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Tristan von Neumann

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Reply with quote  #1 
Listening to Sikh Ragas, I wondered how "Partaal" works, which seems like a "Tala-Mala"...

Does anyone have experience with this feature?
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evening84

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Reply with quote  #2 
Partaals are very interesting and unique to Sikh religious music.

At its very basic, you are right, in that it is the rhythmic equivalent to raagamala. The theka transforms itself from one taal to another (typically after each or a couple of lines of the shabad - so somewhere in the interlude between the various stanzas). Typical taals employed are Teentaal, Ektaal, Chautaal, Roopak, etc. although I have certainly heard other taals like chaartaal ki sawaari, farodast, sulfaakta, etc. used as well.

I had an interesting chat with a senior Sikh kirtan tabla-master and he was of the opinion that a true partaal would really be the same taal being played but with changes to jaati so as to create the effect or shadow of another taal as opposed to switching over to a different taal altogether - a lot more challenging to pull off and infinitely more aesthetically satisfying and pleasing (to the tabla-player anyways, I would think). So if we were to take Teentaal as the home-taal, it would transform to tisra-jati and provide an ektaal/daadra ang feel, khand-jati for the jhaptaal like feel, mishra-jati to invoke deepchandi-ang etc etc and back to straight teentaal, as an example.

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Tristan von Neumann

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you very much! I highly appreciate this explanation!


About the shadowing of the basic taal, isn't this something common in Hindustani music in general?

I have noticed that within one "round" of a Raga, changes are made to the basic taal so it sounds different?

I am asking because in certain European Music of the late 16th century, this method is employed.

This piece in Bhimpalasi sounds like it is set to teental, but has sections shadowing the taal:


I hope you understand what I mean.
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evening84

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Reply with quote  #4 
You are correct in that what I describe (jati-changes within the same taal-framework) is pretty common in Hindustani music improvisation of an instrumental or vocal performance, in general.  There is a wide-range in that some artists may do a little bit of it in a performance, others may do a lot of it and there are no hard and fast rules as to when and where and how much of it needs to be explored. Partaal differs in that sense in that it is prescribed - that is to be done in performance and it says so right at the start of the shabad.

I will check out the link later today. Thanks.

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Tristan von Neumann

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thank you again!

If you are a tabla player or other percussion, I'd be interested in your experience playing original tala style to the linked piece - though I fear, the tempo in this recording is more fluid than in Indian music. But it should basically work.
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evening84

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Reply with quote  #6 
Not sure if this lends itself to classical or even folk accompaniment in any aesthetically pleasing manner. No issues though, not everything is meant to be forced to fuse, for lack of a better word. Also, I do not hear even an iota of Bhimpalasi in the said piece. Notes/scale not a raaga make.
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Tristan von Neumann

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Reply with quote  #7 
This is not Indian music - it's European. In polyphony, things work differently.

The Chalan works itself through the different voices.
In my other thread you can hear how the Raga fits into the pieces.
The Chayyanat piece is especially telling: when Ulhas Kashalkar hits an emphasized note, this note is vital in the harmony of the piece every time. Maybe you will hear how it works.

There are pieces classified in the same "mode" by European musicologists, but really the models are different like Ragas are different.
For example Bhimpalasi and Bahar are both Kafi (Dorian) thaat, but different.
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evening84

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Reply with quote  #8 
Maybe you are right. I can only speak for myself and my own understanding of things. Perhaps we seek what we are familiar with in the music that we are not familiar with and it is set up to almost always disappoint. Like curried pasta - some dishes will never work and that is perfectly fine.
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Tristan von Neumann

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Reply with quote  #9 
Maybe you should try one of the most famous German dishes: Currywurst (curried sausage).
It really works.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Currywurst
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evening84

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Reply with quote  #10 
Oh yes. That will likely work. Thanks. I should try it.
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