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Lesson 17: Introduction to Cadences and Cyclic Forms


In the KKSongs Khol Guide, this is the last item that is taught as far as actual khol playing is concerned. The reason why this topic is kept at the end is because we need to look at this unit as a unification of all the talas, as well as the lays, that we have studied. Accompaniment is very dynamic in the respect that cycles of talas usually have a connecting beat inserted at different parts of songs. At climatic points, such cadences or cyclic forms may be needed. Before we dwell more on why it is important, let is look at the form and function of cadences and cycles.




A cadence Form is a connecting phrase that takes a either a part or all of the cycle. They are defined by both matra length and function. Cadence forms are NOT talas!


You can tell if it is a cadence form if you can answer these two questions properly:


1) How long is the cadence form? (If the answer is less than a cycle, then it is already a cadence form. If the answer is the length of the cycle, then move onto number 2).


2) What does this cadence form do in relation to the entire cycle? (Does it start a cycle? Does it end a cycle? Changing speeds or talas?)


A Cyclic Form is a phrase that takes up the whole cycle. They are again defined by function. If the rhythmic form cannot remain independent if looped, then it is highly likely a mukhra. Forms that can remain independent when looped are indeed cyclic in nature. We have already studied three forms of this already. Thekas and prakars are cyclic forms, as they are based on cycles and can remain independent when looped. In Lesson 15 and Lesson 16, each had an example of a set or style of drut lay thekas that requires two cycles to get the desired effect.


The mukhra (literally “face” or “verse”) is a cadence form which either starts before a cycle or ends a cycle. Depending on the mridanga player as well as how well the kartal players, lead singer, or other musicians present are skilled, the mukhra may take up one full cycle.


Lesson 17 will talk about mukhras and cadence forms in eight beats.

Lesson 18 will talk about mukhras and cadence forms in six beats.

Lesson 19 will apply the eight beat mukhras into cycles.

Lesson 20 will apply the six beat mukhras into cycles.



UPDATED: June 11, 2009