INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Tabla Forum: Bayan Finger Sequence

 

Author Message
TRKTDHA
Bayan Finger Sequence May 28, 2004 07:08 a.m.


There has been few postings in the past about which fingers to use on Bayan and when. Does anyone got any ideas or Taalim on that.. My Ustad, always been very particular about the bayan fingers for example while paying DhaTi DhaGe Tina Kine he would insist on playing first Dha with middle fingers followed by DhaGe with midle follwed by index fingers.

Is it dictated by Gharana.. I know in Farrukhabad some palayers followed the fingers very strictly.

Regards,
TRKTDha

Gabriel
Re:Bayan Finger Sequence May 29, 2004 01:11 a.m.


Dear TRKTDHA,

I've been tought that the louder sounds of a phrase should be played with the second finger on the bayan. Mostly, louder sounds reffers to "dha" and "dhin", especially with the basic ka�das. So you can also assume that generally you should use the first finger for "ge".

Your Ustad follows exactly this same logic.

Hope it make sence to you.

Sincerely, Gabriel

aanaddha
Re:Bayan Finger Sequence May 29, 2004 09:02 a.m.



Gabriel (May 29, 2004 01:11 a.m.):
Dear TRKTDHA,

I've been tought that the louder sounds of a phrase should be played with the second finger on the bayan. Mostly, louder sounds reffers to "dha" and "dhin", especially with the basic ka�das. So you can also assume that generally you should use the first finger for "ge".

Your Ustad follows exactly this same logic.

Hope it make sence to you.

Sincerely, Gabriel


Gabriel,
I believe TRKTDHA wrote "middle fingers" - notice the plural. One thought is that one finger per stroke - index or middle is more efficient and more dexterous than coordinating a sequence of two and then one. Another thought is that the index and middle finger should aways be alternating no matter what bol is being played. There are plenty of compositions where the same bol occurs in rapid sequence or in repeating triplets and it's just not efficient to use the same finger twice. Similiarly with meend and gamak - your baya hand should be trained to perform both up and down meends on either finger. Hope this makes sense.

A.

________________________

Gabriel
Re:Bayan Finger Sequence May 29, 2004 10:10 a.m.


Dear Aanaddha,

I fully agree with you.

Gabriel

Chas
Re:Bayan Finger Sequence May 30, 2004 03:21 a.m.


I've found that it's useful during practice to experiment with first playing a composition using the strongest fingers for the strongest notes, and then go back and try playing the same passage(s) using the opposite fingering. It's sort of like patting your head while rubbing your belly, but I think it's always good to be experimenting and learning new ways to play the same bols; you never know when it will come in handy later. But I think the most important thing is to find the pattern that is not only the most comfortable to play, but also the one that is most musically satisfying. If you're making good music then in my opinion it does not really matter which fingers are striking when.
aanaddha
Re:Bayan Finger Sequence May 30, 2004 10:29 a.m.



Chas (May 30, 2004 03:21 a.m.):
But I think the most important thing is to find the pattern that is not only the most comfortable to play, but also the one that is most musically satisfying. If you're making good music then in my opinion it does not really matter which fingers are striking when.

It's true, one of the ongoing processes of learning is to establish new and better playing habits while breaking older habits that keep us from playing more clearly and more efficiently.
However - from a novice point of view - which, by comparison most of us here are - it is more highly recommended to establish the best possible habits from the very start than it is to experiment with various methods. This is one more reason why a good teacher is so important.
There are probably numerous methods that various teachers will recommend for learning to play the bayan - and you should follow your teacher's advise strictly, first and foremost.
The reasons that the two-alternating finger method of playing the bayan is suggested here is that it is simple to learn and to establish from the very beginning, it is not confusing, it forces a habit of strength and dexterity equally in both fingers, and it forces the ability to play the same bol repeatedly in quick succession with only one of two finger choices - either softly or with emphasis. And probably the least important reason, it is the method used by many professionals including Pt. Anindo Chatterjee, Shubhankar Banerjee, Pt. Samir Chatterjee, and many others.
Music-making is certainly the ultimate goal of everyone, but the surest and quickest way to achieve that is to learn through diligent and disciplined practice until the effortless ability to 'make-music' comes naturally. Other artists like Ustad Zakir Hussain have the incredible talent and ability to experiment with new methods quite successfully, but rest assured, his early training was also often excruciatingly traditional.

Aanaddha

p.s. It goes without saying that whatever open bayan method you choose you should also be practicing to play the closed/mudi form (Ke/Ka/Kat) equally and with as much clarity and efficiency.

_________________________________

TRKTDHA
Re:Bayan Finger Sequence May 31, 2004 05:01 a.m.


Dear Aanaddha and Gabriel,

I think there is slightly more thought that went into Bayan finger usage than merely musical satisfaction or convenience. One can definitely argue the fact that satisfaction is the key; I would not disagree with that at all. But gharana lineage definitely passed more thoughts than musical satisfaction or convenience only, though one may play solely for the satisfaction and does not have to follow any fixed order.

My Guru during my early days, purely instructed me to use middle or index finger while playing particular bol, but gradually expanded his thought which I am trying to summarize.

Using middle fingers or index fingers in Bayan is dictated by threee facts:

A. Khula or Bandh Bol (open or closed Bol ?? in English)

Player must understand through �Padhant� the �laya� of the bol and decide if its Khula or Bandh bol. This comes only through the recitation or bols or �Padhant�
under guidance of the guru / ustaad.

For example, in madhyalaya teental

�Dha Dhin Dhin Dha�.�

The first Dha is closed Dha and the player should use index finger on bayan. Similarly in Dadra, �Dha Dhi Na Dha Tu Na� only first Dha is closed, so index finger only on first Dha, rest with middle fingers.

However, in vilambit teentaal, �Dha Dhin Tite Dhin Dhin Dha....�

The first Dha is open, as such middle fingers to be used, subsequent Dhin is also open so middle fingers again subsequent two Dhins� are played with middle finger as well.

B. Gamak Anga (?? in English)

If there is Gamak involved in the bol, ideally, index finger should be used. Example : Dhage DhinNa Ghina � First Dha is played with middle fingers, Ge with index, Dhina with middle Ghina with index.

C. Convenience: while composing the bol, one has to consider the convenience and consider what speed the bols are to be played.

An example would be the Delhi Gat Kayada
� Dha Tirekita Tak Dha Dha Tirakita .....�
Since this is played fast, first and second Dha is played with middle fingers and third Dha is with index. In case of Farrukhabad Peshkaar � Dhi Kr Dhi Na Dha Dhi Na�.� first two Dhi are middle fingers, Dha has Gamak Anga so index is used.

I hope this does make sense, but the fact remains, to follow the regimen one has to follow it in entirety and not be selective, else, it won�t work. I wish someone from Benares would able to suggest some important reasons as the gharana pays a lot of emphasis on Bayan Bols.

Regards,
TRKTDha

aanaddha
Re:Bayan Finger Sequence May 31, 2004 09:09 a.m.


TRKTDHA,
First of all I want to thank you for your very good patience in regard to our response. Generally I assume, for the sake of beginner's who are reading, that we are mostly beginners or novices. You are obviously not a beginner or a novice.
I can see your Guru's logic in regard to the fingering for vilambit teental and the peshkar, although I must admit, in my very limited experience, I've never heard the bols explained in this manner:

"For example, in madhyalaya teental
�Dha Dhin Dhin Dha�.�
The first Dha is closed Dha"

What is meant by a "closed Dha"?
Is that a Dha without Gamak anga??

Please explain further, as this is very interesting and I would very much like to hear a more detailed description from you or from anyone else who is familiar with this method.
May I inquire your excellent Guru's name?

Sincerely,
Aanaddha

__________________________

Chas
Re:Bayan Finger Sequence May 31, 2004 10:34 p.m.



TRKTDHA (May 31, 2004 05:01 a.m.):
B. Gamak Anga (?? in English)

If there is Gamak involved in the bol, ideally, index finger should be used. Example : Dhage DhinNa Ghina � First Dha is played with middle fingers, Ge with index, Dhina with middle Ghina with index.



TRKTDHA, my experience and playing style matches what you wrote in your post (not just the part in qotes). I wanted to mention for the heck of it that this is the type of passage which, for the sake of expirimentation and practice, I will occasionally try to play backwards. I was partially inspired to attempt this type of thing after my teacher gave me a kaida in which the second line (leading to khali) goes:
DheTeDheTe DhaDhe TeDha GheNa DhaGhe Tina Kena
The first part, "DtDtDhaDt" was at first hard for me to play since my hands wanted to play what you call an open Dha after DtDt, But since I wanted to play open Dhet right afterwards my hands would get muddled. Now I play closed Dha after DtDt and it works (and sounds) much nicer. But when I first got it I would also experiment with playing the whole kaida using backwards baya fingering; it's very hard, but I figured it couldn't hurt. Still, it's certainly not the kind of thing I would prescribe to a beginner who needs to get the basics down.

Anyway...I figure that in the end, everyone's path is their own, but I definitely believe that if your teacher says "play it like this," then for goodness sake play it like THAT because every word of advice on technique from your teacher is a jewel in my opinion, no matter who he or she is. If you admire their technique then doing what they do is a good recipe for success. That, and of course, riazz. I suppose I have a somewhat unconventional approach to study and practice, but it seems to be working for me and so I'm going to stick to that.

For what it's worth, here's an original kaida that seems to be good for working on baya technique. It can be played in triplets in Ektaal or dadra, or played as duple in nine beats.

Dha trkt DhaGheNa DhaGheDhi NaGheNa GheDhaGhe NaDhaGhe
Dha trkt DhaGheNa DhaGheDha GheDhaTi DhaGheTin NaKeNa
(Khali)

I'll leave it to you folks to come up with your own variations.

p.s. Anaadha, I believe that what TRKTDHA is referring to when he says "closed dha", or closed dhet or anything like that, is Dha played with the index finger "ghe" sound rather than ghe played with the middle/ring finger. Therefore, a bayan stroking pattern that went "index/middle/index" would be "close/open/close."

TRKTDHA
Re:Bayan Finger Sequence Jun 01, 2004 03:56 a.m.


Dear Aanaddha,

Its unfortunate that tabla skills can not be passed on through a written document, video or an audio tape but only through the tutoring under the guidance of a teacher who himself learned under a Gharana lineage. Having been in contact with my teacher for over a decade, I am amazed to find the subtle science and the technical aspect that is involved in tabla playing, which would never get recorded in form of a book or any other medium. I am sure others have the similar experience.

I remember an old saying of Pandit Kishen Maharaj � Pani Pije Chaan Ke Aur Guru Kije Jaan Ke � I am not sure if you speak Hindi but the saying emphasizes on the importance of teacher.

To answer your question about closed (=Bund) Dha, its non resonating Dha, which is short. Its hard for me to explain the sound, but I guess it�s the only way to explain. Often commonly used term are �Khula and Band Bol� Normaly, Khula and Band Bol may or may not use Gamak Anga and it would depend on the particular composition. I think in �Benares Chand� the difference in Khula and Band Bol, specially Dha becomes to obvious.

In fact my teacher has developed a unique style of script to emphasize whether middle fingers or index fingers are to be used on bayan (for Khula and Bund Bol), I am unable to post it on the web due to obvious reasons.
Name of My Guru is Shri K. Dattatraya, who was a student of late Ustaad Amir Hussain Khan, and later Khan Sahab passed him on to his senior most disciple Babasaheb Mirajkar of Dharwad/ Gadag.
Regards,
TRKTDha
PS: I am a novice �player� as well, though exposed to tabla during my long stay in Lucknow and Benares, but picked it up as a hobby only very late in life.

aanaddha
Re:Bayan Finger Sequence Jun 01, 2004 05:00 p.m.


TRKTDHA, CHAS,
I'm still curious about the use of the ring finger - that the stroke couldn't otherwise be played "closed" with simply the middle finger or the index finger only? The reasoning for my Guru's instruction for bayan strokes being alternating index or middle finger appear to me to be that the application of a two-finger stroke is not nearly as accurate (or as strong) as one. This would not rule out the ability to play both khula or bundh with either finger - unless perhaps the ring finger is struck subtly out of sync with the middle finger to dampen the sustain and thus make it sound like a "closed" dha or dhet??
In addition, own reasoning for using single/alternating strokes would be, say for exanple with a tihai, where there are an odd number of left-hand strokes in the theme (or an even number plus the addition of the sam it becomes necessary to repeat or double a finger a stroke twice in the tihai which to me is clumsy and awkward sounding? Does this make sense to you or anyone else? (For example, how would you repeat the phrase "ghenadhage" or any bol(s) with three baya strokes in quick succession?)
In the meantime I will be looking through my video collection carefully at various methods being performed and I will let you know what I discover.

Sincerely,
Aanaddha

TRKTDHA
Re:Bayan Finger Sequence Jun 03, 2004 05:22 a.m.


Aanaddha ,
Nomenclature of table strokes has never been uniform and varied from one Gharana to other. What I refer to �closed Dha� should not be equated to Dhit or Dhet.

Closed Dha (I don�t know if Bandh Dha in Hindi translates to Closed dha and expresses same sense in English), is index finger has slightly longer contact period to dampen the resonance also the weight of the bottom of the palm is on the bayan (not to be equated with Gamak) this creates a a short non resonating Dha Sound. The ring finger is used only with middle finger, not for dampening the sound. Similarly, for open Dha, weight of the palm on bayan is less to allow resonance and the contact between middle fingers and bayan is shorter. Good example of open dha (although not quite same in the true sense) is when tabla player ends the last tihai with Dha but in this case he dos not touch the bayan with palm. Play this Mohra which contains open Dha only till it goes to Teentaal (very light or no touch of bottom of palm on Bayan)

(KrDha Tita Dha ) x2
KrDha Tita Dha �..

On the last Dha, if one is trying to end the composition, one may choose not to touch bayan with bottom of plam on last Dha, to create effect.


Regards,
TRKTDha

TRKTDHA
Re:Bayan Finger Sequence Jun 03, 2004 05:26 a.m.


PS: You are right when you say playing Dha with two out of sync finger does not make sence.
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