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GLOSSARY OF TERMS

by David Courtney working tools


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary.


 

- A -

abhiman - Arrogance, considered the major obstacle in ones learning process.
abhinandan tal - An obscure tal of 20 beats.
abhiram tal - An obscure tal of 24 beats.
abhog - A quaternary theme found in dhrupad and other older vocal forms.
achala swar - A note which is immutably fixed (i.e., Sa and Pa).
ada pech tal - An obscure tal of nine beats.
adachartal - See adachautal.
adachautal - A common 14 beat tal.
addha tal - A tal of 16 beats.
adi lay - In a four unit time, one plays six units per beat. (i.e., 3/4 time, 1 1/2 time, or tisra jati).
adi tal - A south Indian tal of eight beats, similar to both tintal and kaherava.
ajay tal - An unusual tal of 6 3/4 beats.
Ajrada - A village near Meerat.
ajrada baj - A style of playing originating from Ajrada.
akal - (Lit. "without time") a lucknowi gat which ends before the sam.
aksharkal - (Lit. "unit of time required to utter one short letter of the alphabet".) In ancient times this implied a fundamental unit of measuring rhythm. (4 aksharkal = 1 matra)
alap - A slow rhythmless elaboration upon the rag used by vocalists and instrumentalists.
Amir Khusru - Musician during time of Ala-u-Din Khilji.
anagat (grah) - 1) The process of ending a composition before the sam. 2) An archaic term which means to start the composition before the sam (das pran).
anagat tihai - A tihai which ends before the sam.
andolan - (Lit. "swinging"). An ornament of song or melodic instrument which may be described as a slow shake.
ang - (lit. limb, or section) A measure, or vibhag.
angushtana -A style of tukada or rela which concentrates on the fingers.
anima tal - An obscure tal of 13 beats.
ank tal - A rare tal of nine matras.
antarakrida tal - An obscure tal of seven matras.
antara - A secondary theme in vocal styles.
anudrut - 1) Ultra-high speed (see ati-drut). 2) An archaic unit of time equal to two chaturbhag.
anuvadi - A note of the rag which is neither emphasized or deemphasized.
apsara - A celestial nymph.
ara chartal - See adachautal.
ara choutal - See adachautal.
ardhya tal - An obscure tal of 27 beats.
arjun tal - An obscure pakhawaj tal of 20 beats.
aroh - 1) The ascending structure of the rag. 2) The first half of a lom-vilom gat.
arohana - Ascending structure of rag.
arti - A type of worship which is performed by waving a burning lamp in a circular fashion around the idol.
arya tal - An obscure tal of 16 beats.
aryun tal - An obscure pakhawaj tal of 24 beats.
ashadi jog - Guru purnima.
ashtamangal tal - An obscure pakhawaj tal variously described as being 11 or 22 beats.
ashvini tal - An unusual tal of 11 1/2 beats.
ata - Whole wheat flour which is use as a temporary application to the left side of the pakhawaj.
at tal - An obscure pakhawaj tal variously described as being of 10, 12, 14, 18, 22, and 24 beats.
ath - See at tal.
ati drut - Ultra-fast tempo.
ati vilambit - Ultra slow tempo.
atit (grah) - The process of ending a composition after the sam.
atit tihai - A tihai which ends after the sam.
audhav jati - A rag composed of five notes.
avanaddh - A membranous percussive instrument (e.g., tabla, dholak, mridang, etc.)
avap - (Archaic) A style of timekeeping that does not make sound (marg nishabd kriya).
avaroh - 1) The descending structure of a rag. 2) The second half of a lom-vilom gat.
avarohana - Descending structure of rag.
avartan - A cycle of the tal.
avrutti - See avartan.
azan -The Islamic call to prayer.


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- B -

baaj - See baj.
baaz - See baj.
badhi - The tasma.
bada - (Lit. "large"). The slow section of a kheyal.
badi savari tal - An obscure tal of 16 beats.
baj - A style of playing (i.e., dilli baj, ajrada baj, etc.).
bal - A palta or permutation of rela or kaida.
banarasi baj - A style of playing originating in Benares, often considered synonymous to purbi baj.
band - (Lit. "closed".) Non-resonant strokes such as Te, Ka, Kat, Tak, etc.
bandish - A composition or fixed musical piece.
bansi - Corruption of bansuri.
bansuri - A bamboo flute.
bant - Another name for kaida.
banti - Another name for kaida.
barabar lay - 1) Thah or single time. 2)Playing in chaturstra jati (i.e., 1/2 time, single time, double time, etc.).
basant tal - An obscure tal of nine or 18 beats.
basant shikhir tal - An obscure tal of 26 beats.
bastani - In the old days this was a sling in which tabla was placed. In this manner the tabla could be played while walking or standing.
bayan - The large metal left hand drum.
bedum tihai - A tihai in which the three sections are not separated by a pause.
Benares - A city in North India. A gharana from that city.
Bengal - A state in northeastern India.
bhdaua daadra tal - An obscure tal of six beats.
bhagavan tal - An obscure tal of 17 beats.
bhagn tal - An obscure tal of 23 beats.
bhai - Brother. See guru bhai.
bhairav tal - An obscure pakhawaj tal of 22 beats.
bhajan - A Hindu religious song.
bhakti - Devotion to god.
bhanumati tal - An obscure pakhawaj tal of 11 beats.
bharan - A filler. Something of little theoretical importance used to fill up a certain number of beats.
bharatnatyam - A classical dance form of South India.
bhargavi tal - An obscure tal of 22 beats.
bhari - (Lit. "full") 1) Clapped, see tali. 2) A section which is characterized by open strokes.
Bhatkhande - See Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande.
bhatkhande paddhati - The theoretical and notational system of Bhatkhande.
bhrang tal - An obscure tal of 15 beats.
bhrangi tal - An obscure tal of 16 beats.
bhumika - An opening phrase for tabla solos used in the purbi styles.
biadi lay - Playing in misra jati (i.e., 13/4 times, 31/2 times, or seven times.) See also paune duggan.
bilahairi tal - An unusual tal of 9 1/4 beats.
bin - 1) A vina, specifically Rudra vina. 2) (Incorrectly) A snake charmers instrument.
biradari - (Lit. "brotherhood") The relationship that exists between musicians of the same gharana.
bol - The mnemonic syllabi of tabla.
bol paran - A type of composition whose syllabi are actually words.
Brahma - The supreme creator (God).
brahma tal - An obscure tal either of 14 or 28 beats.
brahmayog tal - An obscure tal of 15 or 18 beats.
brihaddeshi - An ancient musical text written by Matang.


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- C -

cabas - A simple instrument made from beads and coconut which is used in film and folk music.
cakkardar - See chakradar.
calan - See chalan.
capaknewala - See chapaknewala.
Carnatic sangeet - The south Indian system of music.
caugun - See chaugun.
chachar tal - See dipchandi.
chakra tal - An obscure tal variously described as five or 30 beats.
chakradar - A tihai in which each phrase is a tihai in itself.
chala - See chalan.
chalan - Some consider this to be similar to peshkar while some consider it to be similar to laggi or ladi. There is not a broadly accepted definition.
champak tal - See adachautal.
chanchar - See dipchandi.
chand - A theme and variation based upon unusual syncopations.
chandra tal - An obscure tal of 18 beats.
chandrachartal - See chandrachautal.
chandrachautal - An obscure tal of 13 beats.
chandrakala tal - An obscure tal of 15 beats.
chandrakrida tal - An obscure tal of nine beats.
chandramani tal - An obscure tal of 11 beats.
chang tal - An obscure eight beat tal.
chant - See chat.
chanti - See chat.
chapaka tal - An obscure eight beat tal.
chapaknewala - A type of Dha characterized by a strong "Tak" sound.
charbag - A type of gat or paran revolving around a particular bol played four times.
chartal - See chautal.
chartal ki sawari - A rare tal of 11 beats.
chart - See chat
chat - The outer section of the tabla skin.
chat tal - An obscure tal of 12 beats.
chati - See chat.
chatrustal - An obscure tal of 10 beats.
chatur tal - An obscure tal of 15 beats.
chaturbhag - An archaic unit of time equal to two kalas.
chaturput tal - An obscure tal of nine beats.
chaturstra jati - Any rhythm composed of 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc. beats.
chaugun - A layakari of 4:1. (i.e., quadruple time.)
chauhai - Similar to tihai except there is a repetition of the phrase four times instead of three.
chaupalli - 1) The same as tipalli except with four sections. 2) A composition revolving around a quadruple repetition of a single bol (e.g.,. . . . . . .).
chautal - An old 12 beat pakhawaj tal.
chegun - (Lit. "six-times") Six strokes per beat.
chela - A disciple, or student.
chikari - The drone strings on the sides of sitar, sarod and a few other instruments.
chilla - 40 days of reclusion and austerities.
chinh - Notational elements.
chitra tal - An obscure tal variously described as two or 15 beats.
chota kheyal - A fast vocal style.
choti savari tal - Considered by most to be synonymous to pancham savari.
chougun - see chaugun.
chudamani tal - An obscure tal considered by some to be 17 beats and 32 beats by others.
chutta - The cushioned rings which support the tabla.
cilla - See chilla.


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- D -

da - A tabla bol of pakhawaj origin.
da - A tabla bol.
dadra - A semiclassical style of singing
dadra tal - A common six beat tal used in light and semiclassical music.
dagga - The large metal left hand drum.
dakshaman tal - An obscure tal of 21 beats.
dam - (Lit. "Breath"). A pause, specifically the two pauses which separate the three sections of a tihai.
damdar tihai - A tihai in which each section is separated by a pause.
damodar tal - An obscure tal of nine beats.
damaru - A small hour-glass shaped drum traditionally ascribed to Shiva.
damaru yati - An ancient form where the tempo begins very fast, decreases to slow, then increased towards the end. So called because its graphic representation resembles a damaru.
darbar - Royal court.
darbari kanada - A common evening rag.
das pran - (Archaic, Lit. "ten breaths") The ten characteristics of tal.
das syandan tal - An obscure tal of 10 beats.
dayan - The small wooden right hand drum.
dedh - Playing 3 strokes over two beats (i.e., 1 1/2 times)
Delhi - See Dilli.
deshi - Pertaining to the world, land, country, or, people.
deshi nishabd kriya - An ancient concept regarding timekeeping with the hands, performed so that sound was not produced. This was specifically used in the deshi sangeet.
deshi sashabd kriya - An ancient concept regarding timekeeping with the hands, performed so that sound was produced (i.e., snapping of fingers, clapping of hands, etc.). This was specifically used in the deshi sangeet. deshi tal - A tal which is of the ordinary material world, opposite of marg tal.
devadhwani tal - An obscure tal of 17 beats.
devagandhar tal - An obscure tal of 23 beats.
devaguna tal - An obscure tal of 12 beats.
dha - A fundamental bol of both tabla and pakhawaj.
dha - An uncommon bol.
dhadhi - A Muslim community of hereditary musicians, generally considered to be low caste.
dhaivat - The sixth note of the scale (Dha).
dhamar tal - See dhammar tal.
dhammar - An old style of singing, similar to dhrupad, generally associated with the spring season.
dhammar punjabi tal - An obscure tal of 14 beats.
dhammar tal - A 14 matra pakhawaj tal.
dhammari tal - An obscure tal of 11 1/2 beats.
dhi or - A fundamental bol.
dhin - A fundamental bol.
dholak - A crude folk drum characterized by a cylindrical wooden shell covered with skin on both sides.
dholak masala - A paste applied to inner surface of left hand drum skin on many folk drums.
dholki - A small folk drum popular in Maharashtra.
dhrupad - A classical style of music, once popular but today rare.
dhruva - (Archaic) A type of timekeeping in marg sashabd kriya characterized by the snapping of fingers.
dhruva tal - An obscure tal variously considered 11, 14, 21, 23, or 29 beats.
dhumali tal - A variation of kaherava tal.
dhun - 1) A light style of instrumental solo. 2) A musical religious chant.
di or - A tabla bol of pakhawaj origin.
Dilli - Delhi, the present capitol of India.
dilli baj - The style of playing tabla, originally from Delhi, characterized by extensive use of the middle finger and strokes on the rim of the tabla.
dilruba - A bowed instrument with frets like a sitar.
din - A bol of tabla and pakhawaj.
dipak - A rag that is supposed to produce fire when sung correctly.
dipchandi tal - A common 14 beat tal.
dobahar tal - An obscure tal of 13 beats.
dohatthu - A composition where both hands are played on the same drum.
dom - A low-caste community of musicians.
dotar - 1) A simple two-stringed instrument played in folk music. 2) An instrument similar to rabab played in Bengal.
drut - 1) Fast tempo. 2) An archaic unit of time equal to two anudrut.
duff - A large tambourine used in folk music.
dugga - See dagga.
dugun - A layakari of 2:1 (i.e., double time).
dupalli - A type of gat where a phrase repeats twice.
durbal - A note of the rag which is weak or subdued.
dval - The tasma of the tabla.


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- E -

ekaki vadan - Instrumental solo.
ekgun - A layakari of 1:1 (i.e., single time)
ekhatthi - See ekhatthu.
ekhatthu - A composition which can be played with a single hand.
ektal - A common tal of 12 beats, however, non-standard versions may be found for 3, 4, 5, 7, and even 9 beats.
ektali - See iktali.
ektar - A simple one-stringed folk instrument.
esraj - A bowed instrument related to the sarangi.


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- F -

fard - A purbi composition characterized by an absence of khali/bhari structure.
farmaish - Encore. A special request from the audience.
farmaishi paran - Any paran which is used for a farmaish (encore). This term really means nothing. It may be applied to virtually any paran, however, it will more commonly be applied to ekhatthu (ekhatthi), lom-vilom or top compositions.
farodast tal - An old and obscure tal of seven or 14 beats.
Farukhabad - 1) A town in northern Indian. 2) The gharana from this town.
filmi - 1) Pertaining to the film or movie industry. 2) A style of popular music.
fuljhadi - (Lit. a type of fireworks, a "fountain".) A type of gat characterized by sudden changes in the overall speed.


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- G -

gab - The syahi.
gajajhampa tal - An obscure tal of 15 beats.
gajalila tal - A rare tal variously described as 17 or 18 beats.
gajara - (Lit. a small string of flowers in a women's hair.) The braid of the pudi.
gajarisch tal - An obscure tal of 20 beats.
ganda bandhan - The ceremonial tying of thread around a new disciple's wrist signifying the beginning of ones discipleship.
gandhara - The third note of the scale (Ga).
gandharva - The demigods who, according to mythology, were the original possessors of the celestial art of classical music.
gandharva desh - Abode of the celestial beings.
gandharva veda - The science of music.
Ganesh - The elephant headed God who removes obstacles, often considered the god associated with percussion.
ganesh tal - An obscure tal of either 18, 20 or 21 beats, formerly played on pakhawaj.
garugi panchak tal - An obscure tal of 15 beats.
garugi tal - An obscure tal of nine beats.
gat - 1) A compositional type common in the purbi style of playing. 2) The theme of an instrumental performance.
gat kaida - A gat which is performed to a strict kaida format.
gatta - The wooden dowels in the lacing.
gazal - A style of poetic recitation, today a style of song.
ge - A bol for the left hand.
geet - A song.
gha - A basic bol of the left hand.
ghan - A non-membranous percussion instrument (e.g., bells, manjira, jal tarang, etc.)
gharana - (Lit. "house") A particular subtradition or "school"
gharanedar - A representative of a particular gharana or school.
ghat tal - An obscure tal of eight beats.
ghatam - A large earthenware vessel which is played in south Indian performances.
ghazal - see gazal.
ghe - A bol for the left hand.
ghi or - A bol for the left hand.
ghin - A bol for the left hand.
ghungharu - A collection of very small bells worn around the feet of a dancer.
gi or - A bol for the left hand.
gin - A bol for the left hand.
ginti tihai - A tihai commonly found in kathak, based upon so many small iterations that numbers are used instead of bols.
girali - See chutta.
git - See geet.
gittak - See gatta.
gopuchcha yati - (Lit. "a cow's tail") An ancient variety of rhythmic variation. It begins fast and gradually decreases tempo.
gotuvadhyam - An instrument similar to a Saraswati vina except that it has no frets. It is played with a slide like a Hawaiian guitar.
grah - 1) (ancient) The starting point of the composition. There are four types: sam, visham, atit, and anagat. 2) (modern) The method of handling sam.
grah tal - An obscure tal of nine beats.
grahagrah tal - An obscure tal of 20 beats.
gudri - The kundal.
Gujarat - A state in northwest India.
gun - Times (i.e., ekgun=single time, dugun=double time, tigun=triple time, etc.)
guru - 1) A teacher. 2) An archaic unit of time equal to two laghu.
guru bhai - A fellow disciple under the teacher.
guru purnima - A day set aside to honor the guru.
guru-shishya-parampara - The lineage of teacher to disciple.


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- H -

hamsalol tal - An obscure tal of five beats.
hanuman tal - An obscure tal of 22 beats.
harmonium - A small hand-pumped reed-organ.
hathodi - The small hammer used to tune the tabla.
hemavati tal - An obscure tal of 21 beats.
himangshu tal - An obscure tal of 15 beats.
hinch - A popular four beat folk tal of Gujarat.
hindustani sangeet - North Indian classical music.


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- I -

ikawai tal - An obscure tal of 16 beats.
iktali - An obscure tal of 11 beats.
indra tal - An obscure tal of 15 beats.
indralin tal - An obscure pakhawaj tal of 11 beats.
indranil tal - An obscure pakhawaj tal of 17 beats.
indri - The cloth and fiber ring cushions upon which the tabla rests.
indwi - See indri.


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- J -

jagadamba tal - An obscure 19 beat tal.
jagajhampa tal - An obscure 15 beat tal.
jagpal tal - An obscure 11 beat tal.
jaltarang - A set of bowls tuned by adding or removing water, hit with small wooden sticks.
jarab - See zarab.
jat tal - An obscure tal, variously considered to be 8, 12, or 16 beats.
jat dipchandi - See dipchandi.
jati - 1) A class of rhythm. 2) The number of notes present in a rag. 3) An ancient modal form of singing.
jayamangal tal - An obscure tal which some consider 13 beats while others consider 14 beats.
jhala - The fast rhythmic style of instrumental music characterized by a constant plucking of drone strings (chikari).
jhampa tal - An obscure tal variously considered to be 6, 7, 8, 10, or 12 beats.
jhampak tal - An obscure 11 beat tal.
jhaptal - A common tal of 10 beats.
jhoomra - See jhumra.
jhumra tal - A tal of 14 beats, used primarily in kheyal.
jod - A style of instrumental music characterized by rhythm but no rhythmic cycle.
jor - An instrumental equivalent of nomtom.
joralap - See jor.
jori - The tabla pair.
jugalbandhi - Duet between two similar instruments or vocalists.


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- K -

ka - A tabla bol of the left hand.
kaal - See kal.
Kabir - A great saint who composed many bhajans.
kaherava tal - A common eight-beat tal.
kaida - A highly formalized approach to a tabla solo.
kaida peshkar - A peshkar whose variations adhere strictly to the kaida format.
kaida rela - A rela performed to a strict kaida format.
kaidafarodast tal - An obscure tal in 19 beats.
kakapad - An archaic unit of time equal to four laghu.
kal - 1) The entire concept of time and musical timing. 2) One of the 10 vital airs of tal (Das Pran), which deals with absolute time.
kala - 1) Art. 2) An archaic unit of time roughly comparable to a minute.
kalanidhi tal - An obscure tal in 25 beats.
kalavati tal - An unusual tal of 9 1/2 beats.
kamali paran - A paran which is constructed in a highly unusual yet fascinating manner.
kan - See kshan.
kandarp tal - A rare tal of 24 beats.
kanjira - A small south Indian tambourine.
Kannada - A language of southern India.
kapalbhrat tal - A very rare tal of 10 beats.
karalmanch tal - An old and obscure tal of five or 10 beats.
karnatic sangeet - See carnatic sangeet.
kartal - Wooden frames in which small jingles are placed. A simple clapper.
kashth - (Lit. "wood") An archaic unit of time = to eight lav.
kashttarang - A wooden xylophone, or marimba.
kat - A tabla bol.
kathak - A north Indian style of classical dance.
kathakali - A dance form of the south Indian state of Kerala.
kaushik tal - A rare tal in 18 beats.
kawali - A style of Islamic devotional song.
kawali tal - A tal of eight beats similar to kaherava.
kdan or - A powerful bol of both pakhawaj and tabla.
ke - A tabla bol of the left hand.
keherava - See kaherava.
kerva tal - See kaherava, a common eight beat tal.
khali - (Lit. "empty") Waved, opposite of bhari or tali.
khalifa - The oldest and most respected representative of a gharana.
khamsa tal - A rare tal in eight beats.
khand jati - Any rhythm based upon 2 1/2, 5, 10, etc. beats.
khandapurna tal - A rare tal in 16 beats.
khayal - See kheyal.
khemta tal - A fairly common yet amorphous tal variously described as six or 12 beats.
kheyal - The most prominent style of classical vocal today.
kheyal tal - See chang tal.
khol - A folk drum of northeast India.
khula - (Lit. "open") Resonant strokes such as Ga, Thun, etc.
khula baj - (Lit. "open style") A style of tabla playing where the hands do not remain in contact with the drums, characteristic of the lucknowi style.
khuli - See bhari.
khyal - See kheyal.
ki or - A tabla bol of the left hand.
kinar - (Lit. "edge") The chat.
kirtan - A Hindu religious song or recitation.
kisma - A term used by Benares tabla players to indicate a rearangment of the bols of theka (i.e., prakar).
kisme - Plural of kisma.
kokil tal - An obscure seven-beat tal similar to tivra tal.
kokila tal - A obscure pakhawaj tal variously described as seven or 17 beats.
komal - A note which is flattened.
krantan - An ornament of sitar or sarod produced by hammering with the left hand against the fret or fingerboard.
krishna tal - An obscure pakhawaj tal in 20 beats.
kriya - An old and obsolete term describing the manner of keeping time with the hands.
krushya - (Archaic) A style of silent timekeeping (deshi nishabd kriya).
kshan - An archaic unit of time, an instant, a tiny fraction of a second.
kuadi lay - In a four unit time, one plays five units. See also sawai.
kuchipudi - A classical dance form of the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
kumbh tal - An obscure tal in 11 beats.
kundal - The small ring at the bottom side of the tabla used for the lacing.
kuri - The shell of the bayan.
kusumaker tal - An obscure tal in 27 beats.


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- L -

ladi - A type of laggi.
ladi kaida - A kaida created by having a ladi follow a strict kaida format.
laggi - A fast lively style of playing, similar to rela, used in light styles of playing, particularly with bhajans, thumris, gazal, etc.
laggi kaida - A laggi constructed upon a strict kaida structure.
laghu - An archaic unit of time equal to two drut.
laghushekhar tal - An obscure tal of five or seven beats.
lahara - A simple, repetitive melody used to accompany tabla solos and kathak dance. Sometimes (incorrectly) referred to as naghma.
lakadi - (Lit. wood) The wooden shell of the tabla.
lakhnowi baj - The style of playing originating from Lucknow.
lakshan geet - A style of singing where the lyrics are a description of the rag.
Lakshmi - Goddess of wealth.
lakshmi tal - An obscure tal of 18 or 36 beats.
lalkila paran - A type of dohatthu which is inspired from nagada.
langalul tal - An obscure tal of 14 beats.
lav - 1) Maidan, sur, the part of the tabla's playing surface between the chat (kinar) and the syahi. 2) An archaic unit unit of time said to be equal to eight kshan.
lavani tal - An eight beat tal.
lay - Tempo.
layakari - 1) The relationship between the performed pulse of a composition and the theoretical beat. 2) Complex divisions of the beat.
lilawati tal - An obscure tal of 13 beats.
lokmata tal - An obscure tal of 19 beats.
lom-vilom - A novel structure which is composed of two parts. The first part being a mirror image of the second. Therefore, the composition is the same whether it is read backwards or forwards.
lucknow - 1) A city in northern India. 2) The gharana from this area.


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- M -

madan tal - An obscure tal of three or 12 beats.
madhumalati tal - An obscure tal of 16 beats.
madhya lay - Medium tempo.
madhya saptak - The middle octave.
madhyam - The fourth note of the scale (Ma).
magadh tal - An obscure tal of 23 beats.
maha tal - A non-standard name for tintal.
mahaadi lay - Double tempo of adi lay. (i.e., tigun)
mahabiadi lay - Double tempo of biadi lay.
mahakuadi lay - Double tempo of kuadi lay.
mahanat tal - An obscure tal of 14 or 16 beats.
Maharashtra - A state in western India
mahasen tal - An obscure tal of 20 beats.
mahavraj tal - An obscure tal variously considered to be of 8, 12 or 20 beats.
mahesh tal - An obscure tal of nine beats.
mahfil - A gathering, usually for poetry or music.
maidan - The main resonating membrane of tabla or pakhawaj. makarandakirti tal - An obscure tal of 17 beats.
malla tal - An obscure tal, some say of 21 beats, others say 13.
mallikatamode tal - An obscure tal of 16 beats.
mandra saptak - The lower octave.
mani tal - An obscure 11 beat tal.
manipuri - A classical dance style from the northeastern state of Manipur.
manjira - Small cymbals.
manmath tal - An obscure tal of 20 beats.
mansij tal - An obscure tal of 21 beats.
manthika tal - An obscure tal of 13 beats.
marg - 1) Describing the music of the gandharvas or celestial beings. 2) An ancient concept regarding the pauses between the beats. There were four types of marg: dhruva marg, chitra marg, vartik marg, and dakshan marg. marg nishabd kriya - An ancient concept regarding timekeeping with the hands, performed so that sound was not produced. This was specifically used in the marg sangeet.
marg sashabd kriya - An ancient concept regarding timekeeping with the hands, performed so that sound was produced (e.g., snapping of fingers, clapping of hands etc.). This was specifically used in the marg sangeet.
marg tal - A tal of the celestial beings, opposite of deshi tal.
marichi tal - An obscure tal of 26 beats.
masitkhani gat - A slow form played by sitar, sarod, santur and other instruments.
Matang - The author of the Brihaddeshi.
mathya tal - An obscure tal variously considered to be 8, 10, or 16 beats.
matra - The beat.
matt gayand tal - An obscure tal of 19 beats.
matt tal - An obscure tal of nine or 18 beats.
mattavijay tal - An obscure tal of 13 beats.
mayur tal - An obscure tal of 17 beats.
meend - A slide.
megh malhar - A rag which is associated with the rainy season.
mira - A great woman saint.
mirasi - A low caste Muslim community of hereditary musicians.
misra jati - Any rhythm based upon 1 3/4, 3 1/2, 7, 14, etc. beats.
mithilesh tal - An obscure tal of 20 beats.
mitti bayan - A bayan made of clay.
mizrab - A pick worn on the finger to play sitar.
mohan tal - An obscure tal of 12 beats.
mohani tal - An obscure tal of three beats.
mohara - A short composition with a tihai which ends on sam.
mridang - Any two headed barrel shaped drum of the pakhawaj variety.
mridanga yati - An ancient rhythmic form which begins slow, becomes fast towards the middle and again becomes slow towards the end.
mridangam - A south Indian mridang.
mukhada - A very small phrase or composition ending on sam. It may or may not have a tihai.
mukheda - See mukhada.
mundi - A term use by Banarasi musicians to indicate khali.
murali - A flute.
murchana - Modulation, or the process of deriving a new mode by shifting the tonic of an existing mode.
murchang - A jew's harp.


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- N -

na - Fundamental tabla bol.
nad siddha - The spiritual mastery over sound to the extent that miracles may be worked.
nadaswaram - A large south Indian oboe used in temples marriages etc.
nagada - A pair of kettle drums played with sticks.
nagada khani rela - A rela which is structured to imitate the sound of a nagada.
nakshatra tal - An obscure tal of 27 beats.
nal - A dholki.
namaskar - A traditional greeting, or show of respect made by bringing the hands together.
namaskari paran - An unusual piece which incorporates a namaskar into the structure, usually into the tihai.
nandi tal - An obscure tal considered by some to be 24 beats and 32 by others.
narayani tal - An unusual tal of 9 3/4 beats.
narada - Great saint in mythology who is said to be responsible for bringing the science of music to mankind.
nat tal - An obscure tal of four beats.
natyashastra - The science of dramatics.
naubat - A traditional group of musicians associated with open air performances at royal courts.
nau-hakka - See nohakka.
nau-ki-tihai - A chakradar.
navaras - The nine primary emotions of the Indian system of aesthetics.
navaratna - Nine jewels or nine learned men of a royal court.
nilakusum tal - An obscure tal of 15 beats.
nilanbuj tal - An obscure tal of 13 beats.
nimish - An archaic unit of time equal to the blink of an eye.
nirdosh tal - An obscure tal of five beats.
nisaru tal - An obscure tal of 10 beats.
nishabd kriya - Timekeeping without making a sound.
nishad - The seventh note of the scale (Ni).
nishkram - (Archaic) A style of silent timekeeping (marg nishabd kriya).
nishoruk tal - An obscure tal of nine beats.
nohakka - A type of tihai in which the bol "dha" comes nine times.
nomtom - A rhythmic style of introduction found in dhrupad and dhammar.
nrtya - Dance.
numtum - See Nomtom.


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- O -

orissi - A style of classical dance from the Eastern state of Orissa.

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- P -

padhat - See padhant.
padhant - The recitation of bols.
padmini - (Archaic) A style of silent timekeeping (deshi nishabd kriya).
pakad - (Lit. "to catch") The characteristic movement of a rag.
pakhawaj - A barrel shaped drum with playing heads on both sides.
pakhawaji - One who plays the pakhawaj.
palla - A section of the tihai that is repeated three times.
palta - A permutation of a kaida.
Paluskar - See Vishnu Digambar Paluskar.
panch savari tal - See pancham savari tal.
pancham - The fifth note of the scale.
pancham savari tal - A rare tal of 15 beats.
pancham tal - An obscure tal of 16 beats.
panchashar tal - An obscure tal of 23 beats.
paran - A class of small compositions derived from pakhawaj tradition.
paran tal - See chautal.
parampara - A lineage, or continuum (e.g., Guru-Shishya-Parampara)
paschami baj - The styles of dilli and ajrada gharanas.
pashto - See pashtu.
pashtu - Some consider this to be mere prakar of rupak while others consider this to be a distinctly separate seven-beat tal.
pashupati tal - An obscure tal of 26 beats.
pat tal - An obscure tal in two beats.
patak - (Archaic) A style of silent timekeeping (deshi nishabd kriya).
patit - (Archaic) A style of silent timekeeping (deshi nishabd kriya).
paune dugan - The division of four beats into seven equal parts.
payal - An ornamental form of ghungharu.
pench - (Lit. "coil" or "screw") 1) A type of palta or variation in a kaida formed by the repetition of the first line three times. 2) Any palta.
peshkar - (Lit. "introduction") An introductory movement similar to kaida but with a different system of permutation.
peshkar kaida - A kaida produced by having a peshkar follow a strict kaida format.
pipilika yati - (Lit. "the movement of an ant") An ancient rhythmic form characterized by sudden and apparently erratic changes in tempo. This derives its name because such sudden changes are characteristic of the movement of an ant.
pital - (Lit. "brass") The brass shell of the bayan.
plut - An archaic unit of time equal to three laghu.
prabhatkiran tal - An obscure tal of 11 beats.
prakar - Different varieties of theka.
praman tal - An obscure tal in 17 beats.
prasad - Food offered to god.
prastar - Permutations upon a kaida or given theme.
pratap shikhar tal - An obscure tal of 13 or 17 beats.
prati tal - An obscure tal of eight beats.
pravesh - (Archaic) A style of silent timekeeping (marg nishabd kriya).
pudi - A tabla head.
Punjab - 1) An area along the border between India and Pakistan. 2) The gharana from this area.
punjabi - (Lit. "from Punjab") A 16 beat tal similar to tintal.
puran tal - An obscure tal of 18 beats.
purna tal - An obscure tal of 19 beats.
purbi - (Lit. "Eastern") The style of playing in the Farukhabad, Lucknow, and Benares traditions.
putra rag - In the ancient rag / ragini system a putra rag is the son-rag.
pungi - 1) A bin or snake charmers instrument. 2) Any reeded noisemaker.


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- Q -

quaida - See kaida.
quada-rela - See kaida-rela
quawwali - See kawali.


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- R -

ra - A tabla bol.
rabab - A stringed instrument similar to sarod.
rababiya - One who plays rabab.
rag - The Indian musical modes.
ragini - A female rag.
ragmala - 1) A style of performance where numerous different rags are joined together. 2) A style of painting based upon the characterization of the various rags.
rajamandit tal - An obscure tal of 14 beats.
rajasingh tal - An obscure tal of 40 beats.
rajnarayan tal - An obscure tal of 28 beats.
rang tal - An obscure tal of 16 beats.
rangoli - 1) The decorative patterns drawn on the ground in front of the doorsteps of traditional Hindu families. 2) The powder used to draw the patterns.
rao - A rela like style that accompanies instrumental jhala.
ras tal - An obscure tal of 13 beats.
rassi - The rope lacing on the dholak.
rati tal - An obscure tal of 12 beats.
ravinandani tal - An obscure tal of 14 beats.
rayabank tal - An obscure tal of 24 beats.
razakhani gat - A fast gat played by instruments such as sitar or sarod.
rela - A very fast manipulation of small structures.
ri - A tabla bol.
riaz - See riyaz.
rishabh - The second note of the scale (Re).
riyaz - Perseverance, practice, dedication.
rudra tal - An obscure tal variously considered to be 11, 15, 16, or 17 beats.
rudra vina - An ancient vina composed of a single stick with two gourd resonators.
rupak tal - A common seven beat tal with uncommon variations of 5, 6, 9 or 11 beats.


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- S -

sadanand tal - A tal of three beats somewhat similar to dadra.
sadhana - Great perseverance.
sagar tal - An obscure tal of 17 beats.
salvanth tal - An obscure tal of 26 matras, formerly played on pakhawaj.
sam - The first beat of a cycle.
sam grah - 1) The process of ending a composition on the sam. 2) An archaic term indicating that the music starts on sam. One of the das pran of tal.
sama yati - A type of yati characterized by uniform tempo from beginning to end.
samadarshan tal - An obscure tal of 24 beats.
samavadi - The second most important note of a rag.
samaveda - One of the Vedas (religious texts) of the Hindus.
samay - The appropriate time for performance of a rag.
samir tal - An obscure tal of seven beats.
sampurna jati - A rag of seven notes.
sampurna tihai - A tihai at the end of a kaida which contains the entire theme.
samyak -(Archaic) A style of timekeeping in marg sashabd kriya, characterized by the striking of the stationary right hand with the left hand.
sanchari - A tertiary theme found in dhrupad and other older vocal forms.
sangati - Accompaniment.
sangavikram tal - An obscure tal of 64 beats.
sangeet or - Music and dance.
sangeet ratnakar - An ancient text on music.
sanghalila tal - An obscure tal of 14 beats.
sankirna jati - A rhythm of 4 1/2, 9, 18, etc. beats.
sankirna tihai - A tihai at the end of a kaida which contains only a portion of the theme.
sannipat - (Archaic) A style of timekeeping in the marg sashabd kriya characterized by the movement of both hands.
santoor - See santur.
santur - An Indian hammered dulcimer.
saptak - The register or octave.
sar tal - An obscure tal ofeight beats.
sarangi - A fretless bowed instrument with numerous strings.
Saraswati - Hindu goddess of music, arts, and learning.
saraswati tal - An obscure tal of 18 beats.
saraswati vina - The common south Indian vina.
sargam - The gamut. (i.e,. Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni).
Saringda - A Folk version of sarangi found in Rajastan.
sarod - A stringed instrument similar to rabab.
saroj tal - An obscure tal of 12 beats.
sarpini - (Archaic) A style of silent timekeeping (deshi nishabd kriya).
sashabd kriya - Timekeeping that makes noise (e.g., clapping of hands).
satgun - Division of matra into seven divisions.
sath - A class of compositions found in the pakhawaj styles.
sath sangat - A style of playing where beat-for-beat the tabla follows the main artist.
savai - see sawai.
savari badi tal - See badi savari.
savari choti tal - Choti savari, see pancham savari.
savari pancham tal - See pancham savari.
savari tal - An obscure tal variously described as 14, 15, 16, 30, or 32 beats. See also badi savari or choti savari.
sawai - 11/4 time. (i.e., playing five strokes in four beats.) See kuadi.
shabad - A religious song of the Sikhs.
shadav - A rag composed six notes.
shadj - The first note of the Indian scale (Sa).
shadtal - An obscure tal of 12 beats.
shagird - A student or disciple.
shai - Vernacular of syahi. See syahi.
shakti - Energy, force, power.
shakti tal - An obscure tal of 10 beats.
shambhu tal - An obscure tal of 16 beats.
shankar tal - An obscure tal of 11 beats.
shankh - A conch shell horn.
shankh tal - An obscure tal of 10 or 13 beats.
shanmukh tal - An obscure tal of 10 beats.
sharabhakrida tal - An obscure tal of 19 beats.
sharabhalila tal - An obscure tal of 21 beats.
Sharangdev - Author of Sangeet Ratnakar.
sharajanma tal - An obscure tal of 15 beats.
shastriya sangeet - Classical music.
shavarni tal - An obscure tal of seven beats.
shehnai - An Indian oboe.
shesh tal - An obscure tal of 19 beats.
shikhir tal - An obscure tal of 17 beats.
shikhiravahan tal - An obscure tal of 12 beats.
shishya - A student, or disciple.
shisham - Indian rosewood (Dalbergia sisu).
shobhadham tal - An obscure tal of 22 beats.
shravannil tal - An obscure tal of 21 beats.
shruti tal - An obscure tal of 22 beats.
shuddha - (Lit. "pure") Basic, primary.
shuddha jati - One of the seven modes which may be derived by simple modulation.
shuddha swar - A natural note.
shultal - See sulfak tal.
sidha - The small wooden right hand drum.
singhnad tal - An obscure tal of 40 beats.
sir tal - An obscure tal of six beats.
sitar - A common long necked fretted instrument.
sitarkhani - A 16 beat tal which is the same as Punjabi theka.
sool tal - See sulfak tal.
soolfak tal - See sulfak tal.
srotagata yati - This yati is said to flow like a stream. It begins slow and gradually increases to a fast conclusion.
sthai - The primary theme of a classical vocal piece.
stuti - (Lit. "prayer, praise of God") See bol paran.
sudarshan tal - An obscure tal of 10 or 20 beats.
sul tal - See sulfak tal.
sulfak tal - An old pakhawaj tal of 10 beats.
sur - 1) A note(See swar.). 2) The pitch of the tabla. 3) The maidan.
surbahar - A bass sitar.
Surdas - A great saint who composed many bhajans.
surmandal - A small harp used to accompany vocalists.
sushir - A musical instrument characterized by blowing air (flute, shehnai, harmonium, etc.)
swar - A musical note.
swarlipi - Musical notation.
swarmalika - A style of singing where the vocalist sings the sargam of the song.
swarup - (Lit. "shape" or "form") See pakad.
syahi - The black application on the heads of the tabla.


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- T -

ta - Fundamental tabla bol of the right hand.
ta - Fundamental tabla bol.
taali - See tali.
tabaliya - A respectful term for a tabla player.
tabalji - A slightly derogatory term for a tabla player.
tabla - 1) The pair of Indian hand drums. 2) The right hand drum of the pair. 3) The Arabic word for any drum.
tabla tarang - A musical instrument composed of numerous wooden tabla tuned to different pitches.
tal - 1) The Indian system of rhythm. 2) A particular rhythmic cycle (e.g., tintal, rupak tal, etc.) 3) Clapping of hands. 4) (Archaic) A style of timekeeping in the marg sashabd kriya characterized by the striking of the stationary left hand with the right hand.
tal-lipi - Percussion notation.
tal paddhati - A theoretical framework of rhythm.
tal-vadhya-kachari - A percussion ensemble.
tali - Clapped.
talim - 1) Education, training. 2) A body of pedagogic material.
tamasha - A street performance.
tamir tal - An obscure tal of 14 beats.
tamrakarni tal - An obscure tal of nine beats.
tan - A run of musical notes (i.e., a melodic lick).
tanpura - A long necked, stringed instrument for providing the drone.
Tansen - A great musician in the court of the Emperor Akbar.
tappa - A Punjabi style of semi-classical singing.
tappa tal - A 16 beat tal.
tar saptak - The higher octave.
tarana - A style of singing, originally of Persian origin, today characterized by meaningless syllables.
tasa or tasha - A small drum which is beaten with sticks.
tasma - The rawhide lacing of the tabla.
tat - 1) A tabla bol. 2) A plucked string instrument (e.g., sitar, sarod, etc.)
tawaif - 1) A female entertainer. 2) A prostitute.
tavil - A large drum used in south Indian temples.
te - A tabla bol.
teental - See tintal.
tesra - See tisra
tevra tal - See tivra tal.
thah - See thanh
thah dun - A term used by Benares musicians to indicate a composition played twice, the second time being twice the speed of the first.
thanh - 1) Vilambit. 2) Single time.
thappi - An accompaniment pattern of pakhawaj similar to prakar.
that - A mode.
theka - 1) The fundamental rhythmic pattern used for timekeeping. 2) A type of theme and variation, similar to peshkar, used by musicians of the Benares gharana.
thu - A tabla bol.
thumri - A semiclassical style of singing.
thumri tal - A 16-beat tal used in the accompaniment of thumri singing.
thun - A tabla bol.
ti - Fundamental tabla bol.
tigun - A layakari of 3:1 (i.e., triple-time.)
tihai - A cadenza composed of three identical sections.
tilwara tal - A 16 beat tal similar to tintal.
timir tal - See tamir tal.
tin - Fundamental tabla bol.
tintal - A very common tal of 16 beats.
tipalli - A type of tihai where each phrase is in a different tempo.
tisra - Third.
tisra jati - Triplets.
tisri tali - Third clap.
tivra tal - An old pakhawaj tal of seven beats.
tiya - See tihai.
toda - A tihai
todi - 1) A that (mode). 2) The major rag in Todi that.
top - (Lit. "cannon") A loud paran which characterizes thunder, battles, or similar moods.
tra - A tabla bol of the right hand.
tripalli - See tipalli.
triputa tal - An obscure tal of 8, 9, 11, or 13 beats.
trital - Tintal, a common 16 beat tal.
triveni tal - An obscure tal of 19 beats.
tryastra jati - Any rhythm composed of 3, 6, 12, etc. beats.
tu - A tabla bol.
tukada - A small composition containing a small body and a tihai, very similar to paran except that the bols do not show a pakhawaj influence.
tukheda - See tukada.
tun - A tabla bol.
turanglila tal - An obscure tal of 10 beats.


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- U -

uday tal - An obscure tal of 12 beats.
udirn tal - An obscure tal of 16 beats.
ukshav tal - A rare tal of 10 beats.
ushakiran tal - A rare tal of 16 beats.
ustad - A learned man, a master.
uthan - A cadenza used commonly in dance and tabla solos. This is a type of mukhada used as an introductory piece.


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- V -

vichitra vina - An instrument similar to rudra vina except that it has no frets. It is played with a slide in a manner similar to a Hawaiian guitar.
vadi - The important note of a rag.
vakra - The usage of notes in an oblique fashion.
varan tal - An obscure tal of eight beats.
varanabhina tal - An obscure tal of eight or 16 beats.
varanamanthika tal - An obscure tal of 20 beats.
vardhan tal - An obscure tal of 19 beats.
vasant shikhir tal - See Basantshikhir tal.
venu - A south Indian flute.
vibhag - The measure or "bar".
vijay tal - An obscure tal of 20 beats.
vikshep - (Archaic) A style of silent timekeeping (marg nishabd kriya).
vikshipt - (Archaic) A style of silent timekeeping (deshi nishabd kriya).
vilambit - Slow tempo.
vimohi tal - An obscure tal of 13 beats.
vina - 1) Any stringed instrument. 2) The saraswati vina of south India.
vinaya - Humility, said to be a prerequisite for discipleship.
virbhadra tal - An obscure tal of 25 beats.
virpanch tal - An obscure tal of 20 beats.
visarjit - (Archaic) A style of silent timekeeping (deshi nishabd kriya).
visham grah - 1) The process of hiding or de-emphasizing the sam. 2) An archaic term referring to the start of the percussion on something other than sam (das pran).
visham tal - An obscure tal of 18 beats.
visham yati - An ancient rhythmic form which is constructed so that the changes in tempo are calculated to avoid the structure of the tal. Therefore, the structure of the tal is consciously hidden.
Vishnu - The preserver (i.e., God).
vishnu digambar paddhati - A notational system developed by Vishnu Digambar Paluskar.
Vishnu Digambar Paluskar - A famous Indian musicologist.
vishnu narayan bhatkhande - A famous Indian musicologist.
vishnu tal - An obscure tal of 17 or 36 beats.
vishva tal - An obscure tal of 13 beats.
vitat - A bowed, string instrument (e.g., violin, dilruba, sarangi, etc.)
vivadi - A note which is not allowed in a rag.


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- W -

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- X -

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- Y -

yati - An obsolete system of patterns of manipulation of lay. See also srotagata yati, mridanga yati, pipilika yati, sama yati, gopuchcha yati, damaru yati, or visham yati.
yati tal - An obsolete tal of six beats.
yatishekhar tal - An obscure tal of 15 beats.


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- Z -

zarab - (Lit. "To strike") The arrangment of vibhags or ang.

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© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 David and Chandrakantha Courtney

For comments, corrections, and suggestions, kindly contact David Courtney at david@chandrakantha.com