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Lesson 15: Eight Mātrās Cycles in Drut Lay: Prakar 1


Everything up to this point was the ground fundamentals on kirtan and bhajan accompaniment via mridanga and kartals. You learned how to play nine very important thekas, along with prakars associated with them. Whats next?


Throughout the course, weve played everything in a decent tempo, or speed. It is known as madhya lay, or medium tempo. However, kirtans almost always speed up either gradually, or they jump from single time to double time. We must play these rhythmic cycles in drut lay, or fast tempo. As the name implies, one would think that you would play the cycles from Lessons 6 through 14 and play them fast. This is not the case, however.


If one were to play kaherva tāla faster and faster, one would easily get fatigued, because you will either sacrifice your comfort by trying to maintain a fast speed without messing up, or you sacrifice the rhythm because you are feeling pain.


- Therefore, one of the properties of drut lay is that it loses bols or changes bols, in order to allow ease of playing. The key to being able to play drut tālas without faltering or getting excessively carried away with the rhythm is to play these tālas slowly, at first. Playing these tālas slowly will develop clarity in the bols. This way, when a tāla is being played under drut lay, then it can sound nice and crisp.


This lesson examines drut lay of eight mātrā cycles. Lesson 16 will look at six mātrā cycles.


Specifically, the only drut cycles we will look at is kaherva tāla. Drut tintāl is almost never used in kirtans or bhajans. Prabhupada tāla is never played in drut laya. Bhajani tāla at a fast speed will yield cyclic forms based on drut kaherva.




In doing the previous madhya lay rhythms, the focus was primarily on getting the rhythmic cycle correct. However, with drut lay cycles, it is important to not only get timing and accuracy, but also to play in correct tempo. These tālas are not necessarily meant to be played in madhya lay. The best approach is to learn how to play them in madhya lay first, then speed it up slowly. That is the best approach to use for this and the next lesson. The goal is to be able to play these rhythm fast right away at any given time.

























This is the fast version of the kaherva tāla theka we discussed in lesson 8. This is used most commonly in kirtans, at the first instance of a change in tempo. Compare the bols used for drut kaherva tāla and the bols used for kaherva tāla theka. Clearly, there is a lot of difference in technique and sound.


AUDIO CLIP 15: Drut Kaherva Tāla Prakār 1


The next few prakars in this series are presented in 15 A, 15 B, and 15 C. Just as diverse as kaherva tāl was, its drut lay forms will be just as diverse too.


15 A:

Prakar 2

15 B:

Prakars 3 and 4

15 C:

Prakars 5 and 6



UPDATED: December 20, 2010