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Lesson 11: Eight Mātrā Thekas 3: Bhajani Tāla

 

Before examining the last set of our eight mātrā talas, let’s look at the previous sets to see how we have progressed.

 

Lesson 9: We did Kahervā tala and its prakārs. It was divided 4+4, which tālī on the sam and khālī on mātrā 5.

 

Lesson 10: We did Prabhupāda tala. It was divided 4+2+2, with two tālīs on the sam and mātrā 7, and khālī on mātrā 5.

 

This lesson talks about bhajani tāla. The word “bhajani” comes from the word “bhajana” which means “devotional song.” Bhajani tala is often heard in classical bhajans. Because of its eight beats and its symmetrical nature, some schools of music classify this to be another prakār of Kahervā tāla, while others classify it as own tāla.

 

The theka of bhajani tala is as follows. It is eight mātrās long divided 4+4.

 

X

 

 

 

0

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

dhin

dhin

dhin

ti

ti

ti

 

Notice how this involves half beats here. The unique characteristic of this tāla is that some of the bols are off-beat. This notice that after the “tā” in mātrā 2, there is a “dhin” which starts half-way into the beat. Likewise, the consecutive “dhin” is played half-way into mātrā 3. Because they do NOT start ON beat (or mātrā), they are called OFF-beat.

 

The best way to get practice with this is to break them down into vibhāgs.

 

PART ONE: dhin tādhin – dhin tā

 

 

PART TWO: ti tāti –ti tā

 

 

Here is a continuous loop of this cycle with kartals. Up to this point, you’ve been used to hearing kartals in the typical four beat cycle of “OPEN PAUSE CLOSED CLOSED.” While this is acceptable to use in bhajani tala, another common kartal cycle heard is a two-beat cycle, known to Western musicians as “cut-time.” It is simply “OPEN CLOSED.” Transposing the kartal cycle onto this bhajani tala, it would look like the following diagram. It may seem counterintuitive to use an ON-BEAT cycle on an OFF-BEAT cycle, but it sounds very nice when played.

 

X

 

 

 

0

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

dhin

dhin

dhin

ti

ti

ti

OPEN

CLOSED

OPEN

CLOSED

OPEN

CLOSED

OPEN

CLOSED

 

Let’s get some practice with the cut-time and bhajani tala.

 

 

ACCOMPANIMENT PRACTICE

 

Finally, let’s practice with the common mahāmantra tune in the following clip.

 

 

 

Since this is bhajani tāla, it would be quite natural to accompany a bhajan. This is the well known bhajan, Radhe Jaya Jaya Madhava Dayite.

 

 

 

VIDEOS:

 

http://kksongs.org/images/video_play.png   VIDEO CLIP 11 – 1: DIDACTIC

http://kksongs.org/images/video_play.png   VIDEO CLIP 11 – 2: PRACTICE

 

 

Like other rhythmic cycles, bhajani has countless prakārs. Two are featured on this site.

 

11 A:

Prakār 1

11 B:

Prakār 2

 

UPDATED: October 15, 2017