidas, etc), but the free-flowing nature required of an ideal accompanist transcends the bare minimum rehearsed pieces of a soloist.

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Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #3 
I've never actually played a Solo performance before, so I'm not sure as to what you do when you play one, but when I accompany to prepare I always practice Rupak, Dadra, Jhap and Teen Taals. I also practice various Kaidas, relas and Laggis that I can add to a song. The best way to prepare is to practice those taals with a Lehera machine and by actually playing for singers/ other instrumentalists.

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Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #4 
Some suggestions:

1. In accompaniment, the lead player selects the tempo. Tabla players need material/ preparation for every tempo. At some intermediate speed where a laggi in double speed is difficult for you, the single-speed laggi can appear to be too slow.
2. All lead players do not give the same amount of time to the tabla player for displaying their skills. You need to prove proficiency without using bigger pieces of music.
3. If you lose your temper at unfair treatment, accompanying the 'average' musician can be difficult. Thank God, the Eastern hemisphere has also started getting professional.
4. Playing with string instruments, you may be trapped in drut teentala for a long time. Remember: the string player has a 2:1 advantage per stroke. So you need more practice on the theka.
5. Solo is about establishing yourself as a creative musician. Accompaniment, at times, can be like community service. You should be willing to use your expertise to raise the lead player's performance and then happily renounce the credit you are worthy of.
6. Select your pieces according to the proficiency of your lead player. If you accompany a child or a beginner, be ready not to show any variations.
7. Both solo and accompaniment need impromptu creativity for an effective presentation. A soloist cannot skip this. On the other hand, if you find memorizing/ preparing big pieces difficult, you can still be a successful accompanist.

In short, the behavioral differences between solo and accompaniment may be equally important.
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