top of page


The Praveshika Pratham tabla exam introduces the student to new definitions and types of compositions. The student will be asked to perform single and double of taals with hand gestures. The student will have to describe different parts of both the tabla and the dagga.



1. Definitions

  • SangeetNaad, Swar, Laya, Bol, Theka, Kissm, Kayda, Mukhda, Mohra, Tihai, Tigun, Chaugun, Tukda

2. Recital of following taals using hand gestures with taali/khaali in single and double tempo

  • Rupak and Ektaal

3. Description of different parts of tabla


1. Definitions

Sangeet- Sangeet is the combination of the 3 arts in Indian Classical Music: singing, instrumental playing, and dancing. 

Naad- The sound that is produced from playing a certain bol on a musical instrument.

Swar- Swar refers to distinct musical notes of various frequencies. (Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni, Sa). 

Laya- Laya, or tempo, is an important element of music. It is the distance between two maatras. When the distance between two maatras increases, the speed of the composition slows down, and vice versa. In other words, laya represents the equal movement of time and the equal spacing between two maatras. Laya also means destruction: when a second maatra is produced, the time interval or the reign of the first maatra fades away. An artist may perform in various layas according to the rules of Indian Classical Music. 

There are three main types of Laya:

  1. Madhya Laya - Medium tempo, approximately equal to heart rate, 80 bpm

  2. Vilambit Laya- Slow tempo played at approximately ½ of the speed of the Madhya Laya, 40 bpm 

  3. Drut Laya - Fast tempo played at approximately 2 times the speed of the Madhya Laya, 160 bpm

There aren’t precise numbers for each laya, it is relative to the composition.

More Info

Bol- Bol refers to a syllable/note (such as dha) or group of syllables/notes (such as TRKT) played on an instrument. While some bols are played individually on either the daya or the baya, some bols are be played by striking simultaneously on both drums. Bols are the most basic components of vocabulary in tabla compositions, and can be arranged to make bigger compositions such as kaydas and tihais. 

Theka- The utilization of various organized bols in order to express a particular taal through a musical instrument is called theka. While a taal can be simply expressed through taali/khaali, in order for a taal to be musically useful, a theka is employed. There may be differences of the theka played for any particular taal according to the context in which the theka is performed.

Taal and Theka

Kissm- Variations in a theka played without disturbing the theme or flow of the theka are called kissm. While accompanying, a tabla player may play various kissm in order to musically and appropriately match the main performing artist's composition. 

Kayda- An 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 componnts 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. More Info

Mukhda- A mukhda is a short and attractive composition of a few maatras used to land on the sum. A mukhda is longer than Mohra but shorter than Tukda. The length of a Mukhda is generally equal to or less than one Awartan. It uses stronger bols such as those found in a Paran. Some stalwarts say that a mukhda usually is the combination of bols composed in the last few maatras of an awartan in order to arrive at the sum. It may or may not have a tihai.

Mohra- A mohra is a small composition used to arrive at the sum gracefully. It is shorter in length than Mukhda and uses softer bols. It is usually a pick-up phrase or hook played spontaneously in accompaniment to vocal/instrumental music in order to transition onto the next awartan. It may or may not have a tihai. 

Tihai- A tihai is a composition in which a phrase is repeated 3 times with 2 equal pauses to arrive on a designated position, usually but not necessarily the sum. More Info


Tigun- In a cycle or time interval of a particular phrase, if that phrase is instead played 3 times at thrice the speed, it is tigun. In other words, tigun is triple tempo.

Chaugun- In a cycle or time interval of a particular phrase, if that phrase is instead played 4 times at 4 times the speed, it is chaugun. In other words, chaugun is quadruple tempo.

Tukda- A tukda is a fixed composition primarily with forceful bols and heavy consonants. A tukda contains a tihai within it and usually is 2-3 awartans in length. Some stalwarts argue that a tukda, or "piece," is a portion of a longer composition which, even if played independently, appears meaningful. More Info

2. Recital of Rupak and Ektaal

visit Taals


3. Description of different parts of tabla

visit Tabla Structure

bottom of page