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saipk

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Reply with quote  #1 
mine is Tin. I am having a difficult time to make it resonate. my ring finger against shahi seems to dampen it. Next difficult would be reverse-slide Ge .. and even fwd-reverse-slide Ge. What's yours and how did you overcome it?

Also, can someone pls how Theka is different from Tal?

For example, I thought TeenTal is

Dhaa Dhin Dhin Dhaa | Dhaa Dhin Dhin Dhaa | Dhaa Tin Tin Naa | Naa Dhin Dhin Dhaa

But in Davidji's book "Learning Tabla" this is mentioned as Teen Tal's Theka!? I know theka is kind of a signature to Taal, but can someone pls take a min and explain in layman's terms these - Theka, Taal, Kaida, Palta etc. What is the significance of each of these, say in a solo piece? What role do they plan in Tabla music? I am a beginner. Greatly appreciate your time!

---Sai
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jantiff

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Reply with quote  #2 
Don't worry... Tin takes years to polish. Try folding your ring finger a bit more (a tip from Pandit Shankar Gosh), look for the minimum possible contact with the gab to avoid dampening.

I have trouble playing consistent Tin, and often get frustrated by botching the loud Dha that ends a tihai. Still working on my ring finger position and also middle finger position to hit the center of gab in the right way.

Dheredere is also very difficult, mine sounds just ridiculous, again it's all hard work !

Right now TreKe (TreKre) is the most frustrating for me, since I have put quite some training into already and it still sounds just awful, very far from the light ornament it is supposed to be. Tips welcome :-)

About this theka and taal thing, in hindustani music the taal (cycle) is defined mainly by the theka (basic stroke pattern). In contrast, in carnatic music, the taal is defined mainly by a pattern of clapping hands.

In a solo piece, the theka will be your home, the reference pattern to establish the taal. It is what you play by default.

From there, you can go into improvisatory development, in other words theme and variations. That could be a ka
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saipk

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks very much for your reply. Yes, I am finding Thin very challenging. I am able to produce a decent resonance but for that I am bending my wrist little bit - a position similar to dhee and this I am not happy with. I want to stroke both Naa and Thin without moving much my ring finger.

Regarding Theka and it's relation with Carnatic format, if we replace strokes with claps/waves, doesn't it become similar to Carnatic then? also, Taal then is just a repetition of Thekas?

You gave a very intuitive understanding of all these various terms (theka, kaida, rela etc.) and their relationship. I have a better idea now. My next lesson from my Guruji will be more informative thanks. I am practicing basic bol strokes and thekas such as teental, dadra, rupak, jhaptal etc. at ati-ati-vilambit pace. Right now they are still disjoint strokes but slowly I have started to recognize and appreciate the pattern. With a practice of say 1-2 hrs per day and 6 hrs during weekends, how long do you think I should take to play these thekas fast at a semi-professional level. I am in no hurry to increase my speed but I am looking for a benchmark to measure my progress against. My first class (and the first time I touched tabla!) was last weekend and am already loving it, but I must admit that after reading this forum and elsewhere, the amount of practice this might need is intimidating and sometimes discouraging.
thanks.
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Greg

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "jantiff"
Don't worry... Tin takes years to polish.
It is said that Zakir-ji is still polishing his Na.... ...what chance have we mere mortals.....

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rajpuranik

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Reply with quote  #5 
I feel some elaboration on the taal/theka discussion is warranted.

Taal is the number and structure of beats in a cycle (same for Hindustani and Carnatic). So Teen taal is 16 beats, divided into four even groups in the sequence "clap, clap, wave, clap."

Theka is the sequence of notes that articulates the taal on the tabla, either for accompaniment or at the start of a solo performance. There is a "standard" theka for each taal (as saipk showed for teen taal) but the performer typically composes/plays variations that fit the mood/style of the piece and enhance the musical experience.

Carnatic music (not my area of expertise) seems to have done away with theka for the most part, and the rhythm instrument embellishes or complements the featured instrumentalist by improvising the whole time. Maybe because Carnatic concerts don't really feature slow or "vilambit" sections, where "keeping the beat" with a theka would be required.

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Greg

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Reply with quote  #6 
...well said!
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saipk

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Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks Raj & Greg. That's a good explanation. While I am still working on my Tin, I have another bol that's challenging - Tun+Na. Finding it difficult to bring back my ring finger into position for Na immediately followed by Tun without adding an annoying intermediate sound made by placement of my ring finger. One of these days I am going to practice like a mad man .. maybe 12 hrs on a weekend! I am loving it

-Sai
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rajpuranik

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Reply with quote  #8 
Yes, I remember having that problem once. The trick is to land the ring finger about the same time as the Na (or just before). Kind of the way guitarists are taught to place all fingers of a chord simultaneously on the fretboard.

Also, in general, keep the ring finger relaxed on the tabla, not pressed down and tense. Even if you land the ring finger early, it should just come to rest lightly, instead of harder like a "Ne" note.

The relaxation of the ring finger is the important point. This is also helped if you rest your thumb lightly just off the edge of the tabla, very close to the index finger. The thumb and ring finger then provide balance and support for your other fingers to do their thing.

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saipk

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Reply with quote  #9 
thanks! that's a useful tip there. Also I have begun to realize that having fingers as close as possible all the time to the tabla helps in a smooth transition of finger positions.
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saipk

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Reply with quote  #10 
are there any other combinations that are popular/must-knows and at the same time difficult to master? like toon+na, thin etc. while I am still practicing basics, if I know such difficult combinations, I will practice those aswell in parallel.
Raj/greg/jantiff - any thoughts based on your exp. so far?
thanks, Sai
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redtape

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Reply with quote  #11 
Easily ~ Dhire~Dhire with the base of the palm and not Dhire Dhire with the Middle of the hand.
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saipk

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Reply with quote  #12 
yes, I heard that one is difficult, but I haven't gotten there yet. I am still practicing tun+na, basic thekas. My first objective is to play all the basic thekas effortlessly at medium tempo.
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saipk

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Reply with quote  #13 
yes, dhiredhire & tiratira is difficult! it ll probably take several yrs before I get comfy playing these esp in a rela!
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jaan e kharabat

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "rajpuranik"
I feel some elaboration on the taal/theka discussion is warranted.

Taal is the number and structure of beats in a cycle (same for Hindustani and Carnatic). So Teen taal is 16 beats, divided into four even groups in the sequence "clap, clap, wave, clap."

Theka is the sequence of notes that articulates the taal on the tabla, either for accompaniment or at the start of a solo performance. There is a "standard" theka for each taal (as saipk showed for teen taal) but the performer typically composes/plays variations that fit the mood/style of the piece and enhance the musical experience..
But things are not so simple in Hindustani music. For sure ''taal" is how you describe it for both Karnatic and Hindustani, however, in Hindustani music often times taals are distinguished from each other by nothing other than their thekas, which is impossible in Karnatic music.

E.g. if teental, tilwada and sidharkhani in terms of Karnatic theory are one and the same taal. In Hindustani music they're considered separate though closely related (especially the first and third) taals whose only distinguishing features are their thekas.

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