ALL YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT TALAS IN CARNATIC MUSIC
Tala in Indian Carnatic Music is a time measure or rhythm cycle. As heart beat is to life for a man, Tala lends life for whole of a concert. It is said "Sruthi Mata Laya Pitha" which means, the drone emanated from the Tambura is Mother to the music and the Tala is like father. The tala or time in Carnatic Music is a series of counts made by wave of hand or tap of the hand on the lap or by using both the hands in a manner of clap.
There are seven basic talas in Carnatic Music:
Suladi Sapta Talas
The Seven Talas form the major oft used rhythms in Carnatic Music. Though there are many tala systems in Carnatic Music, the Suladi Sapta Talas are the most famous since the time of Purandaradasa (1484-1564) and most of the Compositions currently sung are part of the Suladi Sapta Talas.These seven Talas are subdivided, based on the change in the Tala due to change in the following five Jaathis (Jaathis of the Tala means that the amount of beats that a laghu can take) :
Click on the Icon Below to see the Counts for each of the Jaathis.
Thus totally we get 35 Talas after allowing the seven talas to be subdivided on the basis of five Jathis. These 35 Talas allow further subdivision based on five gathis (Gathis means speed). The five gathis are once again the same as the above namely Tisra, Chatusra, Khanda, Misra and Sankeerna. These Gathis are also called Nadais. Finally, after Jathi subdivision and Gathi subdivision of the Principal Seven Talas, we get a total of 175 Talas in Classical Carnatic Music. Hence when we try to describe a particular Tala we have to take into consideration three portions, which each of the tala represents :
The Name of the Jaathi
The Name of the Tala
The Name of the Gati
Assume that the name of the Tala is Dhruva, the Jaathi is Chatusra and the Nadai is tisra it is called in the following way:
Chatusra Jaathi Dhruva Tala Tisra Nadai
There are other tala systems available like 108talas.htm and others like 72 Melakartha Talas, Navasandhi Talas and Chapu Talas of which 108 Talas are called "Sanda Talas" using which most of the Arunagirinathar's Thiruppugazh compositions are done.