The ten elements of Tala

Tālam & Layam related topics
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Post by sbala » 11 Jun 2007, 09:17

5th element - Graha

Graha is the position of attack i.e., mutual relation between the commencement of the thala cycle and the commencement of the melody line. This is of 2 kinds. It is said to be sama if both positons of commencement coincide i.e, if the melody line commences at the commencement of thr tala cycle itself. It is said to be Visama otherwise. This is again of 2 kinds. It is Anagata if the melody line commences after the Tala cycle has commenced. It is Atita if the melody line commences first
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Post by sbala » 11 Jun 2007, 12:32

6th element - Jaati
Jaati defines the quantity of the tala cycle by defining the quantiy of the laghu. There are 5 laghu jatis - trisra, caturasra,khanda, misra and Sankirna with time quantities of 3,4,5,7, and 9 units respectively. Other laghu jatis such as Divya Sankirna, Misra Sankirna, Desya Sankirna, Misra Desya Sankrina and Desya Suddha Sankirna containing 6,8,10,12 and 16 units respectively are used rarely.

Synonyms of all these 10 jaatis are
1.Svarga Laghu 3
2. Manusya Laghu 4
3. Desya Laghu 5
4. Hamsa Laghu 7
5. Citra Laghu 9
6. Divya Laghu 6
7. Simha Laghu 8
8. Varna Laghu 10
9. Vadya Laghu 12
10. Karnataka Laghu 16

The different units of laghu jaatis should be maintained by counting fingers of the same hand followed by the starting Kriya.
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Post by sbala » 11 Jun 2007, 12:35

Kala - 7th element
Kala defines the quantity of time possessed by an entire cycle or Avarta of a tala. The original quantity of the time is called Yathaksara or Eka Kala, twice of its quanity called Dvikala and tiwce of the quanity of Dvikala is called Catuskala. Dvi-kala and Catuskala are made use in Marga talas in terms of Gurus only.
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Post by sbala » 11 Jun 2007, 12:39

Laya - 8th element
Laya may be roughly translated as tempo which describes the speed of the melody line. It is of 3 kinds
1. Druta (Fast)
2. Madhya (Medium)
3. Vliambita (Slow)

Sometimes, these tempi themselves are further subdivided into the following 9 varieties.

1. Vilambita vilambita
2. Vilambita madhya
3. Vilambita druta
4. Madhya vilambita
5. Madhya madhya
6. Madhya druta
7. Druta vilambita
8. Druta madhya
9. Druta druta
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Post by sbala » 11 Jun 2007, 12:47

9th element - Yati

Yati is roughly translated into English as "Caesura". It consists of forming different patterns of melodic or word flow by arranging the pauses in various ways. This was done by by 2 methods

1. Manipulating the slow, moddle and fast tempi in such a way as to to arrive at the desired pattern

2. Arranging the tala organs of diffrent sizes (heavy, light etc) in such a way as to obtain the required pattern.

They are different approaches to the same aspect.

Early treatises describe 3 yatis

1. Sama - The density of flow is uniform in word or melody
2. Srotovaha - It commences small but gradually enlarges like a river.
3. Gopuccha (cow's tail) - It is the opposite of Srotovaha - flow begins large but tapers at the end.

Later treatises add 3 more
1. Mrdanga yati - Heavy angas are in the middle and lighter angas are at the ends. This is also called Yavamadhya

2. Pipilika - This is the opposite of Mrdanga yati. Heavy angas are at the ends and lighter angas in the middle. This is also called Vedamadhya.

If 2 tempi frequently recur in a repeating tala cycle, it is said to be Kharjurika yati. In Visama yati, there is no discernible pattern in the arrangement of tempi or organs.
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Post by sbala » 11 Jun 2007, 12:58

Prastara - 10th element

Rhythmical forms are innumerable and they are all derivatives of this element, Prastara. in which talaangas are premuted into all possible combinations in a systematic process to avoid repetition.

Taking the number of different talaangas used in the process of permutation into account, the modes of permutaion are divided into 4 kinds and they are

1. Caturanga Prastara
2. Pancanga Prastara
3. Sadanga Prastara
4. Samyuktanga Prastara

Each on of these modes of permutation has 2 main divisions namely
1. Akhanda Prastara
2. Khanda Prastara

Khanda Prastara, in turn, has 2 sub-divisions namely
1. Hina Prastara
2. Yukta Prastara

All these divisions employ 2 different processes of prastara namely
1. Anuloma Prastara
2. Violoma Prastara

and 2 key figures namely
1. Sankhya - total number of permutations or prastaras
2. Mahapatala - total number of tala angas used in the process of permuation

The figures of sankhya and Mahaptala can be obtained using some easy methods,without going through the laborious process of tabulating all the permutations. Similarly, we can obtain the
1. Nasta - Series of talaangas of a partcular serial number of a prastara
2. Uddista - Serial Number of a prastara given the series of talaangas
3. Kalita - Total number of all the different talaangas used upto a particular serial number of the given prastara.

This element helps in obtaining the full details of all the various prastaras, many of which are highly useful in Swara improvisation. For further details, please refer the thread
Last edited by sbala on 11 Jun 2007, 13:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by erode14 » 08 Apr 2008, 14:13

sbala wrote:9th element - Yati

2. Pipilika - This is the opposite of Mrdanga yati. Heavy angas are at the ends and lighter angas in the middle. This is also called Vedamadhya.
Dear shrI sbala,

pipeelika is sama yathi. The opposite to mrudanga yathi is vEdha madhyama yathi ( damaru yathi ).

erode nagaraj
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Post by Nick H » 08 Apr 2008, 14:41

It may be foolish to disagree with a musician (but then the risk of being foolish has seldom stopped me doing anything, as many of my posts will show ;)) but, I thought it was named after the ant, broad at each end, with a tiny waist --- and the one text book I can find (dharmala Ramamurty) seems to confirm that
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#34 Re: The ten elements of Tala

Post by kunjamma » 21 Nov 2015, 02:09

Dear sir could You also help me with a detail explanation on Adi tala and Roopaka tala for theory exam.
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#35 Re: The ten elements of Tala

Post by Aditya Jois » 21 May 2017, 13:56

Namaskaraani to all the fellow rasikas.

I am very new to this forum and this is my first post/reply. I found this particular thread extremely interesting since I am extremely poor in tala. I found the following lecture series freely uploaded on youtube by Acharya net. This lecture series concentrates on taala dasha pranas itself. Hope it will be useful for others. ... kD7Ditsxwb
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#36 Re:

Post by ajaysimha » 21 Jan 2019, 20:48

sbala wrote:
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.
i had a few clarifications on marga:
are marga and kala same or different as below
marga is based on composition based
kala is speed based

in then lec-dem by chitravina narasimhan sir, he gives the clear picture of shad-vida margas(6 types):

marga and no. swaras/unit

1. ati-chitra: 1 units
2. chita-tama: 2 units
3. chitra-tara: 4 units
4. chitra: 8 units
5. vaardika: 16 units
6. Dakshina: 32 units

but other definition says: ... ranas.html

1. ati-chitra: 1/4 units
2. chita-tama: 1/2 units
3. chitra-tara: 1 units
4. chitra: 2 units
5. vaardika: 4 units
6. Dakshina: 8 units

(seems to be like all units are divided by 4) is this calculation for chaturashra gathi because it has 4 mathras

also one more research article says: ... s-0177.pdf

B. Mārga
Mārga literally means ‘path’. A Mārga characterizes
different ways of rendering a Tāla on the basis of
elongating durations of the time units.7
There are
two systems of Mārga which are seen in preVijayanagara
1) As per the Saṅgītaratnākara: The system of
Mārga-s - Dakṣiṇa, Vārtika, Citra, and Dhruva,
defined on the basis of the unit Kalā (Guru) (SR,
5, 10cd).
Dakṣiṇa: Kalā = 8 Mātra-s
Vārtika: Kalā = 4 Mātra-s
Citra: Kalā = 2 Mātra-s
Dhruva: Kalā = 1 Mātra
2) As per the Saṅgītacūḍāmaṇi: The system of
Mārga-s - Dakṣiṇa, Vārtika, Citra, Citratara,
Citratama and Aticitratama is seen (SC, 16, 51-
54 ab), 8
. In addition to Dakṣiṇa, Vārtika and
Citra as defined earlier, we have another three
Mārga-s :
Citratara: Kalā = 1 Mātra
Citratama: Kalā = ½ Mātra
Aticitratama: Kalā = Druta9
The Saṅgītasamayasāra describes both the systems
of Mārga-s and calls Citratara, Citratama and
Aticitrama as ‘Dēśī’ Mārga-s (SSS, 7, 13cd-20ab).

@ am sharmaji please clarify these doubts on marga.
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