Handling Tala During Basic Lessons

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ajaysimha
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#1 Handling Tala During Basic Lessons

Post by ajaysimha »

Hi Rasikas,

i have a question on Handling Tala During Basic Lessons

as a part of bala patha/ Basic Lessons everyone undergoes the training of these known forms
>Sarali
>Janti
>Alankara
>Geeta
>Jathiswara
>Varna

sarali as the name implies - simple, it does not create any confusion.

janti is 2 aksharas per beat, so one can put the normal adi talam - x x x x | x x | x x || ...1
but i see some teachers teach janti varises with a double tap in the adi talam - xx xx xx xx | xx xx | xx xx || ...2
i feel the first way is the right and the pracheena method and the second one is not the suggestible.
because the intention is to make students understand the concept of 2 aksharas per beat

Alankara also do not give a chance for confusions its very logical sequence of arrangements.
but it comes to the 3 speeds -
all the 10 avarthas of a specific tala are executed in 3 speeds separately.
also i have seen some teaches suggesting to play all 3 speeds in the same 10 avarthas
(first 2 avarthas - 1 st speed
next 4 avarthas - 2 nd speed and
next 4 avarthas - 3 rd speed)
what is the actual suggested practice for alankaras ?

and when it comes to Jathiswaras (which is madhyama kala) and Varnas (which is Vilamba kala) the usually practice is to use the talam like this x x x x | x x | x x || ...1 but as some students are not very much comfortable to hold 4 aksharas in single beat they tend to use the double tap xx xx xx xx | xx xx | xx xx || ...2

when inquired one of the gurus regarding the double tap for Jathiswaras and Varnas he said it is not the suggested method. As double taping is used to denote 2 kaliai's in pallavi singing not suggestible to use here.

please share your views on the same.

SrinathK
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#2 Re: Handling Tala During Basic Lessons

Post by SrinathK »

Kalai itself is a concept from pallavis. And in one way it is a fictitious concept. It is a tool to make our counting easier that's all.

In the beginning, only one kalai should be taught and speed variations are straightforward. But as a student keeps evolving and learning, they will have to revisit the basics again and again to practice more tricky stuff.

There is no limit to how complicated you can make these basic lessons. But I don't think 2 kalai should be taught till all the geethams are covered and you start varnams.

Nick H
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#3 Re: Handling Tala During Basic Lessons

Post by Nick H »

I never learnt to sing, but I learnt some laya, and I think you may be unnecessarily confused.

Adi talam is eight counts. And it is eight counts (shown as kriyas) whatever kind of exercise or song you are doing. Adi talam 2 kalai 1s 16 counts, and is shown as doing each kriya twice. And so on. Kalai does change the number of counts in a cycle --- but, as Srinathk remarks, it is not an early-lesson thing.

1st speed, second speed, etc does not change the number of counts, or the number of kriyas. Whether you have takadhimi in one count or takadimitakajuno in one count, it is still only one count. You have to learn to subdivide in your head. In fact, ultimately, layam must be within, and not a matter of hand on leg (And I admit that I never quite accomplished this).

This is what I humbly suggest. You have two hands. Keep the talam "properly" with your right hand, and, if it makes it easier for you, make two, three, four, etc taps with your left hand.

You can do anything that makes stuff easy for you, but keep the basic theory right, eg that the kriyas for adi talam are one clap, three finger counts, one clap, one wave, one clap, one wave (and not 8 taps). What is the point of all that stuff? Partly, it is to do with communicating with others: if you are going to keep talam visibly, please do it "properly," or you may confuse others with whom you share a stage --- or make the audience wonder what is going on!

ajaysimha
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#4 Re: Handling Tala During Basic Lessons

Post by ajaysimha »

thanks for inputs @SrinathK and @Nick H.

so you suggest to use the one - kalai adi tala for all the basic exercise until varnams (basically to avoid confusions)

any suggestions on the alakarams part ?
ajaysimha wrote: 17 Feb 2020, 15:57 Alankara also do not give a chance for confusions its very logical sequence of arrangements.
but it comes to the 3 speeds -
all the 10 avarthas of a specific tala are executed in 3 speeds separately.
also i have seen some teaches suggesting to play all 3 speeds in the same 10 avarthas
(first 2 avarthas - 1 st speed
next 4 avarthas - 2 nd speed and
next 4 avarthas - 3 rd speed)
what is the actual suggested practice for alankaras ?

and i also had a questions on rupaka talam - one with 3 kriyas or one with 6 kriyas ?
or both to make ourself's familiar

SrinathK
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#5 Re: Handling Tala During Basic Lessons

Post by SrinathK »

You can do a lot of those variations with alankaras, and even in varnams but get the basics right first.

Rupaka is both. The old 2+4 one is what was originally used and it is still there in old notations. And this is the one taught in alankarams. The new one however is the much more popular one so that too should be practiced.

ajaysimha
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#6 Re: Handling Tala During Basic Lessons

Post by ajaysimha »

okay. i get it, Srinath.

what i could analyse is that wrt rupakam is
slower or first speed can use the - 2+4 format
and the 2nd and 3rd speed can use - 2+2+2 format

i see that use of 2 kalais is helpful until you master the technique, for instance

in Jantis:
students will easily able to exec 1 kalai if the sequences are simple and straight, like
ss rr gg rr | ss rr | gg mm ||
x- x- x- x- | x- x-| x- x- ||
but if there is grouping of 3's or 5's the use of 2 kalai helps students to visualize clearly:
ss r,s sr, sr | ss rr | gg mm ||
xx x,x xx, xx | xx xx| xx xx ||
and
ss rr g,s rg | ss rr | gg mm ||
xx xx x,x xx | xx xx| xx xx ||

even using the 2 kalai helps in jathiswarams and varnams to have the grip of tala when there is different grouping of swaras.

basically im trying to ask is it fine to use 2 kalai instead of 1 kalai when one wants to make things easier / visualize / keep talam right (not trying to slip off while holding talam for vilamba kala)

Nick H
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#7 Re: Handling Tala During Basic Lessons

Post by Nick H »

Being pedantic here, because I think it matters!

Your use of the word kalais is entirely wrong. If you are doubling up with the kriyas to make it easy for you, that is just what you are doing, not 2 kalai. Musicians and knowledgable raskikas may correct me, but kalai is inherent in the composition, not the way it is presented or practised*. A 2-kalai, adi talam composition has 16-count cycles, not 8: to do what you are describing, that'd be 32 kriyas!

Go on doing what you are doing, but don't call it 2 kalai. You you could clap four times for each count, TaKaDhiMi, but you wouldn't be doing 4 kalai: just over-exercising your limbs!

Don't know what information your teacher is giving you about laya: it might help (or it might confuse, but hey, give it a try!) to get hold of a mridangam text book and read the theory chapter. Even if only to find out what things are actually called.


*broadly speaking, and as information for the beginner. I'm sure there are exceptions. And that that is probably not something that our enquirer needs to worry about until they are on stage.

ajaysimha
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#8 Re: Handling Tala During Basic Lessons

Post by ajaysimha »

sorry for using the wrong terms to convey.

thanks for your tip - let me check out the mridhangam textbook

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