Classical Indian Music (Raga Music)

Raga means timbre, emotion and mood, also joy and enjoyment. That is why it is said: That which colours (the mind with joy) is a Raga - "Ranjati iti Ragah". In Indian Classical Music Ragas are called the various melodies over which the musicians improvise. Ragas correspond to specific laws of nature that predominate during the time of performance and are lively in the audience. Therefore, a Raga is not just invented but rather cognized in the state of crystal clear awareness as the structure of sound and melody of creation, in the same way as a conqueror discovers a new continent or a biologist a new species. Thus, the time of day and year and the elements condense in the Ragas.

In the classical instrumental music of Northern India, which dates back to the Dhrupad, a Raga consists of Alaap, Jod, Jhala and Gat. The Alaap (lit. getting to know) is the introduction or the prelude, in which the musician presents the tones of the Raga in a slow, meditative play. In the Jod, a rhythm is added, first slowly, then faster. The climax is formed by Jhala, a very fast and melodious part. After this, the drums begin (mostly Tabla) and compose different rhythms (Talas) in the Gat. Here too, the tempo is first slow (Vilambit) and then gradually grows faster (Drut). There are ten main Talas and several hundred less common Talas. The most well known Tala is Teental ("king of Talas") consisting of 16 (4 x 4) beats.
 

Maharishi Gandharva Veda

Since the origin of the Northern Indian Raga music dates back to the Vedic Civilization (around 3000 B.C.) and is much older than today's India, the Indian Saint Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has proposed the name Gandharva Veda for this music. According to mythology, it were the Gandharvans ("divine musicians") who brought the Ragas from the gods to the humans. Later, the musicians at the royal court were also called Gandharvans. In his Vedic Science, Maharishi emphasizes time and again the special healing effect both for individuals and for society as a whole emanating from Raga music. It is derived from Sama Veda (one of the four fundamental Vedas) and according to him forms part of the therapeutic approaches of Ayurveda - similarly as meditation, Diet suitable to one's Doshas, pulse diagnosis, Pancha Karma etc. Today, "Maharishi Gandharva Veda" also designates a label, under which classical Northern Indian music is marketed and concerts are performed all over the world.

 

Talas (Cycles of Rhythm)

In the top row of each table, the absolute number of each beat (matra) of the respective cycle of rhythm (avartan) is given.

The row below that indicates the sam (+), i.e. the ONE of the cycle, and the positions of the second, third, etc. beat (here it is possible to clap along). (0) designates khali, i.e. an unaccented beat, which is not clapped.

In the following row we find the divisions of the Tala, which are introduced by accentuated and unaccented periods (clapping/non-clapping).

The last row denotes the syllables (bols) chanted by the tabla player, which are performed on the drum pair by different finger and hand beats on the discant drum (dayan) and the bass drum (bayan).

Rupak Taal = 7 beats of 3 + 2 + 2

123
0--
123
TinTinNa
45
2-
12
DhinNa
67
3-
12
DhinNa
In Rupak Taal the sam is unaccented (0) und is therefore not clapped.

Matta Taal = 9 beats of 4 + 2 + 3

1234
+---
1234
DhinTereketeDhinNa
56
0-
12
ThunNa
789
2--
123
DhinDhinNa
 

Jhap Taal = 10 beats of 2 + 3 + 2 + 3

12
+-
12
DhinNa
345
2--
123
DhinDhinNa
67
0-
12
TinNa
8910
3--
123
DhinDhinNa
 

Chartaal-ki-Sawari = 11 beats of 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 3

12
+-
12
DhinTerekete
34
2-
12
DhinNa
56
0-
12
ThunNa
78
3-
12
KatTa
91011
4--
123
DhiDhiNa,DhinDhiNa
 

Ektaal = 12 beats of 6 + 6

123456
+-----
123456
DhinDhinDhageTereketeThunNa
789101112
0-----
123456
KatTaDhageTereketeDhinDha
 

Ada Chowtaal = 14 beats of 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2

12
+-
12
DhinTerekete
34
2-
12
DhinNa
56
0-
12
ThunNa
78
3-
12
KatTa
910
0-
12
TereketeDhin
1112
4-
12
NaDhin
1314
0-
12
DhinNa
 

Jhomra Taal = 14 beats of 3 + 4 + 3 + 4

123
+--
123
Dhin-DhaTerekete
4567
2---
1234
DhinDhinDhageTerekete
8910
0--
123
Tin-TaTerekete
11121314
3---
1234
DhinDhinDhageTerekete
 

Deepchandi Taal = 14 beats of 3 + 4 + 3 + 4

123
+--
123
DhaDhin-
4567
2---
1234
DhaGeTin-
8910
0--
123
TaTin-
11121314
3---
1234
DhaGeDhin-
 

Dhamar Taal = 14 beats of 3 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 4

123
+--
123
KatDheTe
45
0-
12
DheTe
67
2-
12
Dha-
8910
0--
123
GaDiNe
11121314
3---
1234
DiNeTa-
 

Pancham Sawari Taal = 15 beats of 4 + 3 + 4 + 4

1234
+---
1234
DhiNaDhiDhiKat
567
2--
123
DhiDhiNaDhiDhiNa
891011
0---
1234
Ti-KraTinaTereketeTuna
12131415
3---
1234
KattaDhiDhiNa,DhiDhiNa
 

Tin Taal = 16 beats of 4 + 4 + 4 + 4

1234
+---
1234
DhaDhinDhinDha
5678
2---
1234
DhaDhinDhinDha
9101112
0---
1234
DhaTinTinTa
13141516
3---
1234
TaDhinDhinDha
 

Sitarkhani = 16 beats of 4 + 4 + 4 + 4

1234
+---
1234
Dha-Dhi-KaDha
5678
2---
1234
Dha-Dhi-KaDha
9101112
0---
1234
Dha-Ti-KaTha
13141516
3---
1234
Ta-Dhi-KaDha
 

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