Links – background for Tala Exercises

written by admin on April 29, 2013 in Author Post and TalaClass with one Comment

I thought it might be useful to have some more resources listed for getting the concepts of the Indian rhythm system.

It’s best to get the hang of teental / tintal (also referred to as trital) first off.
This is the really common 16 beat cycle used in about three quarters of Hindustani / North Indian music.

So first have a look at the two links I quoted elsewhere already:

Here tintal is explained in a lesson with demonstration of how it is counted

This site is very useful for reference and contains a lot of very practical information


So hopefully you have got the idea by this point that you are marking 16 beats in a cycle with..

clap 2 3 4 clap 2 3 4 (wave) 2 3 4 clap 2 3 4

If you look at the first page of the quick start simple teental activity in TalaClass you can see sixteen coloured lozenges (“dha”, “dhin”, “dhin”,… etc)

These are the sixteen beats of the cycle (the matras)

Subdivisions of these beats are displayed vertically under each matra. So for this first page, the subdivision is the same as the matra so in fact there is no subdivision.

You are just counting at the same speed as the cycle, ie sixteen times… but you are counting to 4 each time.

This is quite easy because the cycle and the counting are totally synchronised.

Once you get to page 5 though, this situation has changed.

There are 2 subdivisions (vertically) for each matra. There must be two numbers counted with equal half division of the matra.

To complicate further, the numbers have an evolving pattern throughout the cycle.

The challenge is to deal with the two issues together so that you learn to deal with two rhythm issues at the same time (like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time!)


This is the class which inspired me to make the app

Here is Pandit Shankar Ghosh, a legendary tabla player and teacher who makes a point of encouraging vocal tala training. (I have heard that Shankarji has been known to say that time spent in vocal practice (tala and recitation) should be as much as or more than time spent hands on with the instrument.)

visit the TablaLab apps on the App Store

TablaLab TalaClass for iPad

Demonstrates key exercises for sharpening rhythm skills. Speaks number divisions (microbeats) within a theka cycle to show different jatis and phrasing ideas. Activities in: teental, rupaktal, ektal, jhaptal. Hundreds of variations on key exercises in an instant. Available on the App Store or try it here first.

TablaLab Riyaz for iPad

Calls out a phrase for you to repeat. Categories of phrases include:

Warm up, ti ri ke te tak ke, dhire dhire, ge re na ge, rela and tihais. A new source of ideas and inspiration for your practice.

Available on the App Store or try it here first.