The ten elements of Tala

Tālam & Layam related topics
sbala
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#1

Post by sbala » 11 Apr 2007, 23:15

The ten elements of Tala are

1. Kala
2. Marga
3. Kriya
4. Anga
5. Graha
6. Jati
7. Kalai
8. Laya
9. Yati
10. Prastara.

The 10th element has been covered in quite a bit of detail in the Talaprastara thread. It would be good if some of our experts can let us know the precise definitions of the first 9 elements. I also think if we learn these terms it might stop us from inventing new terms which add to the confusion.
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msakella
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#2

Post by msakella » 12 Apr 2007, 00:04

Dear brother-member, sbala, Go through the 1st chapter of my book, Indian genius in Talaprastara and you will get the precise definitions of all the 10 elements of our Tala system. If we truly want to remain far way from confusion we all must go through all the old treatises, precisely understand the definitions and relevancy of the technical terms and strive hard for the true propagation of them without keeping quiet of their mis-use.
As it was mentioned by Dr. R.Sathyanarayana of Mysore in his foreword of my book ‘In the pretext of ‘melodiousness’ and popularity, scholarship in the practice of music is being unfortunately allowed to wane at the present time. Technique, virtuousity and scholarship, when mastered and applied with effortless ease and grace promote excellence and highest creative activity in music. Individual caprice, eccentricity and mannerisms should not be confounded with genius or brilliance. Genius assumes a deep and broad base of profound, continuous, conscious learning which is intensified and sublimated to the subconscious level.’ amsharma.
Last edited by msakella on 12 Apr 2007, 05:35, edited 1 time in total.
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mridhangam
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#3

Post by mridhangam » 12 Apr 2007, 07:37

Prof Sambamurthy in his "South Indian Music" has also dealt with the Ten Elements which are called "Tala Dasa Praanas". He has also briefly defined all the items with examples and graphical representation.

J.Balaji
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msakella
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#4

Post by msakella » 12 Apr 2007, 20:37

Dear brother-member, mridhangam, After finding the latent clues of Nashta, Uddishta and Kalita, when I have demonstrated these things before Prof. P.Sambamurthy in 1970 he exclaimed my work and suggested me to bring this out in a book form at the earliest. Within a couple of months I brought this in a book form and shown him and requested him to write the fore-word to my book. He, very gladly wrote it and gave me then and there and told me to print it and give him some copies to enable him to include it in the music syllabus. But, later, as I was not sound enough to get it printed, I have handed it over to Sangeeta Academy of Andhra Pradesh and it came out in 1985 only by which time, most unfortunately, he was no more. Thus, he was the first person to encourage me in giving me distinction in all my 3 examinations in music, Violin and Vocal as examiner and also in my extensive research on Talaprastara by very kindly writing the foreword to the Telugu version of my book. But, I feel very sorry to say that the Prastara portion written in his book needs proper modification. amsharma.
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mridhangam
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#5

Post by mridhangam » 12 Apr 2007, 21:34

Yes of course sir no doubt about ur statements. But for a beginning one can go through that and then for advanced subjects he can come to such books like yours.
Am i wrong sir ?

J.Balaji
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Nick H
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#6

Post by Nick H » 12 Apr 2007, 23:55

It would be great if we could begin with a brief translation into English.

That we may not agree on all the translations can only lead to useful conversation!
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msakella
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#7

Post by msakella » 13 Apr 2007, 07:38

Brother-members, mridhangam & nick H, dear, I too agree with you but that briefness should not be at the cost of the correctness. But, most unfortunately, here this happened and even the basic definition of Prastara is incorrect. Nowadays, even the people who are well aware of the things are evading enlightening the people of the facts to get the title, ‘non-controversial-gentleman’. But, like them I cannot keep myself silent to get such an impotent title along with awards as a knowledgeable person. amsharma.
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Nick H
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#8

Post by Nick H » 13 Apr 2007, 10:42

The theory is given very briefly in the books that I have seen --- and perhaps it does not need very many words for some of the aspects, it is always a mistake to overcomplicate things.

But a very good example is that I had no idea at all that there is so very much to prastara and that it is not just a page or two of example permutations that could be worked out by a machine. Due to my innumeracy I may never get very far with that that subject but you have opened my eyes to the facts that (a) it is an enormous subject and (b) that it is not just dry juggling with numerical combinations.

So... for the other nine?

Maybe for some just a few words do actually suffice to explain: maybe for others there are whole worlds that I have never yet seen!
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sbala
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#9

Post by sbala » 13 Apr 2007, 11:37

I agree with Nick. I will post the definitions from Sharmaji's book verbatim in a day. That might be a good start.
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sbala
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#10

Post by sbala » 13 Apr 2007, 22:30

The first element from Sharmaji's book

1. Kaala
This element is defined as the mode of measuring the duration of kriya ie, any act used to demonstrate or manifest the time quantity. It connotes the (uniform) speed with which the musical(or dance) event is executed over each division of the tala cycle. Such speed ie the rate at which element of a musical (or dance) event per unit time, is said to be first, second, third etc, depending on whether the event is executed at the intial, double or quadrupled rate ie. whether the same event is executed in a given duration or in half or quarter of the original duration. Thus Kaala (musical speed) changes by progressive doubling.

The unit time for reckoning Kala is Matra. In order to accomodate elastic use and subjective variation, the Matra is given in Sastra a flexible definition

1. The Matra is taken as the total duration of uttering the five short syllables Ka, Ca, Ta, Ta and Pa. "Panca-laghu-aksaroccara-mita matreha kathyate"(from Sangita Ratnakara). This value is adopted in Marga talas. Since Laghu (short) syllables are involved, the span is called Laghu. This also is approximately the duration of a second.

2. It is equated to Nimesakala ie time required to close and open the eyes naturally.
Nimesakalo matrah - Kalanidhi (commentary of Kallinatha) on Sangita Ratnakara.This is taken roughly equal to a second and so Matra roughly coresponds to the objective duration of a second.

3. In desi talas, however, the Laghu had a variable value; its Matra could be 4, 5 or 6 units. This was finally standardised to a duration of 4 units and is so used. This Laghu is hence called Caturasra while one of three units is called Trisra.
Last edited by sbala on 14 Apr 2007, 08:46, edited 1 time in total.
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msakella
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#11

Post by msakella » 14 Apr 2007, 07:38

Dear brother/sister-members, In Sangeeta Ratnakara, in the definition of the 1st element, Kaala of the Taladashapranas, the more-precise Maatra which is more easily understandable and followable has only been defined. But, I do not know why, in all the recent books on musicology, instead, the less precise terms, Kshana, Lava, Kaashta etc., which are cumbersome and full of ambiguity, have been furnished by the authors. amsharma.
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sbala
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#12

Post by sbala » 14 Apr 2007, 12:10

Dear Sharmaji,
When I read this first time, I thought I had understood Matra. But, as I kept thinking about it, it seemed to me that my understanding was wrong. I have given what I have understood below but I'm not totally sure if I have got it right.

Matra is just a unit for measuring time just like seconds, minutes or hours. Is that correct? So, the duration of a adi tala avarthanam could be 8 matras (or any number of matras depending on the kalapramanam that was chosen). the duration of one cycle of the event (song or dance) in 1st speed would be 8 matras, in 2nd speed - 4 matras and 3rd speed- 2 matras.
Last edited by sbala on 14 Apr 2007, 12:11, edited 1 time in total.
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msakella
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#13

Post by msakella » 14 Apr 2007, 15:26

Dear brother-member, sbala, You have understood it correctly. Matra is just a unit for measuring time. The duration of time taken to utter five laghu (short) syllables i.e., ka-cha-ta-ta-pa, is Matra and that is why one of our Talangas is named after ‘Laghu’. Thus, the duration of an Adi-tala avartam consisting of 8 Kriyas, in total, should occupy 8 seconds only. While any composition in the 1st degree of it occupies 8 such Avartas of 8 seconds, the 2nd degree of it should occupy half of it of 4 Avartas of 4 seconds and the 3rd degree of it should occupy still half of the previous one of 2 Avartas of 2 seconds.That’s all. While this kind of Matra-application is more easily understandable, followable and with lesser ambiguity, the presently defined and furnished act of ‘piercing of 100 petal leaves with a needle and so on with Kshana, Lava, Kaashta etc., etc.,’ is more difficult to follow and still more ambiguous just like ‘mathematics made difficult’. I feel so. amsharma.
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sbala
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#14

Post by sbala » 15 Apr 2007, 12:07

Dear Sharmaji,
Should one Kriya always correspond to 1 matra or 1 second? Isn't that a big restriction? To put the question differently, is it wrong if I do

1. 1 avarthanam of adi tala in 16 seconds
2. 1st degree of the musical event in 16 seconds
3. 2nd degree of the musical event in 8 seconds.
4. 3rd degree of the musical event in 4 seconds
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msakella
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#15

Post by msakella » 15 Apr 2007, 12:41

Dear brother-member, sbala, What you wrote is not wrong at all. In such case, your Avarta of Adi-tala is of 16 matras occupying 16 seconds. You can render any Tala of your choice but its duration should be measured in terms of Matras equated to seconds. amsharma.
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sbala
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#16

Post by sbala » 15 Apr 2007, 13:04

Thanks Sharmaji. It's clear now
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sbala
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#17

Post by sbala » 15 Apr 2007, 13:09

Marga - 2nd element

Marga means extent or measure. It measures the magnitude of organs of Tala such as Druta, Laghu. It's measuring device is Matra or Kaala. It is not merely the total quantity of time but must include Kriya ie. the act of performing the tala also. In other words, Kaala, which is of the form of a group of kriyas is Marga. The word Marga is appropriate to this vital element becaue it indicates the route taken in time to arrive at the destination by manipulation of other elements.

AcyutarAya presecribed 8,4,2 and 1 Matra durations respectively for the Margas - DakSiNa,Vartika,Citra and Citratara. He further described the durations of Druta and Anudruta respectively for Citra-tama and Ati-Citra-tama Margas.
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msakella
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#18

Post by msakella » 03 May 2007, 08:49

Dear brother-member, sbala, You have very nicely started defining the 10 elements one after the other serially and I am unable to understand why you have stopped at 'Marga', of the 10 elements. Did you not find the 'Marga' to proceed on after 'Marga'! Please proceed on. amsharma.
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sbala
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#19

Post by sbala » 03 May 2007, 11:28

Dear Sharmaji,
I will do so in a few days.
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sbala
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#20

Post by sbala » 05 May 2007, 21:07

Kriya - 3rd element

Kriya is the manual act used to demonstrate or manifest the quantity of each organ, the structure and the quantity of each cycle (Avarta) of a tala, which are borne in the mind, for their physical manifestation. Kriyas are separately described for Marga and Desi Talas. These are divided into sounded (Sasabda) and silent (Nihsabda) kriyas. Beat, finger snapping, clapping are examples of the former while counting, waving of the hand are examples of the latter.

1. Marga Kriyas
a. Nihsabda Kriyas
1. Avapa - Counting of the time duration by folding the fingers of the hand facing upwards
2. Niskrama - Counting of the time duration by unfolding the fingers of the hand facing downwards.
3. Viksepa - Moving the hand towards the right
4. Pravesa - Bringing it back

b. Sasabda Kriyas
1. Dhruva - Producing sound with the thumb and the middle-finger
2. Samya - Striking on the righ-hand palm with the left-hand palm
3. Tala - Striking the left hand palm with the right hand palm
4. Sannipata - Clapping with both hands facing each other

2. Desya Kriyas
a. Nihsabda Kriyas
1. Sarpini - Moving the hand towards left like a flag with the palm facing downwards
2. Krsna - Moving towards the right
3. Padmini - Bringing it downwards towards the front side
4. Visarjita - Waving it outwards turning the palm upwards
5. Viksipta - Bringing it towards self, closing-in the fingers
6. Pataka - Raising the hands upwards like a flag
7. Patita - Bringing it down like a flag.

b. Sasabda Kriya
1. Dhruvaka - A beat of the hand
Last edited by sbala on 05 May 2007, 21:08, edited 1 time in total.
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sbala
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#21

Post by sbala » 05 May 2007, 21:10

Dear Sharmaji,
Is it possible to demonstrate these movements or do we have pictures showing these? Ã
Last edited by sbala on 05 May 2007, 21:11, edited 1 time in total.
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msakella
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#22

Post by msakella » 10 May 2007, 15:56

Dear brother member, sbala, Do we have to illustrate these hand-postures? I think they are clear enough to follow.
Sarpini - moving the hand towards left like a flag with the palm facing downwards -
if you keep all the fingers, starting from the little finger to the thumb, of your hand one above the other together like a flag your palm is just like a flag. Then if you make its face down and move it towards your left it is Sarpini, towards right Krishna and other things follow. That’s all. Still, if you are unable to follow we can visualize them by taking their photographs. Do we need them? amsharma.
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sbala
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#23

Post by sbala » 10 May 2007, 17:43

Dear Sharmaji,
Welcome back from your tour. No need to take any special efforts for this. I was moving my hands like a traffic cop. So, I wasn't sure if I understood it.
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msakella
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#24

Post by msakella » 11 Jun 2007, 05:33

Dear brother-member, sbala, One full month passed away since you have stopped defining the remaining elements of Taladashapranas. Would you please start again to define the remaining elements of them for the benefit of many of our brothers and sisters?
amsharma.
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sbala
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#25

Post by sbala » 11 Jun 2007, 09:10

Here we go again!

Anga -4th element

Anga mean organ. This element describes the structure of the tala in terms of the various divisions each of which is maked by an account of a beat. The Anga of Tala also means the number and order of its structural units. These are Anudruta containing single unit duration, Druta having double unit duration and Laghu carries varying duration based on unit values of Jati. Guru, Pluta and Kakapada carry 2,3 or 4 times the duration of Laghu respectively.

1. Anudruta "Ü" is the sign of Anudruta. This should be rendered with the help of the Desya kriya, Dhruvaka and it synonyms are Ardhachandra, Vjanjana, Anunasika, Avyakata and Virama.

2. Druta : "O" is the sign of Druta. This should be rendered with the help of Druvaka and Visarjita of Desya Kriyas and its synonyms are Ardhamatra, Vyoma, Bindu, Valaya, Vrtta and Kham.

3. Laghu : "I" is the sign of Laghu. This should be rendered with the help of Dhruvaka followed by counting fingers for maintaining the different units of time of Jati and its synonyms are MAtra, Sarala, Hrasva, Kala and Sara

4. Guru "S" is the sign of Guru. This should be rendered with the help of Dhruvaka and Patita each followed by counting fingers for maintaining the units of time of Jati and its synonyms are Dvimatra, Vakra, Kana, Yamala and Dirgha

5. Pluta : "Ś'" is the sign of Pluta. This should be rendered with the help of Dhruvaka, Sarpini and Krsna each followed by counting fingers for maintaining the units of time of Jati and its synonyms are Sambodbhava, Dipta, Tryanga and Trimatra.

6. Kakapada : "+" is the sign of Kakapada. This should be rendered with the help of Sarpini, Krsna, Pataka and Patita, it being an absolute Nihsabda anga, each followed by counting fingers for maintaining the units of time of Jati and its synonyms are Hamsapada,Nihsabda,Caturlaghu and Caturmatra.
Last edited by sbala on 11 Jun 2007, 09:15, edited 1 time in total.
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