How to put thalam for this thillana?

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ducktyper
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#1 How to put thalam for this thillana?

Post by ducktyper »

I'm a beginner trying to learn about thalam. I read about the angas (dhrutam, laghu, etc.), the 7 talams, and the 5 gatis. I read that adi thalam is the same as chatushra triputa thalam, which is 1 chatushra laghu + 1 dhrutam + 1 dhrutam. This would be tap, little finger, ring finger, middle finger, tap, wave, tap, wave, which would be 4 + 2 + 2 (if you put a plus wherever there is a pause). Please correct me if any of this is wrong.

I saw videos where you put thalam for alankarams in some ragas, and this seems simple enough. But I'm not able to progress to putting thalam to more complex songs. I really like this paras thillana, and would appreciate it if someone could tell me where all avartanams start and end in this song? I think it's adi thalam (since most thillanas seem to be in adi), but I'm not really sure.

TM Krishna sings this thillana here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quYvpJrCqPg

I got these lyrics from https://arpanarts.wordpress.com/2008/10 ... -material/:

pallavi
tAanOm tanata dhiranA dhru dhru dAni tOmta dhiranA dhru dhru

anupallavi
tAnOm tanata dhira dhirana dhImta dhIm dhIm dhIm tanana dhirnA dhiranA
taddHim dhIm tanana dhirana dhIm tadhIm dhitLAm kiTatakajhaNu
takakiTa takajhaNutaka kiTataka jhaNutaka

caraNam
rAmanAthapura pAlakuDau muddu rAmalinga rAjEndra vibhuni abhi-
rAmijayamuga rakSincumi vArAhi rAjarAjEshvari shankari

shorkkaTTu
tAm takiTa nirisani taka dhimi taka jham gamadagA takiTa jhamtaka
tajham jham magari takiTa jham nidhapa tathaNa risamagari sanidha tadhingiNatOm

In the pallavi line, does "tAanOm tanata dhiranA" constitute the first avartanam?

Rsachi
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#2 Re: How to put thalam for this thillana?

Post by Rsachi »

tanOm ta nata dhira|nA...dru dru| make 8 beats. Count 8 watching TMK beat them out with his hands.. He does it most of the time except when warding off mosquitoes and invisible fans at the jaisa.

Nick H
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#3 Re: How to put thalam for this thillana?

Post by Nick H »

He certainly keeps the beat pretty consistently, albeit giving few clues as to which beat!

So, assuming that the piece is samam edapu (which it seems to be. Rsachi?) and you have found the lyrics, you may begin on one at the beginning, count through to eight, and then one again.

There are two different aspects to following tala. One is accurately sensing the beat, and the other is putting the right gesture.

It may be thought that anyone who can tap their foot to pop or film music can follow a beat, but that music does not much in five, seven, etc beat cycles, nor does it have the syncopated korvais, where patterns of five, seven, etc, are played across the beat cycle. Keeping time is then hugely harder than tapping to a pop song --- often beats (no pun intended) me completely).
I read that adi thalam is the same as chatushra triputa thalam,
It's just different names for the same thing. If you look at the table of 35 Talams, you will see that some (all? I forget) have names, like nicknames, by which they are known
which is 1 chatushra laghu + 1 dhrutam + 1 dhrutam. This would be tap, little finger, ring finger, middle finger, tap, wave, tap, wave, which would be 4 + 2 + 2 (if you put a plus wherever there is a pause).
Except that there is not a "pause" --- just as your route may be divided into miles or km, but there is no gap between each one.

Rsachi
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#4 Re: How to put thalam for this thillana?

Post by Rsachi »

Nick makes a VERY important point. Like in a clock, there are never any pauses in the flow of beats- whether you strike the beat or wave it.
If there are pauses in the music, you have to make sure you join in after the pause at the correct place. You can't even pause IN THE TALA for taking a breath or looking at the lyric or swallowing. Remember the great maestros practise music, especially percussion, with an inexorable metronome going on and on without a pause.

VK RAMAN
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#5 Re: How to put thalam for this thillana?

Post by VK RAMAN »

For some, they keep the beat in their heart, without any sign of leg or hand movement while singing. I know a 7 year old who has trouble coordinating his hand movement for talam while singing, but when he sings he keeps the beat in his heart and any mrdangist can play.

Nick H
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#6 Re: How to put thalam for this thillana?

Post by Nick H »

Without the internal sense, the external show is meaningless. Those of us who, despite mridangam classes, are still, to some extent laya challenged, are all too aware of this!

In fact, probably the majority of carnatic musicians could do perfectly well without the hand stuff, because they are unlikely to have risen to that level without having that inner sense. Music, at its most basic level, has only two components: a musician can't function without the necessary skills in both.

Lakshman
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#7 Re: How to put thalam for this thillana?

Post by Lakshman »

Only in CM do the artists keep the tALA when performing. In HM musicians leave this to the tabalchis.

srini_pichumani
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#8 Re: How to put thalam for this thillana?

Post by srini_pichumani »

Lakshmanji,

chironomy (the use of hand signals) to mark musical time is used in Dhrupad traditions also, although it may not be as overt/loud/injurious :D

It is with the advent of Khyaal that the keeping of musical time was externalized by the tabla artist's theka, while in Carnatic music it continues to be externalized by the keeping of tALa.

Jim Kippen of the U of Toronto had an interesting article on tabla taals and Khyaal many years ago that you may want to read at
http://www.echo.ucla.edu/Volume3-Issue1 ... _tal-s.pdf

-Srini.

vasanthakokilam
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#9 Re: How to put thalam for this thillana?

Post by vasanthakokilam »

Very interesting thread.

Given that the original poster (OP) asked a beginner level question, for emphasis let me highlight a key aspect Nick mentioned.
There are two different aspects to following tala. One is accurately sensing the beat, and the other is putting the right gesture.
That is pretty much it in a nut shell. Not easy or trivial by any means but it is not as complicated as most intro CM books make it out to be.

What TMK does in that video is the first part. He is showing the beat like a metronome and he does not use the gestures that are typically associated with the Tala Angas.

Once you get the sense of the beat and can keep the beat like a metronome like TMK does, how does one learn to put the right gestures. By definition, that is the same task as figuring out where the angas are in the music itself, since the gestures externalize the internal rhythm. For most Adi songs, the rhythmic emphasis on the 5th beat is very pronounced. In the above song, it is very obvious. It is on the 'na' of dhirana ('tAnOm tanata dhirana' Once you figure out that fifth beat, you can figure out the first beat. That automatically reveals the 'eduppu' of the song, which in this case is Samam.

vasanthakokilam
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#10 Re: How to put thalam for this thillana?

Post by vasanthakokilam »

Notes on the above.

1) Another gestural variation one will see with a few other artists is, they will show the typical gestures for laghu and drutham but they will double tap the last beat of the laghu ( the 4th beat of Adi). The optics are good since it breaks that monotony. I am curious if it serves a purpose, musical, performance or otherwise?

2) While the 5th beat receives the rhythmic emphasis, contrary to a beginner's expectations, the first beat doesn't always get such an accent. In fact, in some songs that start between the first and second beat there is silence on the first beat. Or the song will land ever so softly on the first beat and silent after that. While it is very nice artistically, most beginners will have difficulty. They will mistakenly try to start the first beat when the song starts only to be derailed before the train even leaves the station. That is why it is better that they learn to focus on the 5th beat and let everything else including the eduppu align automatically. As with anything artistic, one should not expect this method to hold 100% of the time but it is a broad guideline.

3) I have asked a lot of people if the angas are reflected in the song through different rhythmic emphases ( like the one for the 5th beat of Adi mentioned above ). The consensus answer is 'No'. But this mid-point emphasis is good enough to figure out the anga positions in most cases.

4) There are people who make statements to the effect that they are indeed rhythmic differences in songs that are in different talas of the same cycle count. That is true since the accepted mid point is different for such groups of talas and the accent on such a mid point can communicate those rhythmic differences. But some may say that the anga divisions are reflected in the song as clearly as they are in the tala definition. One would be hard pressed to find such clear accents on anga boundaries in the vast majority of the cases that we encounter in day to day CM songs. That is, the internal laya of the song does not always reflect the anga structure of the tala. Actually, most often they do not.

5) This leads to the observation that there are definitely cases where the same song can be shown with two different sets of angas(gestures) with different eduppus. I do not think one is necessarily more right than the other. But using the principle of Occam's razor, when one tala + eduppu is much simpler and straightforward than the other tala with the same cycle count + different eduppu, why not go with the simpler one? That is how the tie is broken in those small number of cases where two talas ( of the same cycle count ) can compete for assignment for a song. Given the universality of Adi, other 8 beat talas do not have a chance to compete with Adi.

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