Evolution of Chaapu TaaLas (ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳ ವಿಕಾಸ)

I know that my first article on AadiTaaLa was an overdose.  I have spent a lot of time thinking how I can improve comprehensibility.  However, for people who want to know classical music (quickly) a bit more, “time” is limiting.  Hence, I had to introduce many technical terms at one go.  The current article is no different (hopefully better).  You need to read it at least a couple of times to get a feel.  I urge you to do so.

I have written a Kannada version of the same article for people who would like to read the technical terms in original.  I have tried my best to use English terms that come close .  I am sure there are deficiencies.

I wanted to utilize audio support this time.  Unfortunately, I cannot upload audio to my blog right now.  I will be upgrading the blog very soon.  After that, I shall give supplementary material, which will help better understanding.

The Article begins here…

There is no doubt that “Chaapu TaaLas” are one of the oldest known forms of TaaLa to human kind.  Indian music (all forms) has a strong basis in time measurement and the tool used to do that is a TaaLa.  The evolution of various TaaLa-Forms has remained a complex question with inadequate answers.  Given all that, experts believe that Chaapu TaaLas cannot be studied in parallel to other DEshee TaaLas such as Aadi and Roopaka taaLas.  It is a fair point.  Because, by doing so we will be complicating ourselves and situation becomes even clumsier.  Let us restrict ourselves to the belief that TaaLa is a simple physical tool to measure time in music, and here we shall discuss only the Chaapu TaaLas.

The Salient Features of Chaapu TaaLas (accepted by percussion experts and musicologists)

  1. Chaapu TaaLas do not have any “Anga”.  That is to say, they do not possessdomains” (the term ‘organ’ does not fit).  E.g., Aadi TaaLa has three domains.  (single 4 time-unit domain of ‘Laghu’ followed by 2 domains of ‘druta’ of 2 time-units each).  A Chaapu TaaLa is beyond domains.  Please see an updated article on “The Imaginary House of Aadi TaaLa” to understand the meaning of domains in a TaaLa.
  2. Chaapu TaaLas are made of ODD number counts.  E.g., the Khanda Chaapu TaaLa, which is widely used in present day concerts has 5 time-units.
  3. Any Chaapu TaaLa has TWO beats of unequal interval.  E.g., Khanda Chaapu TaaLa has two beats, which is split as (2+3=5).  The First beat has 2 time-units and the second beat has 3 time-units.
  4. Chaapu TaaLas are omnipresent in Folk music and have survived through the ages (with some help from Daasa Keertanas of the 16th century).  However, Folk music is unique in that sometimes it moves in and out of a TaaLa’s structural frame work (beyond the scope of the current article).

Technically, Chaapu TaaLas are classified into 4 types. viz., Trishra Chaapu (3 time-units), Khanda Chaapu (5 time-units), Mishra Chaapu (7 time-units) and SankeerNa Chaapu (9 time-units).  However, only the Khanda and Mishra Chaapu TaaLas are still used in present day classical concerts.  Experts say that Trishra Chaapu TaaLa is just a variant of “Trishra naDe” (3 time-units per beat) in any context.  This opinion may have come about because there are no musical compositions in Trishra Chaapu.  Trishra Chaapu’s simple structure may also have led to this idea.  Similarly, SankeerNa Chaapu TaaLa has become a mere taaLa practicing tool to percussionists.  We do not find any musical composition in SankeerNa Chaapu other than some Mridanga lessons.

A single beat Chaapu TaaLa equivalent to a single time-unit (if named as “Eka Chaapu”) cannot exist.  Because, the definition of a Chaapu TaaLa requires that it should have two beats of unequal interval and those beats must be made of whole number time-units .  As we know, the number ‘1’ cannot be sub-divided into smaller whole numbers.  Therefore, Trishra Chaapu becomes the smallest Chaapu TaaLa (1+2=3).

To Read on in English as well as to read it in Kannada please click the button “read more and comment…” 

Based on accepted rules and definitions of a Chaapu TaaLa, Trishra Chaapu can be represented as follows.

Trishra Chaapu (English)

Now, let us consider Khanda Chaapu.  As per rules, it needs to be shown as a TWO beat taaLa with uneven split (2+3=5).  However, to maintain consistency in speed and to help performers to achieve perfection, it is now used in a different form.  It is split as (2+1+2=5) and can be represented as follows.

Khanda Chaapu (English)

Now, let us consider Mishra Chaapu.  As said earlier, even this TaaLa can be shown as a TWO beat TaaLa with uneven split (3+4=7).  However, it can be said with confidence that no one uses the TaaLa in that fashion today.  It becomes extremely difficult to follow the TaaLa after a while and one can neither sing nor play anything intricate.  (If there are people who can do that, then Hats off to them!).  To overcome this, Mishra Chaapu is commonly split as (1+2+2+2=7).

You can see that the above form of Mishra Chaapu is not similar to the forms of Trishra and Khanda Chaapus we had seen earlier.  Logically, Mishra chaapu should have developed as (2+2+1+2=7).  Fortunately, there is a variant of Mishra Chaapu called “Viloma Chaapu”, which follows the above logical progression.  It appears as though Viloma Chaapu is an extenstion of Trishra and Khanda Chaapus.  There is a classical composition in this TaaLa by the famous composer Sri Shyama Shasthri.  Viloma Chaapu can be represented as given below (Please see Kannada version).

If we continue to apply the same reasoning to Viloma Chaapu, and add a single beat equal to 2 time-units to this TaaLa at its beginning, we get SankeerNa Chaapu TaaLa.  However, we should not forget that the existing rule of Chaapu TaaLa requires that SankeerNa Chaapu should comprise only TWO unequal beats (4+5=9).

It is observed that one can arrive at bigger Chaapu TaaLas by logical addition of time-units to Trishra Chaapu.  Theoretically it is possible to get back Trishra Chaapu from SankeerNa Chaapu by consistent reduction.  The complexity of SankeerNa Chaapu (SankeerNa means complex in Sanskrit) makes it inconceivable.

All of these are purely personal conjectures and need verification from experts.   There are many more questions, which deserve answers.

  1. When and why did carnatic classical music start giving more importance to EVEN numbered time-units and beats? (E.g., number 4)
  2. Nature and Folklore is full of musical sounds that follow Trishra Chaapu (including Trishra NaDe) and many ODD numbered sounds.  Why are humans attracted to EVEN numbers?
  3. The rule of showing a Chaapu TaaLa in only TWO beats is a tough rule.  Tough regulations at a fundamental level usually do not survive for long in human societies.  Chaapu TaaLas have survived for millennia.  Therefore, I believe that the underlying principle is much simpler than what we perceive.

I will try to answer them on some other occasion.

For the time being…thank you for reading this article.

ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳು ಬಹಳ ಪ್ರಾಚೀನವಾದ ತಾಳ-ರೂಪಗಳೆಂಬುದರಲ್ಲಿ ಎರಡು ಮಾತಿಲ್ಲ.ಇದುವರೆವಿಗೂ ಭಾರತೀಯ ಸಂಗೀತದ ಮೂಲಾಧಾರಗಳೊಂದಾದ ತಾಳದ ವಿಕಾಸದ ವಿವಿಧ ಹಂತಗಳನ್ನು ವಿಶದವಾಗಿ ಪರಿಶೀಲಿಸಲಾಗದೇ ಇರುವುದು, ಅವುಗಳ ಸಂಕೀರ್ಣತೆಯನ್ನು ತೋರಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಹೀಗಿದ್ದರೂ, ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳನ್ನು ನಾವು ಈಗ ಬಳಸುತ್ತಿರುವ ಆದಿ, ರೂಪಕ ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ ದೇಶೀ ತಾಳಗಳೊಂದಿಗೆ ಒಟ್ಟಾಗಿ ನೋಡುವುದು ಸಾಧುವಲ್ಲ ಎಂದು ತಜ್ಞ ವಿದ್ವಾಂಸರು ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯಪಡುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಅದು ನಿಜವೇ ಹೌದು. ತಾಳವನ್ನು ಭೌತಿಕವಾದ “ಕಾಲ ಮಾಪಕ”ವೆಂದಷ್ಟೇ ನಂಬಿ, ನಾವೀಗ ನಮ್ಮ ಚರ್ಚೆಯನ್ನು ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳಿಗಷ್ಟೇ ಮೀಸಲಿಡೋಣ.

ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳ ಗುಣ ಲಕ್ಷಣಗಳು (ಹಲವಾರು ಲಯವಾದ್ಯ ವಿದ್ವಾಂಸರೂ, ಸಂಗೀತ ತಜ್ಞರೂ ಒಪ್ಪಿರುವಂತೆ)
1. ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳಿಗೆ ದೇಶೀ ತಾಳಗಳ ಅಂಗ ಸಂಜ್ಞೆಗಳು ಅನ್ವಯಿಸುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಅಂದರೆ, ಉದಾಹರಣೆಗೆ: ಆದಿತಾಳಕ್ಕೆ 3 ಅಂಗಗಳಿವೆ. (1 ಲಘು, 2 ದ್ರುತ) ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳಿಗೆ ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಅಂಗಗಳಿರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.
2. ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳು ಬೆಸ-ಸಂಖ್ಯೆಯ ಎಣಿಕೆಗಳನ್ನು ಒಳಗೊಂಡಿರುತ್ತವೆ. ಉದಾಹರಣೆಗೆ: ಈಗಿನ ಕಛೇರಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಬಳಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಖಂಡ ಛಾಪುವಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಲದ ಐದು (5) ಯೂನಿಟ್ಟುಗಳಿರುತ್ತವೆ. ಅಂತೆಯೇ ಮಿಶ್ರ ಛಾಪು (7).
3. ಯಾವುದೇ ಛಾಪುತಾಳವನ್ನು ಎರಡು ಅಸಮಾನ ಅಂತರದ (ಅನ್ ಈಕ್ವಲ್ ಇಂಟರ್ವಲ್) ಘಾತಗಳಿಂದ (ಬೀಟ್) ವಿಭಜಿಸಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಉದಾಹರಣೆಗೆ: ಖಂಡ ಛಾಪು ತಾಳವನ್ನು 2+3=5 ಎಂದು ವಿಭಜಿಸಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ.
4. ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳು ಭಾರತೀಯ ಜಾನಪದ ಸಂಗೀತದಲ್ಲಿ ತನ್ನ ಮೂಲವನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿದೆ ಮತ್ತು ಮುಂದೆ, ಕನ್ನಡದ ದಾಸ ಕೀರ್ತನೆಗಳ ಸಹಾಯದಿಂದ ಬೆಳೆದು ಬಂದಿದೆ.

ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ತಾಂತ್ರಿಕವಾಗಿ ತ್ರಿಶ್ರ (3), ಖಂಡ (5), ಮಿಶ್ರ (7), ಮತ್ತು ಸಂಕೀರ್ಣ (9) ಛಾಪುಗಳೆಂಬ ನಾಲ್ಕು ವಿಧಗಳಿದ್ದರೂ, ಇಂದಿನ ಸಂಗೀತ ಕಛೇರಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ರೂಢಿಯಲ್ಲಿರುವುದು ಖಂಡ ಮತ್ತು ಮಿಶ್ರ ಛಾಪು ತಾಳಗಳು ಮಾತ್ರವೇ. ತ್ರಿಶ್ರ ಛಾಪುತಾಳವನ್ನು ವಿದ್ವಾಂಸರು ದೇಶೀ ತಾಳಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಬಳಸಲ್ಪಡುವ ‘ತ್ರಿಶ್ರ ನಡೆ’ ಎಂದೇ ಗುರ್ತಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ತ್ರಿಶ್ರಛಾಪುವಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾವುದೇ ವಾಗ್ಗೇಯಕಾರ ಕೃತಿಗಳಿಲ್ಲದ್ದರಿಂದಲೋ, ಅಥವಾ ತ್ರಿಶ್ರಛಾಪುವಿನ ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಸರಳವಾದ ರೂಪದಿಂದಲೋ ಏನೋ, ಈ ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯ ಬೆಳೆದುಬಂದಿರಬಹುದು. ಅದೇ ರೀತಿ ಸಂಕೀರ್ಣ ಛಾಪು ತಾಳವೂ ರೂಢಿಯಲ್ಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಅದನ್ನು ತಾಳವಾದ್ಯಗಾರರು ಕೇವಲ ತಮ್ಮ ಅಭ್ಯಾಸಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ, ಮೃದಂಗ ಮುಕ್ತಾಯಗಳಲ್ಲದೆ ಬೇರೆ ಯಾವ ರಚನೆಗಳೂ ಬೆಳಕಿಗೆ ಬಂದಿಲ್ಲ.

ಒಂದೇ ಒಂದು ಘಾತದಿಂದ ಕೂಡಿದ ‘ಏಕ ಛಾಪು’ ಎಂಬ ತಾಳದ ಇರವು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ. ಕಾರಣವಿಷ್ಟೆ. ಅಸಮಾನವಾಗಿ, ಎರಡು ಪೂರ್ಣ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆಗಳ ಮೊತ್ತವಾಗಿ ವಿಂಗಡಿಸಲ್ಪಡುವ ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಚಿಕ್ಕದಾದ ಪೂರ್ಣ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆ ೩. ಸಂಖ್ಯೆ ಒಂದನ್ನು ವಿಭಜಿಸಿದರೆ ಅದು ತನ್ನ ಪೂರ್ಣತ್ವವನ್ನು ಕಳೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತದೆ (ದಶಮಾಂಶಗಳು/ಡೆಸಿಮಲ್ಸ್)

ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳ ಒಪ್ಪಿತ ಗುಣಲಕ್ಷಣಗಳನ್ನಾಧರಿಸಿ ತ್ರಿಶ್ರ ಛಾಪು ತಾಳವನ್ನು ಹೀಗೆ ತೋರಿಸಬಹುದು.

Trishra Chaapu

ಇದಕ್ಕಿಂತ ದೊಡ್ಡದಾದ ಖಂಡ ಛಾಪುತಾಳವನ್ನು ಗಮನಿಸೋಣ. ಛಾಪುತಾಳದ ನಿಯಮದ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ಈ ತಾಳವನ್ನು ಎರಡೇ ಘಾತಗಳಲ್ಲಿ (2+3) ತೋರಿಸಬೇಕು. ಆದರೆ, ಕಾಲ ಪ್ರಮಾಣವನ್ನು ಸಾಧಿಸುವುದಕ್ಕಾಗಿ, ಗಾಯಕ-ವಾದಕರ ಅನುಲೂಲಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಇದನ್ನು (2+1+2) ರೂಪದಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಭಜಿಸಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ.

Khanda Chaapu

ಈಗ ಮಿಶ್ರ ಛಾಪು ತಾಳವನ್ನು ಗಮನಿಸಿ. ಮುಂಚೆ ಹೇಳಿದಂತೆ ಈ ತಾಳವನ್ನೂ ನಿಯಮದ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ಎರಡೇ ಘಾತಗಳಲ್ಲಿ (3+4) ತೋರಿಸಬಹುದು. ಆದರೆ, ಈ ರೂಪದಲ್ಲಿ ಮಿಶ್ರಛಾಪು ತಾಳವನ್ನು ಬಳಸುವ ಮಂದಿ ಇಲ್ಲವೇ ಇಲ್ಲ ಎನ್ನಬಹುದು. ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಲ ಪ್ರಮಾಣವನ್ನು ಸಾಧಿಸಿ, ಅದನ್ನು ಕಡೆಯವರೆಗೂ ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದು ಬಹಳ ಕಷ್ಟಕರ. ಆದ ಕಾರಣ, ಇದನ್ನೂ (1+2+2+2) ಎಂದು ವಿಭಜಿಸಿ ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ.

ಆದರೆ, ನಾವು ಮೇಲೆ ಚರ್ಚಿಸಿದ ತ್ರಿಶ್ರ ಮತ್ತು ಖಂಡಛಾಪು ತಾಳಗಳ ರೂಪಕ್ಕಿಂತ ವಿಭಿನ್ನವಾಗಿ ಇದು ಕಾಣಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ತಾರ್ಕಿಕವಾಗಿ, ಈ ತಾಳದ ಬೆಳವಣಿಗೆ (2+2+1+2) ಎಂದಾಗಬೇಕಿತ್ತು. ಈ ರೂಪದ ಛಾಪು ತಾಳವು ವಿಲೋಮ ಛಾಪು ತಾಳ ಎಂದು ಕರೆಯಲ್ಪಡುತ್ತದೆ. ಅದರ ರೂಪ ತ್ರಿಶ್ರ ಮತ್ತು ಖಂಡ ಛಾಪು ತಾಳಗಳ ವಿಸ್ತೃತ ರೂಪದಂತೆ ಕಾಣುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದನ್ನು ಮಿಶ್ರ ಛಾಪುವಿನ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ಪ್ರಸ್ತಾರಿತ ರೂಪ ಎನ್ನಬಹುದು. ಈ ತಾಳದಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಸಿದ್ಧ ವಾಗ್ಗೇಯಕಾರರಾದ ಶ್ಯಾಮ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಿಗಳ ಒಂದು ಕೃತಿಯೂ ಇದೆ.

Viloma Chaapu

ಇದೇ ತರ್ಕವನ್ನು ಬೆಳೆಸಿದರೆ, ಅಂದರೆ, ವಿಲೋಮ ಛಾಪುವಿಗೆ ಅದರ ಆರಂಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಘಾತವನ್ನು (2 ಯೂನಿಟ್ಸ್) ಸೇರಿಸಿದರೆ, ನಮಗೆ ಸಂಕೀರ್ಣ ಛಾಪು ತಾಳವು ದೊರೆಯುತ್ತದೆ. (2+2+2+1+2) ಆದರೆ, ನಿಯಮದ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ಸಂಕೀರ್ಣ ಛಾಪುತಾಳವನ್ನು (4+5) ಅಸಮಾನ ಘಾತಗಳಿದಲೇ ತೋರಿಸಬೇಕೆಂಬುದನ್ನು ಮರೆಯುವ ಹಾಗಿಲ್ಲ.

ಹೀಗೆ, ಸರಳವಾದ ತ್ರಿಶ್ರ ಛಾಪು ತಾಳದ ತಾರ್ಕಿಕವಾದ ಬೆಳವಣಿಗೆಯಿಂದ ಇತರ ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳನ್ನು ರಚಿಸಬಹುದೆ೦ದು ಕಾಣುತ್ತದೆ. ಸೈದ್ಧಾಂತಿಕವಾಗಿ, ಸಂಕೀರ್ಣ ಛಾಪು ತಾಳವನ್ನು ಕ್ರಮವಾಗಿ ಕುಗ್ಗಿಸುವುದರಿಂದಲೂ ತ್ರಿಶ್ರ ಛಾಪುವನ್ನು ಪಡೆಯಬಹುದು. ಆದರೆ, ಸಂಕೀರ್ಣ ಛಾಪುವಿನ ಸಂಕೀರ್ಣತೆಯೇ ಈ ಸಾಧ್ಯತೆಯನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲವಾಗಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದು ಕೇವಲ ನನ್ನ ಆಲೋಚನೆಯಷ್ಟೇ. ಇದರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ತಜ್ಞ ವಿದ್ವಾಂಸರುಗಳ ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯವನ್ನು ಪಡೆಯಬೇಕಿದೆ.

ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಚರ್ಚಿಸಲು ಶುರು ಮಾಡಿದರೆ ಇನ್ನೂ ಹಲವಾರು ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳೇಳುತ್ತವೆ.
1. ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರೀಯ ಸಂಗೀತದಲ್ಲಿ ಚತುರಶ್ರ ನಡೆ ಮತ್ತು ಚತುರಶ್ರ ಜಾತಿಗೆ, (ಸರಳವಾಗಿ ಹೇಳುವುದಾದರೆ, ಸಂಖ್ಯೆ 4 ಕ್ಕೆ) ಪ್ರಾಮುಖ್ಯತೆ ಕೊಡಲು ಕಾರಣವೇನು?
2. ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ, ಜಾನಪದದಲ್ಲಿ, ತ್ರಿಶ್ರ ಛಾಪು (ತ್ರಿಶ್ರ ನಡೆಯೂ ಸೇರಿ) ತಾಳಕ್ಕೆ ಹೊಂದುವಂಥ ಸಂಗೀತಮಯ ಶಬ್ದಗಳೇ ಅಧಿಕವಾಗಿರುವಾಗ ನಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿ ಸಮ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆಯ ಆಕರ್ಷಣೆ ಬೆಳೆದಿದ್ದು ಯಾವಾಗ ಮತ್ತು ಏಕೆ?
3. ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳನ್ನು ಎರಡೇ ಘಾತಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ತೋರಿಸಬೇಕೆಂಬ ಕಷ್ಟಕರವಾದ ನಿಯಮ ಬಂದದ್ದು ಯಾವಾಗ? ಈ ನಿಯಮದಿಂದ ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳ ರೂಪವನ್ನು ವಿವರಿಸಬಹುದೇ ಹೊರತು, ಅವುಗಳ ಬೆಳವಣಿಗೆಯನ್ನಲ್ಲ. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ, ಇಂತಹ ಕಷ್ಟಕರವಾದ ಪದ್ಧತಿಗಳು ಮನುಷ್ಯ ಸಮಾಜದಲ್ಲಿ ಬಹಳ ಕಾಲದವರೆಗೆ ಉಳಿಯಲಾರವು. ಛಾಪು ತಾಳಗಳು ಸಹಸ್ರ ಮಾನಗಳಿಂದ ಉಳಿದುಕೊಂಡು ಬಂದಿವೆ. ಅದೇ ಕಾರಣಕ್ಕೆ, ಅವುಗಳ ತಳಹದಿಯ ಲಕ್ಷಣಗಳು ಬಹಳ ಸರಳವಾಗಿರಬೇಕೆಂಬುದು ನನ್ನ ನಂಬಿಕೆ.

ಇವನ್ನು ಇನ್ನೊಮ್ಮೆ ಉತ್ತರಿಸಲೆತ್ನಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ.

ಓದಿದ್ದಕ್ಕೆ ನಿಮಗೆ ಧನ್ಯವಾದಗಳು.


11 thoughts on “Evolution of Chaapu TaaLas (ಛಾಪುತಾಳಗಳ ವಿಕಾಸ)”

  1. This is definitely so much better than the previous article you wrote on Adi tALa. I am able to understand a few things. It feels good to be able to say that. I would still want some clarifications about a lot of things. It is not clear as to what is an “Anga”.

    Since I have interacted a bit with a few friends of mine, I can get some, but still not a very clear idea of “taaLa”. There seem to be a lot of grouping and re-grouping of time units in music. It is a bit confusing when i try to understand the first and third salient features of Chaapu taaLa. How is an “Anga” different from a beat? My understanding is that folk music should also include “Raagi beesO padagaLu”. Is such a taaLa present in them also?

    I dont understand one thing in classical music. Why are there definitions for everything? I feel so because, sometimes when i seem to enjoy a given piece of music, a person trained in classical music says that it is “tappu” or something like that. It makes me feel that the definitions, if they should be, are inadequate. I dont know much about classical music and want to just know.

    Until the point where the images are put up, i was comfortable in reading through. But it became latin and greek when i see the alphabets in those images. It would be nice to give an introduction to this notation. Another thing that would be nice is to explain why always as we increase from Trishra chaapu to Viloma Chaapu, the successive increase in the time units are such that the single time unit always appears just before the last 2-time unit. Or is it again by definition?

    I have heard in the past that there would always be beats in counts of 8. How to connect this with Chaapu taaLa?

    This article is much better. If you are writing more articles about music, there are several other questions that i want to ask as a non-practitioner of music. I would probably ask more as you write more 🙂

    1. Thank you Sakshath. I appreciate your response and I have made some changes to improve coherence.

      The rules and definitions in Carnatic Classial music, like in many other fields have evolved over time. Many things have been added and many have been removed by many experts who were not contemporaries. In that process, some ‘not-so-ligical’ and ‘incomplete’ concepts have come into existance.

      When a trained ear reconizes ‘mistakes’ in some other form of music, one should understand that it is a mistake from the respective training point of view only. However, people taking too many liberties (may sound good temporarily) is not healthy in the long run.

      This may be a bad anology. Still, try comparing 20-20 cricket to test cricket. I am assuming that test cricket is an equivalent to classical music (people can take it the other way round also). Given that, test cricket and 20-20 cricket have their own rules. First ODIs and then 20-20 cricket have incorporated and bent many rules of test-cricket. A purist (test cricket lover) may object to some of them. Similarly, a classical musician (instinctively and through training) objects to ‘rule-bending’.

      Raw forms of music are beyond rules and definitions. Since we always try to identify patterns within random phenomena, we end up defining them.

      There is nothing in music that restricts the number of counts to 8 per beat. 8 is more common than others and that is it. Chaapu TaaLas are not DEshee TaaLas (which have domains). In addition, ‘8’ being an even number serves little to the purpose of a Chaapu TaaLa.

  2. @Sakshath

    >>It is not clear as to what is an “Anga”.

    anga is exactly what it means – part, or a limb; Angs of a tALa is a part of the tALa. Just like humans have 2 legs, but a cow has 4 – and a centipede or millipede, a lot more, most tALas have structures that differ between them, but have one common function :), so to say.

    >>> How is an “Anga” different from a beat?
    An ‘anga’ may or may not have a beat. Talas have 2 components -sashabda kriya and nishyabda kriya – i.e. parts where sound is heard and parts where no sound is heard. A beat is a sashabda kriya, while a wave, or a count is nishabda kriya.

    An anga can be a composed of one or more sashabda and nisshyabda kriyas. ex: A druta has a beat and a wave. A laghu has a beat followed by several counts and so on.

    >>My understanding is that folk music should also include “Raagi beesO padagaLu”. Is such >>a taaLa present in them also?

    They do,

    >> I dont understand one thing in classical music. Why are there definitions for everything?

    Just like students of chemistry learn about different elements, and the definition of protons/neutrons and electrons before learning about co-valent bonding, for example.

    >>I have heard in the past that there would always be beats in counts of 8. How to connect >>this with Chaapu taaLa?

    This is only true about a specific tALa – probably you have heard this about Adi tALa.


    1. @neelanjana
      The distinction between beat, fingure-count and hand-wave is necessary. Do you think I should introduce ‘Kriyaa’ in the article itself?
      “Raagi beesO padagaLu” may or may not follow a TaaLa. They are more complicated than a simple rhythmic folk song.
      I think Sakshath’s point on ‘Definitions in Classical Music” has a far reaching impact. I suppose, you would agree too.

  3. (Amrit, an established Khanjira Artiste, commented via e mail)

    Referring to the complexity of these talas, our Carnatic system has so many Rare features that are very complex. It is a difficult exercise which helps improve our thinking ability along with concentration. According to me, it is upto the ‘individual’ to perfect it and present it in such a way that it looks very simple to others. It is just like watching some one do some fete, totally unusual for us, with great ease for some sort of record or for popularity or for living. In our Carnatic Classical System, we definitely have simpler things too so I think there is a balance gained in this.

    One more point regarding the same subject. We all have seen artists from other states put Mishra Chapu with the opening ‘1+2’ by the turning of the palm (i.e. the movement similar to the latter half of a dhrutha). Going by the definition of Chaapu Talas, this is not correct. May be you could touch upon this aspect in your future articles.

    1. Thank you Amrit for your response. I have seen you perform in live concerts with Vid A V Anand and others, I can understand your points. You have always attempted challenges with Khanjira and with legendary gurus such as Vid Harishankar and Vid A V Anand, those challenges become more cherishable. The seemingly simple instrument you play is a very good example of how complicated it can get.

      Your point on Druta feature of Mishra chaapu is well taken. Yes, I have seen that. It needs some answers for sure.

  4. I think, using Druta for chaapu taaLa is just to make sure people don’t miscalculate. It is not correct by definition as far as I know. Chaapu taaLas are difficult to handle specially when you are singing a fast paced song, so people use it to ease things out I guess..

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