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"Unlocking the Rhythms: Discovering Teen Taal in Hindustani Music"



Welcome to Octaves Online, your virtual gateway to the world of music. Today, we embark on a captivating journey into the realm of Hindustani Sangeet, as we explore the enchanting rhythms of "Teen Taal" and delve into the mystical world of Raag Bhupali.


Understanding the Essence of Teen Taal


To begin our musical odyssey, we must first grasp the fundamental concept of "Taal." Taal forms the rhythmic backbone of every composition in Hindustani music. It's the heartbeat of our melodies, the pulse that gives life to our tunes. And guess what? You've been familiar with it since the day you were born, because your heartbeat is a rhythm in itself!


Now, let's focus on "Teen Taal." This Taal is the beating heart of Hindustani music, and it consists of 16 beats, which are cyclically played on the tabla. These 16 beats are divided into four equal parts. The first beat of each part is either a 'taali' (a clap) or a 'khaali' (an empty beat). In Teen Taal, there are three 'taalis' and one 'khaali.' The first 'taali,' known as 'sum,' is the most important, as it marks the beginning of the rhythm and is symbolized by a cross sign. It holds a special place in songs, emphasizing key moments.


The second 'taali' falls on the 5th beat, denoted as '2,' and the third 'taali' occurs on the 13th beat. The 'khaali' is positioned on the 9th beat, represented by a circle. These beats have specific names, collectively known as "Theka" or the rhythmic pattern, and they sound like this:

"Dha dhin dhin dha, Dha dhin dhin dha, dha tin tin ta, ta dhin dhin dha."


Teen Taal can be played at three different tempos: madhya laya (medium tempo), vilambhit laya (slow tempo), and drut laya (fast tempo). For our learning purposes, we'll be singing our Bandish in madhya laya.


Visualizing Teen Taal


Now, let's visualize Teen Taal on our hands. The 'taalis' are indicated with claps, and the other beats are shown using fingers. Remember, always return to 'sum' when demonstrating Taal on your hands. Here's how Teen Taal looks:

  • Taali (sum): Clap

  • 2nd beat: Finger

  • 3rd beat: Finger

  • 4th beat: Finger

  • Khaali: Empty beat

  • 6th beat: Finger

  • 7th beat: Finger

  • 8th beat: Finger

  • 9th beat (khaali): Empty beat

  • 10th beat: Finger

  • 11th beat: Finger

  • 12th beat: Finger

  • 13th beat (taali): Clap

  • 14th beat: Finger

  • 15th beat: Finger

  • 16th beat: Finger

So, Teen Taal is a beautiful rhythmic pattern that adds depth and structure to our music.


Bringing Teen Taal to Life


Now that we've acquainted ourselves with Teen Taal, let's explore how it's brought to life on instruments like the tabla. The smaller part of the tabla is tuned to match the scale of the music you're singing, ensuring that the beats resonate harmoniously with your melody.

For those of you using tabla apps, we recommend "Sur Sadhak" to simulate the tabla experience. Here's how to set it up:

  1. Select "Teen Taal (16)" from the dropdown menu.

  2. Adjust the tempo to your preference.

  3. If you want to include the Tanpura, click on "Pa."

  4. Finally, click on the appropriate button to play the virtual tabla.

You can also control the volumes of the Tanpura and tabla using the mixer button.


Exploring the World of Bandish


In Hindustani music, one Raag can have multiple "Bandish" or songs. Today, we'll be diving into just one of them. Each Bandish adheres to the rules and swars (notes) of its corresponding Raag. Learning Bandish correctly enhances your sur (pitch) knowledge and deepens your musical understanding.


Let's begin by understanding "Sthai" and "Antra." The Swarmaalika of our Bandish provides a visual representation of how it aligns with Teen Taal. The Bandish starts from the 9th beat, which is the 'khaali.' Remember, we've started counting from 9, but after the 16th count, we're back to 1.


As we embark on this musical journey, remember that every step you take brings you closer to a deeper appreciation of Hindustani Sangeet. Stay curious, practice diligently, and let the rhythms of Teen Taal resonate within you.

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