Hindustani Music- Part 7

Shubham1 Hey Guys, the last article was about different types of compositions in Hindustani Music which I hope you all must have read. This article; as told before will be based on the different types of taals in our music. The taal which is mostly used is the Teentaal, the bols of which were discussed in the article- Indian Classical Music…Part 4 http://edtimes.in/2014/01/indian-classical-music-part-4.html#more. Some of the other taals prominently used in Hindustani Music are-

  1. Dadra                                                     6. Roopak
  2. Keharwa                                               7. Jhaptaal
  3. Ektaal                                                    8. Chaartaal
  4. Dhamaar                                              9. Jhoomra
  5. Tilwada

Taals are divided into 5 categories or Jaatis i.e.

  1. Tisra- 3 counts or having multiples of 3 (e.g. Dadra)
  2. Chatasra- 4 counts or having multiples of 4 (e.g. Keharwa)
  3. Khanda- 5 counts or having multiples of 5 (e.g. Jhaptaal)
  4. Misra- 7 counts or having multiples of 7 (e.g. Roopak)
  5. Sankirna or Shankirna- 9 counts or having multiples of 9 (e.g. Matta)

Now I’ll tell you about some basic concepts of taals before getting into each of the specific taals which are listed above. A taal is a regular, repeating rhythmic phrase rendered on a percussion instrument (Generally played on a tabla, pakhawaj or on Mridangam [in Carnatic music]) to provide a fixed laya or a tempo to the singer. Taal can be played in 3 different tempos which are the Vilambit laya, Madhyalaya, and the Dhrut laya each of which are defined before. Everything about taals can’t be explained theoretically so I’ll use some video clips to get into more details. If you are not able to understand the following texts then use the video to get a clear idea. A taal can be played in many different speeds depending on the strokes on the instrument per beat.  The taal used in the videos is Dadra taal (which is explained right after the videos) where; in each video the beats remain the same but the number of strokes per beat increases in each of them. 1)      1 stroke per beat is known as ekgun (refer Video) 2)      2 strokes per beat is known as dugun (refer Video) 3)      3 strokes per beat is known as tigun (refer Video) 4)      4 strokes per beat is known as chaugun (refer Video) and so on

I guess the basic concept of taal is clear now; and you are ready to learn about different taals listed above.

  1. Dadra Taal

This is a 6 beat taal. The bols, the taali-khaali and characteristics of which are described below- Dadra The ‘X’ marks the beginning, the ‘sam’ and also the 1st taali of the taal. ‘0’ marks the ‘khaali’. This taal is generally used in the ‘Dadra’ form of singing which is named after this taal. This taal has 2 vibhags, taali at 1st matra and khaali at 4th matra. Refer to the video given below; it will give a clear picture of ‘How exactly these taalis and khaalis work!!’

  2. Roopak Taal This is a 7 beat taal. The bols, the taali-khaali and characteristics of which are described below- Roopak This is the only taal in our music which begins with a khaali. However some schools believe that it starts with a taali. So it is believed to start with either a taali or a khaali but for learning sake we’ll assume it to start with a khaali. This taal is used in a very popular ghazal of Ghulam Ali ji ‘Chupke Chupke’. ‘X’ marks the 1st taali in the taal at the 4th matra. This taal has 3 vibhags, taali at 4th and 6th matra and khaali at 1st matra. Refer to the video given below.   3. Keharwa This is an 8 beat taal.  The bols, the taali-khaali and characteristics of this taal are given below- Keharwa This taal is the mostly used taal in Hindustani ‘light’ music. Mostly used for Bhajans, Thumri and also in Sargamgeet and Lakshangeet sometimes. After Teentaal this is the most used taal in our music. This taal has 2 vibhags, taali at 1st matra and khaali at the 5th matra. Refer the video given below.   4. Jhaptaal This is a 10 beat taal. The bols, the taali-khaali and characteristics of this taal are given below- Jhaptaal This taal is very rarely used in Hindustani Music. This taal is not very symmetrical unlike the famous Teentaal and the Keharwa taal. This taal has 4 vibhags, taali at 1st, 3rd, and 8th and khaali at 6th matra. Refer the video given below   5. Ektaal This is a 12 beat taal. The bols and the taali, khaali of this taal are given below-

Ektaal

This is a very much used taal in our music. It is mostly played on the pakhawaj instrument instead of tabla and used in Bada Khyals. The taal is played in a Vilambit laya and known as Vilambit Ektaal which is of 24 beats. This taal has 6 vibhags, taali at 1st, 5th, 9th and 11th matra and khaali at 3rd and 7th matra. Refer the video given below.

  6. Chaartaal This is also a 12 beat taal. The bols, the taali-khaali and characteristics of the taal are given below- Chautaal This taal although having 12 beats is very different from Ektaal. This taal is only played on a pakhawaj. It is mostly used in the dhrupad form of singing. Its ‘chalan’ i.e. progression is very different from that of the Ektaal. This taal has 6 vibhags, taali at 1st, 5th, 9th and 11th matra and khaali at 3rd and 7th matra. Refer the video given below.   7. Dhamar Taal It is a 14 beat taal. The bols, the taali, khaali and the characteristics of this taal are given below- Dhamaar This taal as explained in the previous article is used in the Dhamar form of singing which is named after this taal only. It is a light taal used majorly in Dhamar form of singing only. This taal has 4 vibhags, taali at 1st, 6th and 11th matra and khaali at 8th matra. Refer the video given below.   I guess this much is sufficient as of now. These are the majorly used taals in our music and the bols and the taali-khaali of these are very important to be learnt if one has to call himself even a beginner in understanding taals. From the next article onwards I’ll get more into Ragas and as asked by a reader I’ll also explain each raga one by one theoretically as well as with the help of some audio clips. So like always do tell me if anyone wants me to write on a particular topic in Hindustani Music and also do share the article with your friends and don’t forget to comment in the box below. I really appreciate your efforts in reading my articles and giving feedbacks, your feedback is very valuable.   Thanks Shubham Mittal :-)

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