Source and compiler of Ashtottara-Shata Talas

Tālam & Layam related topics
Post Reply
Christian Kenit Ram
Posts: 48
Joined: 11 Oct 2016, 22:23
x 3
x 4

#1 Source and compiler of Ashtottara-Shata Talas

Post by Christian Kenit Ram » 18 Jul 2018, 22:26

I have been trying to find some sources for the list of the ancient 108 Talas that are universally mentioned and taught .
To my surprise I found out that it seems not to be so clear ....

So I decided to look for some partial info , notably the 5 Marga-Talas ( first 5 Talas of the 108 list ) : They are already mentioned in Bharata Muni´s Natyashastra . If one goes further back in time , there is the Ramayana , where it is written that Luv and Kush sang in the Marga ( Margi ) style . Maybe some researchers have detailed info if the Margi Sangeet ( Gandharva System ) of Bharata Muni´s time was still the same as that of the time of Ramayana , but technically they have the same name and I don´t see authors differentiating between the two .

Now , one of the first Granthas where the Deshi Talas were described seems to be Matanga´s Brihad-Deshi , but researchers say most of the info is lost . ( Generally speaking , authors agree that folk rhythms were prevalent since ancient times , along the classical , strict marga Talas --- It is not that they were invented at a later point , only compiled later in book form . )
Many more books ( some more famous for their raga chapters ) are listed , that give Tala lists in different numbers ( 30 , 101 , 138 , 158 , etc -...) , but almost nobody says explicitely where this 108-list ( The mysterious 103 Deshi Talas together with the 5 Marga Talas ) was written first and by whom ...
There is an exception however , namely the site Omenad.net which suggests the Tamil book " Pancha Marabu " ( Arivanar ) as the source for the 108 Talas , but I can not find a second source to confirm that , neither do the articles dealing with this book give any mention of a 108 tala list . ( As a sidenote : While looking for it , I stumbled across the mention of another Tamizh book named " Kooththa Nool " which presumably includes 108 Thalams of Agasthiyar ) .

On the other hand , Sharngadeva is very famous for the 120-Tala list in his Sangeeta Ratnakara , and there are many links mentioning it . But I have read here at this forum that he gave his 120-list after the 108 Talas were already prevalent , so this doesn´t make things easier ....

I suspect somewhere along the centuries there must have been one or more compilers who fixed the famous 108-list that everyone refers to --- Somewhere after Matanga and before Sharngadeva ....
0 x

msakella
Posts: 1891
Joined: 30 Sep 2006, 21:16
x 48

#2 Re: Source and compiler of Ashtottara-Shata Talas

Post by msakella » 26 Jul 2018, 15:16

There are many differences of opinion in respect of the constituent Talangas of these 108 Talas. amsharma
0 x

Christian Kenit Ram
Posts: 48
Joined: 11 Oct 2016, 22:23
x 3
x 4

#3 Re: Source and compiler of Ashtottara-Shata Talas

Post by Christian Kenit Ram » 27 Jul 2018, 04:22

You are surely one of the persons who are most aware of these differences since you have listed so many details in your books , where you examine the talas of treatises who have other number of talas than 108 , but where nevertheless some more prominent talas are overlapping from one treatise to another .

I got some small experience of the differences by watching 4 clips of the DVD by TK Murthy ( 108 Talas ) , where the talangas of 2 talas are different from the info furnished by the list of Mannarkoil Balaji . ( One was identical though , and another one differed only slightly ... )
0 x

msakella
Posts: 1891
Joined: 30 Sep 2006, 21:16
x 48

#4 Re: Source and compiler of Ashtottara-Shata Talas

Post by msakella » 27 Jul 2018, 09:00

Yes, as you wrote I have gone through umpteen lists of innumerable Talas and some of the general details I have already furnished in the sub-thread ‘what's the structure of taala Laksmisha?’

To tell the fact, I am not at all interested in discussing this useless affair of these innumerable Talas. However I shall give you some interesting details of them.
Just like the Lakshana of a Raga basing on which the details of the name of the Raga, Mela of the Raga, Murchana of the Raga etc., are furnished to get the authenticity of that raga, even for the Tala, Lakshana of that Tala is needed. This Lakshana of the Tala could be obtained from the name of the Tala, constituent Talangas, Jaati and its authentic serial-number. This authentic serial-number could be obtained in the process of Talaprastara only. But, as we have already lost this chapter ‘Talaprastara’ long long ago nobody knows any of its details until I brought it out fully (even then very few people learnt it with great enthusiasm but even the basic definition of it has not been modified in any of the music-syllabi of the educational institutions leave alone the details of it).

By going through the details of this Talaprastara one can understand that there is no use knowing about a Tala without the authenticity of its origin which is its universal-serial-number. Only to bring out Talas in his name and title also the Great Sharngadeva increased the 108 Talas into 120 Talas. In the same manner the author Lakshminarayana of ‘Sangita Suryodaya’ also did and brought out another list of Talas. Thus, in our country, each and everybody tries to glorify his name keeping the truths in secret. The same thing happened even in respect of our practical music. Without revealing the secrets of it the process of learning of it has wantonly been elongated into decades with a deliberate selfish motive
The things become easier and authentic if the serial-number of a Tala is given. In the same manner, it becomes easier if the correct notation is given to the aspirant. Even the system of writing the notation came into vogue right from the period of Annamacharya the same has never been furnished to the poor aspirants. Even the symbolised system of notation furnished by Subbarama Dikishitar in his ‘Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini’ has wontonly been neglected. In these modern days in spite of all the umpteen sound-recording-gadgets in the market no music-teacher bothers to furnish pre-recorded CDs or DVDs along with his/her books containing compositions (that is why I have brought out five books with notated compositions and pre-recorded CDs to help the aspirants). How many are helping our poor aspirants in this way?

All our musicians are professional performers only but not teachers at all. As none of them are true teachers none of them bothers about the aspirants but they all pose as if they are great committed teachers. amsharma
0 x

Post Reply