INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Tabla Forum: HELP!!

 

Author Message
Neel
HELP!! Jan 29, 2004 11:26 a.m.


I have some questions regarding the creation of variations of a theme. Is there a particular structure that should be followed? Lots of kaidas have the 1st variation as three times and then work there way through the theme doubling some bols and leaving some out.

For example:

DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE THUN NA KE NA
TA TEREKETE TA KE NE
DHA GHE DHIN NA GHE NA

#1
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA X3
DHA GHE THUN NA KE NA
KHALI

#2
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE NA DHA GHE NA
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE THUN NA KE NA

#3
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA (both lines x3)
DHA GHE NA DHA GHE NA
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE THUN NA KE NA

#4
DHA GHE NA DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE NA DHA GHE DHIN NA GHE NA
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE THUN NA KE NA
khali

#5
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA DHA DHA GHE NA
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE THUN NA KE NA
khali

#6
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA DHA DHA GHE NA (this line time 3)
plus #5


Is there a particular structure?
Several ppl will post a theme and that is all - is this a matter of interpretation and allowing each tabla player to make their own variations?

Surely there must be a structure - perhaps it is a matter of practice and experience.

Any suggestions?

Aanaddha
Re:HELP!! Jan 29, 2004 02:16 p.m.


Neel,
This is a good question. This is a question that I�ve thought about and I was hoping someone else would take a stab at. ( David?, Shawn ?)
Anyway, a good starting point would be David Courtney�s book on Kaida.
From what I�ve learned there is no �formula� for constructing variations, vistars, prakars, bant, etc. Would be nice if there was � but then again it might not.
Think of cooking with spices or sauces. Think of the combination spices and sauces as variations on a standard dish. Think of a composition as a special dish. You wouldn�t necessarily put the same spices or sauces on every dish you served.
Every composition; kaida, rela, peskar, gat, etc. has a certain distinct flavor. It may be the flavor of it�s creator, it may be the flavor of it�s gharana,, it may even be the flavor of a certain place in India, such as the �Red Fort�, or the sound that a pigeon or a train makes. Flavors are not always the easiest things to describe in words but more often than not people will generally agree to what is sweet and what is sour.
To create variations on a kaida for example you really have to look carefully at the theme. You have to know the theme well enough to have an idea about what makes this kaida different from other kaida�s , why this kaida was given to so-and-so by so-and-so, and maybe what the creator was thinking when he created it.
So, the idea really isn�t about playing every variation starting with the simplest and going to the complex as much as it is about evoking or enhancing the original theme or the significant part or parts of the theme. Repeating the first vibhag of a tintaal kaida three times may be a good place as any to start for the simple reason being that that�s the most likely �signature� of many kaidas and relas and a good place to really give the �signature� of the theme emphasis. As we know, dropping bols and creating pauses is also a way of giving emphasis to that very phrase that one was expecting to hear. Problem is that in a tabla solo performance you don�t really want to use the same sauce on every dish you serve � it�ll get boring. This is where practice and experience come in. A good teacher will usually give you enough variations to keep you practicing for a long while and that will give you and idea about how this composition should feel. Usually those variations will be standard ones and ones that are not out of character. Use these until you are certain that you know your composition well enough to have something really important to add to it. If you have the opportunity to ask someone about a composition don�t ask only for the variations, ask also about what that person feels about this composition; where he thinks the real essence of it is located or how it should be played. That way even if they don�t want to give you their own well-earned material so easily, they might be willing to share something just as valuable - their experience and insight.
Sorry if this wasn�t the answer you we�re looking for but it is another way of looking at the same problem.

Sincerely,
Aanaddha

Ps Listen to Zakir on the first track (?) of �Selects� where he�s playing a rare peshkar and he �goes-off� into 'Zakir world' making countless beautiful variations just on the simple phrase of the last part of the peshkar � - dha dha dhin na� - I�ll never again hear peskar played by anyone without hearing THAT phrase. I know now it�s not his speed or his vocabulary that makes him an Ustad.

Aanaddha
Re:HELP!! Jan 29, 2004 09:45 p.m.


Neel,
Another excellent resource for more in-depth answers to your question are the notations (Book II) from Robert Gottlieb's 'Solo Tabla Drumming of North India'. I recently saw the set being sold on Ebay for $30.

A.

Warren Ashford
Re:HELP!! Jan 30, 2004 10:24 a.m.


Paltas get much easier once you understand there features. You must understand what the theme is . In your example it is the 1st and 2nd line of your Kaida , The theme is only the thali not the kali. This is why all you need is the theme to get started.

The 1st variation you are stating is called a dohra. which is generally the 1st half of the the theme repeated 2 times (dohra literally means repeat) then you play the whole theme. This is how you should think of your 1st palta
#1
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA X2
Plus the whole Theme.
Not 3x plus half theme
then KHALI is easier to understand because the baya returns for the whole theme.

This sets style because most gharanas start with a Dohra while Punjab starts with what we call twins . And that is first half of the theme 2x then second half of the theme 2 x then your khali

Once you understand your theme you can generate paltas by changing the 1st half of the kaida and following with the theme.
Do you follow? I will explain more if you are interested.
-Warren


Neel (Jan 29, 2004 11:26 a.m.):
I have some questions regarding the creation of variations of a theme. Is there a particular structure that should be followed? Lots of kaidas have the 1st variation as three times and then work there way through the theme doubling some bols and leaving some out.

For example:

DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE THUN NA KE NA
TA TEREKETE TA KE NE
DHA GHE DHIN NA GHE NA

#1
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA X3
DHA GHE THUN NA KE NA
KHALI

#2
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE NA DHA GHE NA
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE THUN NA KE NA

#3
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA (both lines x3)
DHA GHE NA DHA GHE NA
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE THUN NA KE NA

#4
DHA GHE NA DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE NA DHA GHE DHIN NA GHE NA
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE THUN NA KE NA
khali

#5
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA DHA DHA GHE NA
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA GHE THUN NA KE NA
khali

#6
DHA TEREKETE DHA GHE NA
DHA DHA DHA GHE NA (this line time 3)
plus #5


Is there a particular structure?
Several ppl will post a theme and that is all - is this a matter of interpretation and allowing each tabla player to make their own variations?

Surely there must be a structure - perhaps it is a matter of practice and experience.

Any suggestions?


rod
Re:HELP!! Feb 02, 2004 09:25 a.m.


My guruji once told me that when you play a palta, try to imagine going out for a walk etc and then coming back home. The wondering off is your variation and the return home is the coming back to the theme. I am not yet in a possition to talk much about improvising on the fly but what I can say is that, I believe, once you get at that stage (where everything becomes instinctive) then paltas will flow out of your heart (almost literarely).
For that you will first have to develop your own style of playing. When I say style I don't just mean dynimics etc. What I mean is really a combination of lots of things that will culminate in something that you consider to be the most beautiful music to your hears (and heart). It takes a very long long time to get to that stage( if you ever get there at all...). A good example is when you try to improvise on a Bhumika. Listen to Pt Kumar Bose, Drums of India, Laxmi taal. You can almost see his improvisational signature in that Bhumika. You would recognize that as being Kumar Bose anywhere. And you would know that that took him a lot of work to gain and that finally it is coming from his heart not just his head. He opened the gate to his heart and the music now flows! Amazing stuff!!! The same can also be said of Pandit sharda Sahai, Pandit Kishen Maharaj and Pandit Santa Prasad. Ahmedjaan Thirakwa, Shaik Dawwod and all the great players.
I guess that once you aquire that your own "signature", then you are able to play a kaida and produce paltas on the fly that are and sound completely different every time depending on the mood (at least for the great masters. the number of combinations is (almost) infinite so why not?). For us kiddos, we must strugle and practice!! The secret is in the heart once the head has learnt the theory.
rod
Re:HELP!! Feb 03, 2004 07:08 a.m.


To summarise:

If someone says to you,
"In the fortified city of the imperishable,
our body, there is a lotus and in this lotus a tiny space:
what does it contain that one should desire to know it?"

You must reply:
"As vast as this space without is the tiny space within your heart:
heaven and the earth are found in it,
fire and the air, sun and the moon,
lightening and the constelattions,
whatever belongs to you here below
and all that doesn't,
all this is gathered in that tiny space
within your heart."

*Chandogya Upanishad 8.1.2-3

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