5. Madhyama pURNA

The Madhyama Purna tabla exam asks for deeper knowledge on vocal styles, history of tabla, gharana, and accompaniment. The student should be able to write compositions in various layas such as aad, kuwaad, and biaad. The exam includes biographies of various great tabla players. The student's understanding of taal, as well as an analysis between peshkaar, kayda, and rela, will have to be reinforced.

Sylllabus

Theory

1. Various styles in vocal music: Dhrupad, Dhamaar, Ghazal, Tappa

2. History of tabla from its origins to present times: changes and developments

3. Knowledge of all gharanas of tabla and their baaj

4. Knowledge about accompaniment to vocal, instrumental, and dance with associated guidelines and rules

5. Ability to write thekas for teentaal, jhaptaal, and rupak in each of the following layas

  • aad, kuwaad, biaad

6. Definitions

  • aamad, tripalli, chaupalli, gat kayda, kamaali chakradaar

7. Biographies of the following tabla players and their contributions

  • Ustad Ahmedjaan Thirakhwa, Ustad Amir Hussain Khan Saab, Ustad Alla Rakha, Ustad Habibuddin Khan, Pandit Samta Prasad, Ustad Afaq Hussain Khan, Swami Paagaldasji, Raja Chatrapati Singh

8. Essay on taal and tabla

9. Detailed comparative analysis of peshkaar, kayda, and rela

Notes

1. Various styles in vocal music: Dhrupad, Dhamaar, Ghazal, Tappa

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2. History of tabla from its origins to present times: changes and developments

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3. Knowledge of all gharanas of tabla and their baaj

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4. Knowledge about accompaniment to vocal, instrumental, and dance with associated guidelines and rules

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5. Ability to write thekas for teentaal, jhaptaal, and rupak in each of the following layas

  • aad, kuwaad, biaad

Try to write the theka in just one awartan: start the beginning maatras in baraabar (single) laya and then fill the awartan with the desired laya. 

 

How to write fractional layakari of any taal

When performing layakari, complex fractional forms can be used. 

  • Double 2/1 (Duppat)

  • Triple 3/1  (Tippat)

  • Quadruple 4/1 (Chaupat)

  • 3/4 (Poundpat)

  • 4/3 (Inverse of Poundpat)

  • 5/4 (Kuwaad)

  • 4/5 (inverse of Kuwaad)

  • 3/2 (Aad)

  • 2/3 (Inverse of Aad)

  • 7/4 (Biaad)

  • 4/7 (Inverse of Biaad)

 

*The above method of referring to layas with fractions is adopted because it is easier to understand the speed in relation to the value of the fraction (as taught in school). For example, if the fraction is 7/4, it is faster than baraabar laya because 7/4 is greater than 1. If the fraction is 3/4 (Poundpat), then it is slower than baraabar laya because 3/4 is less than 1. The above method of referring to layas in terms of fractions smaller than or larger than 1 is found to be efficient because it directly indicates if the speed is slower or faster than baraabar. Think of the respective fractions as "multipliers".

  • if the fraction is less than 1, it goes slower than baraabar

    • Ex. (2/3)

  • if the fraction is more than 1, it goes faster than baraabar

    • Ex. (3/2)

 

In order to master layakari in any taal, understanding the layakari with mathematical formulas is essential. For example, let’s try writing jhaptaal in kuwaad (5/4) laya. 

Step 1: The numerator of the fraction (5) represents the number of beats in each maatra while writing kuwaad. 

Step 2: The denominator minus 1 (3) represents the number of pauses to leave after each bol while writing Kuwaad. 

Step 3: Write the kuwaad of jhaptaal with 5 beats per maatra and 3 beats of pauses after each bol. 

 

→   DhinSSSNa     SSSDhiS     SSDhiSS     SNaSSS     TinSSSNa     SSSDhiS     SSDhiSS     SNaSSS

 

Because writing the kuwaad of jhaptaal took 8 maatras, we can fill the first two maatras with pauses to complete one awartan of jhaptaal (10 maatras). 

 

→   SSSSS     SSSSS     DhinSSSNa     SSSDhiS     SSDhiSS     SNaSSS     TinSSSNa     SSSDhiS     SSDhiSS     SNaSSS

 

We can use those steps to write the layakari of any taal in any laya. The above method can be used for writing layakari so that it fits within one awartan (sum-to-sum). However, we can also write the kuwaad of jhaptaal 5 times without the two maatras of pause in the beginning so that it fits in 4 awartaans of jhaptaal (40 maatras). 

 

We were able to find out that doing the kuwaad of jhaptaal takes 8 maatras by practically writing and finding out. But there is also another way of finding out how many maatras the layakari of a particular taal will be. Simply flip the numerator and denominator and multiply that by the number of maatras in the taal. 

 

Ex. The Kuwaad of Jhaptaal will be 8 maatras long

The inverse of the Kuwaad fraction (5/4) is 4/5 

4/5 times 10 maatras in jhaptaal is 8

 

Ex. The Aad of teentaal will be 10 and 2/3 maatras

The inverse of Aad fraction (3/2) is 2/3 

2/3 times 16 maatras in teentaal is 10 and 2/3

 

 

 

 

6. Definitions

  • aamad, tripalli, chaupalli, gat kayda, kamaali chakradaar

Aamad- Aamad means "arrival". In general, a composition which gives a sense or intuition of arriving on the sum is aamad. In dance music, the introduction of rhythmic bols spoken at the beginning of a Kathak performance is called Aamad. It is an entry movement that traces itself back to the Mughal era. It is known to evoke a sense of grandeur and represents taking command of the area. In other words, it is a stylized way of taking an entry during a Kathak performance. Aamad corresponds to “alaap” or “peshkaar” in Indian music. The structure of an aamad is a body followed by a tehai. The term “aamad” was utilized after the Mughal era, before which presentations would start with an uthaan. 

Tripalli- "Tri" + "palli" implies 3 aspects or divisions. It is a composition in which a phrase is played 3 times, each time in a different, increasing laya in order to fill up awartans or to land on the sum. Some stalwarts argue that in a tripalli, not only are there 3 different layas or speeds involved, but the phrase also ends in a "dha" after each division similar to a tehai. 

Chaupalli- "Chau" + "palli" implies 4 aspects or divisions. It is a composition in which a phrase is played 3 times, each time in a different, increasing laya in order to fill up awartans or to land on the sum. Some stalwarts argue that in a chaupalli, not only are there 4 different layas or speeds involved, but the phrase also ends in a "dha" after each division similar to a tehai. 

Gat-Kayda- A gat-kayda is a composition which uses the expansion rules of a kayda but uses the language of a gat. A gat-kayda utilizes the chaal or flow of a gat. It is found in Lucknow and Farrukhabad Gharanas. Although it is an expansionary composition, the extent to which it may be expanded is usually less than a regular kayda because the bols used in this composition are heavy bols found in gats.

Kamaali Chakradaar- The word "kamaal" means amazing or skillful. Similarly, a kamaali chakradaar is skillful and even more intricate than a farmaishi chakradaar. It involves unique mathematical calculations and patterns. A kamaali chakradaar incorporates 27 "dhas", of which the 1st dha of the 1st section lands on the sum, the 14th dha of the 2nd section lands on the sum, and the 27th and last dha of the 3rd section lands on the sum. Each of the 3 tihais or "chakras" within a kamaali chakradaar requires 9 "dhas".

In other words, there are 3 sections. There are 3 tihais within each section. There are 3 "dhas" in each tihai. The 1st dha of the 1st tihai of the 1st section lands on the sum. The 2nd dha of the 2nd tihai of the 2nd section lands on the sum. The 3rd dha of the 3rd tihai of the 3rd section lands on the sum. 

7. Biographies of the following tabla players and their contributions

  • Ustad Ahmedjaan Thirakhwa, Ustad Amir Hussain Khan Saab, Ustad Alla Rakha, Ustad Habibuddin Khan, Pandit Samta Prasad, Ustad Afaq Hussain Khan, Swami Paagaldasji, Raja Chatrapati Singh

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8. Essay on taal and tabla

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9. Detailed comparative analysis of peshkaar, kayda, and rela

Peshkaar- A peshkaar is an expansionary and improvised composition played in vilambit laya. It ends in vowel phrases such as "tin na" and "dhin na" and is used to unfold the taal at the beginning of a solo performance. A peshkaar shows a tabla player's expansionary process and understanding of taal. 

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KaydaAn expansionary composition with a balance of consonant and vowel phrases which begin and ends with a vowel phrase is called a kayda. Kaydas have khaali and bhari components and divisions. The divisions of a kayda may either be symmetrical to the taal in which the kayda is established or may fall in odd places. 

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Rela- An expansionary composition with begins with a vowel but ends with a consonant phrase. A rela has rapid bols and is played in drut laya, helping to create a harmonious chain or musical flow. Many relas are abundant in consonants.

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*In general, compositions become less improvisationary from peshkaar to kayda to rela as the speed increases and the inclusion of heavy consonant phrases increases. All 3 compositions, peshkaar, kayda, and rela are still expansionary because we can create variations of the mukh (theme). 

*Difference between improvisation and expansion: While expansion implies that we can create variations and paltas of a particular composition, improvisation means that the player has liberty to take maximum freedom according to the rules of Indian Classical Music to show their individual thought process. Peshkaar is the most improvisationary because not only is it in vilambit laya (which allows for more time to fill the maatras), but the player may incorporate different types of bols while expanding. On the contrary, expanding a kayda requires the use of the only the bolds found in the mukh of the kayda.