Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Tālam & Layam related topics
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thanjavooran
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#1 Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by thanjavooran » 06 Jul 2014, 16:43

Lecture on Tala by Dr. BMS at Arkay convention Centre on 06 07 2014

Karnatic Music Forum presented a lecture on Evolution of the Tala system by Dr.BMS
The lecture was of 90 mts duration covering various aspects of Tala. Following are some of the important points noted.

Dr. sundar welcomed the gathering and there were 4O rasikas.
As a student he admired at the compendium of Ragas Bala Yazhi compiled by BMS some 50 yrs back.
BMS worked as an assistant under GRamanathan the music director for 2 yrs

Dr.BMS

Talam is a fearful subject for all the musicians past and future.
Saraswati mahal of Thanjavur Palace is the main source for his research works
Recently he located 51 unpublished kritis of Maharaja of Thiruvanthpuram fmly at Saraswathi mahal.
Rhythm is all over the world and it is universal.
Rhythmic pulse is known as layam and there is no proper equivalant for this word in Tamil
Thala took its birth from this.
To check the gathi/ flow of music thala is essential.
This is just like Ankusam [ used to control elephants]
As per shastra Thala 'Tha' denotes lord Shiva and La Goddess Parameshwari
During 6th century AD Thirunavukkarasar referred this word Thalam in his creation.
And so Thirugnana sambandhar.
There is no reference about this term in Sama Gana [Vedham]
In earlier days Marga and Desi are the only two divisions
Earliest varieties is 108 thalams but this not now in practice
As per Sangita Ratnakaram 120
As regards to Purandaradasar Devar nama he is not convinced with his creations of 56 lakhs kritis as it is not possible practically.
Sangita chandrikai of Manicka mudaliar talks about 72 Melakartha thalam.
Chappu means beating / slaping. It is also known sas Saippu
In Nadaswara sampradayam there is a variety known as Kai pidi thalapidi thalam and it was a tradtion to play pallavi on this
His guru Dr BMK introduced Pancha mukhi and Nava mukhi thalams
There is Gathi for Sasabdha kiriyai only and not for Nisabdha kriyai
Kanta chapu is known as Jamba thalam
Shri Sathyamoorthy [congress leader]once questioned in MA why can not the Mangalam be sung in the beginning?
A book named Thala Prasthara Sagaram is getting edited by him now at Saraswathi Mahal
In earlier days Thani used to be played after rendering Thirupugazh and PSP was following it and so by his father Needamangal Meenakshi sundaram Pillai in Thavil
Korvai means Korthu korthu vasippadhu. [ like a chain]
Laya vinyasam after rendering Thirupugazh should be revived.
In thalam too should be started with thom and finished with Nam and this exists in Thavil tradition
In Thirupugazh Pattanam subramania Iyer created 11 and Mazhavarayar 3 Thalams.

Vote of thanks by Dr.Sundar
He thanked Dr BMS and the rasikas at the end.

My observation

There were 40 rasikas and sat till the end. 90 mints duration was not enough and as Dr BMS was not well could not continue the lecture. Musicologist Dr.Ramanathan and Dr.vijayalakshmi subramaniam were present and doubt raised by Dr VS and Dr Sundar were clarified by Dr BMS. He has agreed for another session sothat he can touch the subject to certain extant. i would have omitted some important points and corrections are invited.

Thanjavooran
06 07 2014
Last edited by thanjavooran on 07 Jul 2014, 14:14, edited 1 time in total.
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VK RAMAN
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#2 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by VK RAMAN » 06 Jul 2014, 21:08

Thanjavooran: Thanks for this detailed note. Such write ups help to enrich our little kowledge.
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msakella
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#3 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by msakella » 07 Jul 2014, 15:39

There are many questions to be asked in respect of the details of this lecture furnished here. However, I shall be very thankful if either the learned Lecturer or the learned participant Dr. N.Ramanathan give justifiable answers even to the following few questions:

01. Why Dr. BMS omitted all the figures furnished opposite each and every Tala of Gayakalochanam and furnished the names only while including
them in his huge list of Talas furnished in his Talasangraha? What is the link between these figures and these Talas and how can he justify?
02. All our musicians are rendering all the Kriyas either of Sashabda or Nisshabda of their Talas in the respective Gati when they sing their RTP. Is it
incorrect to do so? If so, in which book it was mentioned that this is incorrect?
03. While already there were 108 Talas in the history of our music what is the significance in furnishing 120 Talas furnished in Sangita Ratnakara or in
repeating the same list along with another such list in Sangitasuryodaya?
04. While the 20th century had its own significance in respect of our Tala why it was declared by the President “One thing which struck me
particularly, I must confess, is that I found the Tala-chapter singularly uninteresting.. It is full of a long list of things we don’t do anymore,
probably it is just as well that we don’t…” in the International Conference held some time back on Sangita Ratnakara in Chennai in the presence
of our Chief-guest, Prof. Herald Powers? Is it a fact or the fact was wantonly suppressed? If so, why and by whom it was suppressed?
05. It was mentioned that ‘A book named Thala Prasthara Sagaram is getting edited by Dr. BMS now at Saraswathi Mahal’. During this kind of editing
the Taladhyaya of Sangita Ratnakara was already messed up both by Pandit S.Subrahmanya Shastry and Smt. S.Sharada due to their ignorance in
this topic. I have a doubt that this certainly repeats even in the case of this ‘Tala Prastara Sagaram’ again. However, can Dr. BMS assure that this
messing up will not be repeated in this case?
06. In which way we define a Raga can we define a Tala and in which way? If so, kindly define Simhanandana-tala and Sharabhanandana-tala.
amsharma
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mridhangam
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#4 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by mridhangam » 22 Jul 2014, 10:22

Shri Akella Sir

Instead of waiting for someone else to do the clarification and throwing them challenges, it would be better you can clarify and enlighten us on the above aspects yourself.
In the larger interest of Gnana and vidya vrudhdhi i am making a humble request to you.

Thank you
Mannarkoil J Balaji
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msakella
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#5 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by msakella » 22 Jul 2014, 18:21

Dear Chi. Balaji, Even after 15 days none of them responded till now. But, today, with great enthusiasm you only have asked me to answer these questions.

In the meantime many things happened by which it was proved beyond any doubt that most of our members are interested in many other things than the welfare of our aspirants. But, contrarily, I always give the first preference in properly educating our kids on very strict logical and rational basis as I, in my extensive research on the methods in teaching our music, found that this is the only way to instill confidence and to quicken the process with high-level efficiency. In my serious observation I also found that nobody is ready either to do things very strictly on logical and rational basis or even to discuss things openly even in the interest of our kids. By all this I have ultimately understood that there will not be any use of discussing things with them.

More over, to answer all these questions in detail, I have to write much number of pages which I cannot do in this old age with lost interest. That is why I am not answering them now. However, I shall certainly give you all the details by speaking to you face to face by Skype. My phone numbers are 040-27054232 and M-9908822992 and Skype address is ‘msakella2002’ and if you are interested we shall fix some time to proceed further. amsharma
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mridhangam
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#6 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by mridhangam » 23 Jul 2014, 10:53

Akella Garu

Thank you very much sir. As I was away in Singapore I didn't check rasikas and I saw this thread only yesterday and I found the questions were of very high order and hence requested your goodselves to enlighten us. I shall surely call you on Skype and get the doubts clarified.

Thank you once again sir

J Balaji
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msakella
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#7 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by msakella » 23 Jul 2014, 19:24

Certainly dear. amsharma
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Vinay
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#8 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by Vinay » 18 May 2016, 19:00

msakella wrote:...
02. All our musicians are rendering all the Kriyas either of Sashabda or Nisshabda of their Talas in the respective Gati when they sing their RTP. Is it
incorrect to do so? If so, in which book it was mentioned that this is incorrect?
...
Ah, there is a misleading typographical error in the original post. The two lines:
thanjavooran wrote: His guru Dr BMK introduced Pancha mukhi and Nava mukhi thalams
There is Gathi for Sasabdha kiriyai only and not for Nisabdha kriyai
should be something along the lines of
BMK introduced panchamukhi and navamukhi (and other mukhi) talams in which the gathi/nadai (tishram for trimukhi, ..., sankeernam for navamukhi) is applied only to the sashabda kriyas and not the nishabda kriyas (the nishabda kriyas get something like a "dwi gathi").
So the second line in the quote from the original quote was actually supposed to be brief explanation of the mukhi system. It was most definitely not supposed to be a rule to be followed regarding the usual tala system! (That would indeed by absurd, just try and imagine how all our familiar krithis will sound!)

Panchamukhi thala example (based on adi tala, with each sashabda kriya having khanda gati, and each nishabda kriya having two "beats"):

|| takatakita taka taka taka | takatakita taka | takatakitataka ||

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGngJjdi53U
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shankarank
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#9 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by shankarank » 22 May 2016, 23:03

Ah! Vinay you are reviving old gems of threads. nava mukhi - gAna lOla nI lIla lella jAlarA | murali , vIccu eDuppu - an RTP taken from his own TTD AstAna kriti - it is catuSra rUpakam ( he himself was mistaken when he insisted that it was tiSra rUpakam when I got his auto graph at Bombay Airport on his nIngAda ninavugal CD) - he is somewhat wary of people knowing too much musical internals ( kalla krishnan!) - he is known to have expressed as much to Shri TRS ( heard thru grapevines ;) ). Well it can be sung in tiSra rUpakam if the arudhi can be in any of the taps of the sankIRNam - as opposed to strictly on the first one where the saSabda kriyA starts after the laghu.
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Vinay
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#10 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by Vinay » 30 May 2016, 22:37

Yes, that is a beautiful krithi (deva devaaa……… Murali ganalola!)

Thanks for sharing the nice anecdote, and analysis : )
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vasanthakokilam
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#11 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by vasanthakokilam » 31 May 2016, 00:21

Shankarank, I am a bit confused about the tisra vs chatusra distinction when neither one seem to apply when i tried to make sense of it. Also, are you refering to jAti and gathi? Are we talking of such things when these 25 beats are recast in the traditional 'same gathi for every beat' form? Please educate. Thanks
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shankarank
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#12 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by shankarank » 31 May 2016, 01:12

catuSra in catuSra rUpakam refers to Jati - of the basic tAlam (in catuSra nadai) before taps are replaced with a sankIrNam gati.

The order of the Angas in rUpakam just to help refresh : dRtam ( tap and a wave) and a catuSra laghu ( tap + 3 finger counts).

The kAlam of the sankInNam is reckoned in lower kAla - where the catuSra nadai mAtras ( before substitution) are 2 per beat (hence the word dwi-gati is being used) . The sankIrNa replacement is in that same kAla as the 2 per beat catuSra nadai.

So we get: ( ta-ka-dhi-mi-ta-ka-ta-ki-Ta)(tap) , taka (Wave), ( ta-ka-dhi-mi-ta-ka-ta-ki-Ta) (tap) - taka-taka-taka (3 finger counts) - gives the syllabic form for the navamukhi talam - supposedly conveying that the angAs are nine faced at the entry point.

And to add to the trouble, the sankIRNam had to be done with just tapping without turning as sankIRNa cApu.
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vasanthakokilam
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#13 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by vasanthakokilam » 31 May 2016, 09:38

Ok, thanks Shankaran. I understand now where I was confused. I mistakenly thought you are refering to the youtube video that Vinay shared.

Back to your explanation now, I am still not clear why you say 'Well it can be sung in tiSra rUpakam if the arudhi can be in any of the taps of the sankIRNam - as opposed to strictly on the first one where the saSabda kriyA starts after the laghu'. Even before getting to that issue, at a more fundamental level how does one treat the 26 counts of the chatusra rupakam based SankIrna Mukhi as a tisra rupakam based SankIrna Mukhi which requires 24 counts? Are you saying 'cut off two counts from the end ( any elongation for example ) to bring it to 24 and even if you do that the Arudi will be in the wrong spot given the stress structure of the pallavi?'
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shankarank
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#14 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by shankarank » 31 May 2016, 17:46

Yes the kArvai after pUrvAngam will be reduced to 3 instead of 5 and pUrvangam will land on second tap of the sankIrNa cApu.

A 26 count can be obtained with dwi-nadai on sankIRNa tripuTa (9+4) as well - 1 kaLAi. This is more natural. This nava mukhi is akin to canda taLams used in Tiruppugazh where various gathis are concocted together to match the word lengths.
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vasanthakokilam
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#15 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by vasanthakokilam » 31 May 2016, 22:03

Thanks Shankarank, got it.
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shankarank
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#16 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by shankarank » 02 Jun 2016, 09:49

The rendition is item no 8 in this concert : http://www.sangeethamshare.org/vijayago ... amurali-82

For the pallavi itself fast forward to 10:00 minutes - he has explanation before that - but the way he counts it is catuSra rUpakam not Adi tAlam as he seem to say ( again I might have misheard him because he speaks in telugu)
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shankarank
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#17 Re: Lecture on Tala by Dr BMS

Post by shankarank » 16 Jun 2016, 09:31

There is one way it can be tiSra rUpakam - i.e. if the finger counts followed a tiSra gati instead of dwi-nadai ( 2 sylables each) - but the single wave at the start of a rUpaka tAla is kept as dwi-nadai ( 2 syllables) , and the taps replaced by sankIrna gati then this can be done using tiSra rUpakam - not sure if he explained it that way in the above recording.
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