TablaLab TalaClass App
App for iPad, released 28 April 2013
Use the Indian tala system to give yourself impeccable timing and rhythmic flexibility!
TalaClass shows you various rhythmic exercises so that you can understand them and use them to sharpen your skills. There are hundreds of exercises within this app.. many variations of simple ideas can be generated very easily.
Any competent musician in the Indian music tradition knows the importance of tala training. The ability to speak the beats and the microbeats of a rhythm cycle will add untold agility to your musicianship whether you are a musician of Indian music or any other genre. Anyone who needs tighter rhythm skills need look no further than the ancient methods demonstrated here.
An expert in the field of Indian rhythm might tell you that the key to success in the art is to use vocal exercises called tala exercises to flex your mental muscles whilst you keep count with your physical muscles. The dynamic skills you need in performance come from using these exercises daily alongside the usual physical practice of your instrument.
For instance, a rhythm player should be able to keep the rhythm cycle whilst considering the next part of the sequence or upcoming improvisation. Also the musician should be able to improvise with this composition whilst remaining locked into the cycle. Ultimately the crux is to train the brain to work with two separate rhythm issues at the same time. One part of the brain has to be committed to keeping the cycle whilst another part is free to play with improvisation.
TalaClass is about nurturing these skills. It will demonstrate some of these exercises and allow you to create your own variations of them too. Exercises are about speaking a number sequence whilst keeping the rhythm cycle with a pattern of claps.
TalaClass features three tracks of audio:
– Realistic instrument sound from extremely good quality samples (using over one minute of 320kbps stereo audio) presenting the theka or North Indian rhythm cycle. This part has pitch control too.
– Clap / Wave indicated in rhythm cycle as audio
– Spoken numbers as microbeats in the cycle with two pre-recorded voices, one male and one female.
..and also features:
– Tempo control
– Quickstart mode and tutorial mode to learn how to use the features
– Example bol phrases instead of the numbers in the microbeats
– Repeat control for each page which can be set to 2,3,4,8 or 99 loops
– The ability to control the muting and accenting of particular numbers within the demonstration and the ability to mute each part of the audio.
– Control over the subdivision of beats.. subdivide away!
The exercises are demonstrated using teental, jhaptal, rupaktal, ektal and a couple of other exercises involve two talas playing against each other. There is also one exercise from the Carnatic tradition.
You can try the app for yourself in Flash here*. Please let me know if you have ideas to refine or improve this app for the next release.
*it’s Flash ..so this demo won’t work on a real iPad.