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sung

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Reply with quote  #1 
Given a song in Hindustani music, how can one identify what taal it is in? What are the fundamental factors one should consider before arriving at the correct taal in which the song has been composed? Thank you in advance for your response.
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alam123

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Reply with quote  #2 
A taal is usually identified by its theka [in Hindustani music]. A theka is a phrase of tabla or pakhavaj bols, that is repeated in a timecycle. Thekhi mostly have badi and a khali parts, which apart from their other characteristics make them recognizable.
Examples with Sam underlined:
teentaal
DhaDhinDhinDhaDhaDhinDhinDhaThaTinTinThaThaDhinDhinDha
ektaal
DhinDhinDhageTerikiteTunNaKatThaDhagheTerekiteDhinNa
jhaaptaal
DhiNaDhiDhiNaThiNaDhiDhiNa
kaherwa
DhagheNaThinNaKeDhinNa

.....etc.
So best way to recognize which taal is being used, is to recognize those theki. They can be followed by clapping (tali) one's hands. Example for teentaal: Teentaal is split into four
vibhags or sections. Its also called tritaal (i.e. taal of three).The claps (tali) are left out demonstratively on the Khali vibhag.
Example:

dha         dhin         dhin         dha         |         dha         dhin         dhin         dha         |
1x _______________2                                
tha thin thin tha         |         tha dhin dhin dha         |
o _______________3

So there will be a clap on each number except the O which is left out with ostensation. It is therefore called Teentaal, because there are three claps on this theka.
Voil

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anandvyas

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Reply with quote  #3 
With the above Thekas in mind - listen to recordings that have each of these types of rhythmic cycles and clap with them - see if you can identify the sum and khali. Start with Teentaal as it is the most fundamental and 1st taal one normally learns. Try to keep it simple -Think of the 1st section as a group of 8 beats (Dha-Dhin-Dhin-Dha-Dha-Dhin-Dhin-Dha) then when the next Dha
(9th beat or Khali) comes listen for the following FOUR beats (without bass - Tin-Tin-Ta-Ta) 10 11 12 13 - now count the last three beats Dhin-Dhin-Dha plus the sum (14-15-16 + 1st beat) it will = 4 beats (that should make life easier when improvising). In other words - play your instrument, improvise then listen closely when ready to come back to the Gat. When you hear the first two TIN beats be aware of it (10th and 11th beat - no bass hand - even though the khali starts on the 9th it contains a bass Bol) you know that immediately after the section of FOUR Tin-Tin-Ta-Ta - that exactly four beats will land you on the sum - the three beats to end the cycle and the Sums "weighted" DHA. I am trying to relate an idea that will make more sense the more you practice with tabla. Remember this is way of approaching Taal - not to be confused with the actual thekas posted above with excellent clarity - the Thekas are of most importance now - I am talking about using the "Bass" and "Treble" sounds as guides, not as a replacement for memorizing or learning the thekas as explained above.

Anand Vyas
http://www.anandvyas.org
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Mulamoodan

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Reply with quote  #4 
So, what do we do when the tabla player plays tabla compositions, instead of the basic thekas?
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povster

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Mulamoodan"
So, what do we do when the tabla player plays tabla compositions, instead of the basic thekas?
There will usually be two circumstances when that happens: either the tabla has been keeping tal while the other musician (sotar etc) improvises or the tabla player is performing a tabla solo.

In either case a fixed composition will be played. In the first scenario above, the sitarist will be playing a fixed composition (gat). Over time familiarity with these compositions will allow one to figure out the cycle. In the second scenario, during a tabla solo performance, a nagma (also czalled lahara) will be played throughout the performance. Again, this is a fixed composition similar to the gat the sitarist plays.

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Mulamoodan

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks, Povster.

But is it not theoretically possible for a tabla player to keep playing a compostion at the same time a sitarist plays his gat, as long as the taal and lay are the same?
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povster

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Mulamoodan"
Thanks, Povster.

But is it not theoretically possible for a tabla player to keep playing a compostion at the same time a sitarist plays his gat, as long as the taal and lay are the same?
That can happen in a sense, but usually the tabla player will not be playing a composition as much as that which reflects the sitarists (as an example) if the two are familiar with each other. For example, Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakah or Vilayat Khan and Samta Prasad.

The thing is that these will be isolated instances. The tal and the gat will usually be well established. So all one has to do is attend to the performance, keep count (I pretty much always count on my fingers - it is kind of inbred now) and regardless of what flights may be made the tal should always be able to be referenced.

Now sometimes things go off course. The sitarist or the tabala player may err and miss or add a beat. Even so, these things are usually brought together very quickly. As long as you have the framework in your head, you can also bring these things together very quickly.

In regards to your question: "But is it not theoretically possible ...". Learn the basics first. Forget about the theoretical possibilities. Those come later. Learn to count and to recognize the tal and the compostion. Get familiar with them so they are natural. Then you will find yourself naturally compensating for the occasional variances.

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Dasani - the official bottled water of ICM
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