practice exams

This page includes practice exams for the written portion of tabla curriculum. In this section, students will be given a specific amount of time depending on their level and will be asked to write essays for each question. The first question asked is often mandatory, but you will only need to complete 4 more questions out of the remaining questions, in order to complete a total of 5. If there are more than 5 questions included on the paper, the student may have a choice as to which to answer. For Visharad Pratham and Visharad Purna, the examinee will have two separate sessions to complete two different written exams. 

Praveshika Purna

Set 1


1. Write the notation of any two from the following. (Required)

a) Roopak and jhaptaal as per Pt. Bhatkhande and Pt. Paluskar notation systems.

b) Single and double of teentaal as per Pt. Bhatkhande and Pt. Paluskar notation systems.

c) Sum to sum tukda in teentaal and jhaptaal.

2a. Fill in the blanks.

a) The sign for khaali as per Pt. Paluskar notation system is _____.

b) There are _____ maatras in the second vibhaag of deepchandi.

c) There are always _____ intervals in a tihai.

d) When the distance between two maatras is less, the composition is in _____ laya.

e) The sum of roopak is on the _____ beat.

2b. Match the corresponding terms from Group A to Group B.

Group A: kayda, deepchandi, dhumaali, theka, chautaal

Group B: thumri, expandable composition, first composition of taal, pakhawaaj, bhajan

3. Example, in detail, vilambit, madhya, and drut laya.

4. Describe the taals ektaal and chautaal and distinguish between their characteristics. 

5. Explain the playing techniques of TRKT, GDNG, trake, KTTK, and DRDR.

6. Define the following terms: rela, palta, uthaan, laggi, chakradaar.

7. Describe Pt. Paluskar notation system while providing suitable examples.

Additional randomized questions

After explaining all types of layas in detail, explain which laya each of the following compositions can be played in.

  • Laggi, kayda, peshkaar, rela​

Write a tukda in jhaptaal using the Pt. Bhatkhande notation system. Then write the tigun of jhaptaal in Pt. Paluskar notation system. 

Define mukhda and mohra. Afterwards, compare and contrast kayda and rela. 

Compose a tihai in roopak with 14 maatras to spare, a 1 maatra pause, and while using the bol "TRKT". First explain your mathematical calculations to understand how many maatras will exist within each of the 3 divisions of the tihai, then write the tihai down. ​

Differentiate between the playing techniques of the bols "GDNG" and "GDGN".

Madhyama Pratham

Set 1

1. Write the notation of any three from the following: (Required)

a) Tigun of ektaal as per Pt. Paluskar notation.

b) Dumdaar tihai in jhaptaal.

c) Dugun of dhamaar as per Pt. Paluskar notation.

d) Keherwa laggi.

e) Teentaal gat.

2. Fulfill the following.

a) What are the similarities and differences between teentaal and tilwada?

b) Use Pt. Paluskar notation to write teentaal and tilwada.

c) What are the ways in which teentaal and tilwada are used in accompaniment?

3. What is khula baaj, and what is band baaj? Explain using suitable examples. Describe which gharanas in tabla are known for using khula baaj and band baaj respectively.

4. Describe the following vocal styles, explaining how tabla accompaniment should be done for each.

  • Khayal, taraana, thumri

5. What theories exist regarding the evolution of tabla? Afterwards, briefly contrast tabla solo and accompaniment and then list the main skills involved in each respective category (solo and accompaniment).

6. Define and elaborate on the following terms with suitable examples:

  • Farmaishi chakradaar, peshkaar, paran

7. Explain the process of tuning the tabla. Then, describe how tablas of different scales are used in different kinds of Indian Classical Music. 

Madhyama Purna

Set 1

1. Write the notation of any three from the following. (Required)

a) Theka of rupak in kuwaad

b) Theka of teentaal in biaad.

c) Kamaali chakradaar in teentaal.

d) Gat-kayda in teentaal.

e) Tigun of Ektaal in Pt. Paluskar notation system.

2. Briefly summarize the styles of dhrupad, dhamaar, ghazal, and tappa. Then, in a well written analysis, differentiate and contextualize dhrupad vs. khayal and the history surrounding both.

3. Quickly summarize the accomplishments of Lucknow gharana. Afterwards, describe the baaj, thought process, and history of Farrukhabad gharana. 

4. Describe the history of tabla, as well as relevant theories of origin, in detail.

5a. Define aamad, chaupalli, and kamaali chakradaar.

5b. Explain the best practices of accompaniment towards bada khayal.

6. How does taal provide a valid framework for Indian Classical Music? How does taal relate to tabla and tabla compositions?

7. Analyze peshkaar, kayda, and rela in terms of the following components while contrasting between the compositions.

  • Placement, expandability, ability to be improvised, and types of bols utilized.

Visharad Pratham (Theory I)

Set 1

1. Write the notation of any three from the following. (Required)

a) Chakradaar in chautaal.

b) Dumdaar tihai in roopak.

c) Aad and biaad laya of dhamaar.

d) Tukda in taal sawari.

e) Aad and biaad laya of ektaal.

2. Explain the importance and chronological order of peshkaar, kayda, rela, and gat in tabla solo-playing.

3. Briefly give information about gharanas in tabla. Compare and Contrast the features and playing techniques of Delhi and Lucknow Gharanas. 

4. Write about various changes and developments that took place in the history of tabla from its origin to present time.

5. Include detailed information about various riyaaz techniques to improve the balance between the daya and baya. 

6. Point out the contributions of the following artists in tabla (any 3). 

a) Ut. Salaari Khan

b) Pt. Madhavrao Algutkar

c) Ut. Inam Ali Khan

d) Pt. Purshottamdas Pakhawaaji

e) Ut. Karamtullah Khan

7. Write 2 bedum and 2 dumdaar tihais in ada-chautaal and jhaptaal.

Example randomized questions

Imagine some chakradaar in teentaal with 32 maatras to spare and a pause of 1 maatra in between the 3 divisions of the chakradaar. First, explain how many maatras will be in each of the 3 divisions/tihais of the chakradaar and show your math calculations. Then compose a chakradaar with those characteristics using the bol "DRDRKTTK" somewhere within the chakradaar, and write it using Pt. Bhatkhande notation system.

Visharad Pratham (Theory II)

Set 1

1. Write notation of any 3 within the following. (Required)

a) Dumdaar tihai in ektaal

b) Kamaali chakradaar in roopak

c) Kuwaad and biaad laya of teentaal

d) Farmaishi chakradaar in ektaal

e) Tigun and chaugun of deepchandi as per Pt. Bhatkhande notation system

2. Define taal and explain the relationship between taal and theka. Explain the importance of taal and theka in Indian Classical Music. 

3. Define the following terms with suitable examples (pick 5). 

  • gat-paran, mukhda, peshkaar, farmaishi chakradaar, mohra, chalan, aamad

4. Explain the classification of Indian Classical instruments while providing suitable examples for each category. 

5. Define laya and layakari, then write in detail about the relationship between the two. 

6. Write the similarities and differences between the following sets of taals (any 3). 

  • dhamaar and ada-chautaal

  • teentaal and tilwada

  • tevra and pashto

  • jhaptaal and sooltaal

7. Explain rela, then write a tisra jati rela in jhaptaal along with 4 paltas and a tihai. Afterwards, write a tukda and bedum tihai in teentaal.