Concept of Taala

A “Taala”  is the exercise of measuring the music speed. “Taala” is the undividable part of music. A “Taala” can be of seven types. They are known as “Sooladi sapta taalas”. “Sooladi” is a type of composition which gave    rise to “taala”.The seven types of Taalas are – “Dhruva“, “Matya“, “Roopaka“, “ Jhumpe“, “ Triputa“, “Ata” and “Eka“.Typically “taala” is denoted by the movement of the right hand with beats on the right lap. The beat could be with the palm facing downwards or with the palm facing upwards.

Isn’t that a simple but ingenious system of counting?

Taalanga” ( body of “taala”) denotes the beat sequence of the    “taala”. It is one of the 10 main elements of “taala”. In “Sooladi sapta taalas”, the different “taalanga” can be of 4  types – “ Laghu“, “ Dhruta“, “ AnuDhruta“.

Laghu – 1 beat with the palm facing downwards + Count with  the fingers ( a gentle tap with the finger ). A “Laghu” in the “taala” pattern is symbollically denoted as ‘1’. “Laghu” is the variant part of “taala”.

A “laghu” can be of the following “ Jaati” ( Category ) as shown in the table below –

Type Finger Count
Trishra 2
Chaturashra 3
Khanda 4
Mishra 6
Sankeerna 8

 

Dhruta – A Dhruta is denoted by one beat of the palm facing downwards followed by one beat of the palm facing upwards. This is symbollically denoted as – ‘0’. Dhruta is the constant part of “taala”.

AnuDhruta – An AnuDhruta is only a beat of the palm facing downwards. This is symbollially denoted by – ‘U’. AnuDhruta is the constant part of “taala”.

The various “taalas” and ther notations are shown below –

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Name “Dhruva” “Matya” “Roopaka” “Jhumpe” “Triputa” “Ata” “Eka”
Notation 1011 101 01 1U0 100 1100 1

 

Please see the illustration below –

 

Kaala – “Kaala” ( Time ) is the measure of the speed of music. Three categories of Kaala can be distinguished – “ Prathama” ( 1 st ), “ Dwitiya” ( 2nd ), “ Tritiya” ( 3rd ). Alternatiely, we could also refer the three speeds as slow, medium and fast speeds.

If with one “taala”, one “ Swara” syllable is sung, then the “kaala”    is “Prathama”.Please see the illustration below –

The “taala” count is 8. The verse goes like this –

|| Sa Ri Ga Ma | Pa Da | Ni Sa ||

|| Sa Ni Da Pa | Ma Ga | Ri Sa ||

Taala 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Swara Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Da Ni Sa
Sa Ni Da Pa Ma Ga Ri Sa

 

If with one “taala”, two  “swara” syllables are  sung, then the “kaala” is “Dwitiya”. The speed is hence twice of “prathama kaala”.

Please see the illustration below for the same “taala” and verse –

Taala 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Swara Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Da Ni Sa Sa Ni Da Pa Ma Ga Ri Sa

 

If with one “taala”, 4  “swara” syllables are  sung, then the “kaala” is “Tritiya”. The speed is hence 4 times of “prathama kaala” and twice that of “dwitiya kaala”.

Please see the illustration below for the same “taala” and verse –

Taala 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Swara Sa Ri

Ga Ma

Pa Da

Ni Sa

Sa Ni

Da Pa

Ma Ga

Ri Sa

Sa Ri

Ga Ma

Pa Da

Ni Sa

Sa Ni

Da Pa

Ma Ga

Ri Sa

Please note that to complete the 8 count of “taala”, the verse has to be sung twice. This is not uncommon. Important thing is “taala” cannot be stopped in between.