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Posts: 140
Reply with quote  #1 
It is nice to see forum is back. Thanks David, and all members.

I am going to discuss this with my teacher....but I am curious about opinion of forum members, about the topic of half beat; and hence this post.

Many taal and compositions have "half" matra in them. When I first saw this, I thought this can be recognised in one of two ways:
1. When one is counting matra with fingers, just dwell on this half beat matra for half the time of other matras. In other words, say this half matra bol quickly compared to other bols.
2. Second approach would be not to say half matra bol quickly, but add to it half bol of next matra. However, then we are modifying all the remaining bols after the half matra (we are pushing them half matra ahead to fill the gap).

I think second way is incorrect, as it modifies complete theka. However the first way raises some questions in my mind, hence I would appreciate and thank for your valued opinion.

The question raised in first way is we are assigning two parameters to theka. One is no. of matra, and other is time. Normally, when there is no hlaf matra, then both are same or in same proportion. For example, of duration of matra is say, 2 seconds, and there are 5 matras, then total time is 10 seconds. But when one of matra is half beat, then by this way the composition would be 5 matras, but duration will be 9 seconds. Am I right?

If I am right, then I am shattered. Because, so far I never associated "two parameters" with any compostions- parameters of time and no. of matras-they were always same or in proportion. Also, the half matra is not really half matra--it is matra with half time....I am confused.

For example, it very common to have chakradar where 5.5 matras (5+0.5) are thriced-to get 16.5 matrs, last 0.5 matra falling on sum. But are there really 5.5 matras? Why not say there are 6 matras with 5.5 time? This makes whole issue complicated.



Jarkko Laiho

Posts: 32
Reply with quote  #2 
In general tals which are 5 1/2 etc. are not the most traditional ones.

If one wants to show his/her skills by using half matras then he can play in 9 for example kaida 4 1/2 + 4 1/2 manner: theme + variation with normal way with bhari and khali marked.

Other tal lengths which give you half beats when playing theme variation compositions are 11 (5 1/2 + 5 1/2 ), 13, 15, 17, 19, 21 etc.

You can also think of these half matra tals in a Western way like 7/8 rhythm would be 3 1/2 matras if your tempo is quarter note.

In tihai structures I think of 5 1/2 beat tihai as a 6 beat structure with a small pause. (It's not bedam in a strict sence because there is a small pause.) For example in four beats per matra tihai playing in 5 1/2 you have one beat rest between repetitions. In western way said one sixteenght note. If I improvise a tihai I am not thinking 5 1/2. I think about it as a 6 beat structure where the repetition starts before the next beat or matra.

This is the way that I feel comfortable playing that kind of structure. You just have to handle the correct length of the pause. I know if I play this way 6*3 is actually 17 when there is a smaller pause. In reality it's 5 1/2.

In my opinion this is the simplest way to approach different tihais. At least it works for me, because I simplified it to myself in this manner when I was analyzing different tihai structures.

I hope you understood what I tried to explain. The main thing is that you understand what you're doing when you are playing. If you use these kind of formulas you must be surely know how it works.


Posts: 1,932
Reply with quote  #3 
Don't over-analyze the problem. The theory comes after the music, not before, and no one does math while they perform. Get a feel for the rythm/taal and theka first by clapping, counting and reciting and don't forget to give it lots of expression! When that sinks in then gradually begin adding compositions/variations/tihais while returning to theka before beginning again. Here a lehera machine really helps.
Follow Jarkko's excellent advice and remember not everything always works out in the strict (theoretical) sense. If your teacher tells you to do it his way then do that, otherwise approach the matter in whatever way works for you or until someone knowledgeable can demonstrate to you a better way.


If he could sing, and nature to accompany him, what need would he have for an instrument?
jaan e kharabat

Posts: 1,401
Reply with quote  #4 
Hi all

i think you answered the question yourself.


if you play at a tempo of 1 sec per matra, then a 5.5 beat tal's cycle will last 5.5 seconds, a 6 beat tal's cycle 6 second, a 7 beat cycle 7 seconds and so on ad infinitum.

so whats so confusing about that?

if u want to count the 5.5 matra tal u can do it like this, just tap a tempo on your knee and count the ''1's,2's ...'' and ''and's'' on each tap :

''1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 1......."

If there are just ''six tones'' in an octave [sic] then why have frets for tones that don't exist?

Posts: 95
Reply with quote  #5 
Lets understand structure of half beat Taal.

Lets consider beats of [ half beat ] Taal = Y
Typical broad divisions of half beat taal are

Y = X + 1.5

For example, if beats of Taal are 9.5, means Y = 9.5

9.5 = X + 1.5

X = 9.5 - 1.5 = 8

So broad divisions of 9.5 beat Taal are 8 and 1.5

While playing 9.5 beat Taal, first 8 beats will be played with base tempo and 3 beats will be played in double tempo to fill 1.5 beats.

Here is an example of 9.5 beats Taal

First 8 beats
Dhin | TirKit | Dhin | Na | Tin | Na | Kat | Ta

last 1.5 beats in double tempo

DhinDhin | Na Dhin |

Last Dhin is start of next Cycle.

So it goes like this when played two cycles.

Here '-' is a gap of half beat and each bar "|" represents each beat.

Dhin | TirKit | Dhin | Na | Tin | Na | Kat | Ta | Dhin Dhin | Na Dhin | - Tir | Kit Dhin | - Na | - Tin | - Na | - Kat | - Ta | - Dhin | Dhin Na |

Please refer my this article on this topic
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