Aadi TaaLa

This is a link from another article on “Evolution of Chaapu TaaLas”.

The Imaginary House of Aadi TaaLa

An “Anga” (Domain) of a TaaLa is considered as one of its 10 pillars of strength (Dasha PraaNaa).  Ghaata (Beat) is another important pillar of strength.  They are related however remain distinct. 

You can compare the ‘domains’ of a TaaLa to “number and area”  of ROOMS in a house. 

As mentioned, Aadi TaaLa (if you imagine it as a House) has three domains (Rooms).  It has a room called Laghu (just a name given to a Domain with certain features) that has 4 time-units.  Imagine ‘Laghu’ as a room that has an area of 4cm2 or 4m2 or 4 km2.  The number has to remain four but its area can vary.  Here the area is decided by the Duration of each time-unit.  Duration can take any size (normally ranges from 1 to 9).

Similarly, Aadi TaaLa has two more rooms (domains) of equal dimensions called Drutas.  A Druta has two time-units however it can vary in Duration.  If you imagine “Druta” as a room, it can take varying areas but it has to stick to the number 2 (2cm2 or 2m2 or 2 km2).

Therefore, in totality Aadi TaaLa can be imagined as a house with three rooms (three rooms only and nothing more).  The following are the rules if you want to visit the house.

  1.  One has to enter the house through the main door that leads to its biggest room (Domain) called the “Laghu”.  One can spend as much time as they want there. The time spent in Laghu is divided into 4 equal parts.  However,  they cannot come out without visiting the remaining two rooms.
  2. Laghu is connected to the first room of Druta (called Druta 1).  After completing a desired stay in “Laghu” the person has to enter Druta 1.  One should not enter Druta 2 from Laghu, alhough there is a back door from Laghu to Druta 2, because it has a one-way sign put on it.  The time spent at Druta 1 is divided into two equal parts. 
  3. After completing a desired stay in Druta 1, the person can move to Druta 2 through another one-way door between the two rooms.  Druta 2 is a replica of Druta 1 and only difference is their positions with respect to Laghu.
  4. From Druta 2, the person can come back to the room of Laghu from one-way back door.  And if needed can go for as many rounds as he/she wishes however has to follow the same rules.
  5. After completing at least one full visit (under the given rules), if wished, the person can come out of the house of “Aadi TaaLa” from the same door, which was used for entry from outside.

Imaginary House of Aadi TaaLa

The old article begins here…

TaaLa is the fundamental tool to measure time in Indian Classical Music.  (both Carnatic and Hindustani styles). 

TaaLa defines the relationship between a kriti (a musical composition in notes and/or verbal language) and its design, with repsect to time and form.

Aadi TaaLa is the other and more popular name for Chaturashra Jaati Triputa TaaLa.  To put it in simple terms, Aadi TaaLa is defined by 8 beats (8aksharas) of equal duration per one complete round (aavarta).  Each beat can be sub divided into smaller time units called maatras.  The number of maatras assigned per beat, decides the nadai of Aadi TaaLa.

I have not mentioned anything about what Chaturashra Jaati and nadai refer to. I shall talk about TaaLa and its five basic types (jaatis) and five basic nadaisin the next lesson.

I know that it is difficult to follow so much in the first lesson itself. However, I am trying to build an introductory crash course for an untrained, (impatient) listener. Many of us like to listen to the penultimate part of a carnatic classical music concert i.e., the Tani Avartanas. It involves solo performances on accompanying percussion instruments. We enjoy it. Nonetheless, we do not understand what they actually play.

Today you learnt about basics of Aadi TaaLa, which is one of the most common, most popular time frames in carnatic classical music.

Let us begin a journey in the world of percussion!!

3 thoughts on “Aadi TaaLa”

  1. Dani,
    other than the first line “TaaLa is the fundamental tool to measure time in Indian Classical Music”, I did not understand anything that is told in that page on “Adi tALa”….nice to know you made an attempt to teach people like me (impatient).

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