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Lesson E 4: The Scientific Analysis of Lay

 

Just like Lesson E 2, this lesson used to be taught after the Tisra Jati talas. Just like the Lesson E 2, this was too difficult for students to understand. If you want to understand rhythmic cyles

 

The word for tempo in rhythms is lay (pronounced as it looks. In Bengali pronounced lawy). To understand lay, we can make a theoretical model to make couple of important points in allowing us to rhythms which are either faster or slower than medium tempo.

 

 

This examples uses tintal, the sixteen matra cycle we learned in lesson 7.

 

Think of each concentric circle as lanes on a race track. Assume that all of the competitors began on the line where Matra 1 (sam) is where all of the runners begin. Once the signal goes, each racer runs on their respective circle. Assuming that each runner runs at the same speed, the runner towards the center (red) will complete the lap much faster than the outer (blue). The reason for this is the red circle has a much smaller distance (i.e. smaller circumference) compared to the blue circle (larger circumference).

 

On an interesting side note, this is the reason why racetrack competitions with more than one lane have a certain limit on how many lanes can fit. In addition, such tracks have each lane with their own starting and finishing lines to ensure that the lane closer to the center has the same lap distance as the lane farthest away from the center.

 

Lets take the above sentence and fill it with terms relevant to tala and lay.

 

Think of each concentric circle as lanes on a comparison of tempos (lays) of the tintal of sixteen matras. Assume that all of the cycles shown began on the line where Matra 1 (sam). When one begins to play, each cycle plays at their respective tempo. Assuming that each cycle plays at the same speed, the lay towards the center (red) will complete the cycle much faster than the outer (blue).

 

 

TYPES OF TEMPOS

 

There are seven recognized tempo speeds, however they are categorized into three general tempo speeds. These tempo speeds or lays are called vilambit, madhya, and drut.

 

Vilambit Laya is the slow tempo. This will take more time to finish one cycle. This is the outer ring in blue of this diagram. The tala usually falls in the range of 30 to 80 beats per minute. Since the distance between each matra is greatly increased, more bols are introduced in the cycle. You will not be responsible for vilambit talas on this tutorial, but just to get an appreciation of what a vilambit cycle looks like, here is the vilambit cycle of tintal from the KKSongs Tabla Guide. Youll see how the madhya lay tempo has slowed down in speed and added more bols to prevent off-tempo of silence.

 

X

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

dhā

ge

te

dhin

ge

te

dhin

ge

te

dhā

te

2

 

 

 

5

6

7

8

dhā

ge

te

dhin

ge

te

dhin

ge

te

dhā

te

0

 

 

 

9

10

11

12

dhā

ke

te

tin

ke

te

tin

tin

3

 

 

 

13

14

15

16

ke

ti

ra

ki

ṭa

dhin

ge

te

dhin

ge

te

dhā

kre

dhā

dhā

 

Madhya Laya is the medium tempo. It does not take too much time to finish one cycle. Rates may vary. This is green, yellow rings on the diagram. The range of madhya lay can fall from 90 to roughly 150 or 200 beats per minute. Most of Unit 2 of this guide is in madhya lay.

 

Drut Laya is the fast tempo. This will take less time to finish one cycle. This is the orange and red rings in the diagram. They usually range from 200 to 350 or 400 beats per minute. Since the tempo is faster, playing all of the bols of the theka or prakar in faster tempo may not practical, as there are too many bols in too little time. Therefore, some bols are replaced with more convenient ones, or many bols are taken out to allow ease in playing.

 

You are not responsible for the tintal drut lay, but here it is, just so you get an idea of what it looks like.

 

X

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

0

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

dhā

dhi

dhir

dhā

dhā

dhi

dhir

dhā

dhā

ra

ti

dhi

dhir

dhā

 

PROPERTIES OF DIFFERENT LAYS:

 

Vilambit Laya:

Slow tempo

More time to finish one cycle

Uses more bols to help keep time without loosing place

 

Madhya Laya:

Medium tempo

Time to complete a cycle will vary

Uses a decent number of bols depending on the expertise of the player and the tala

 

Drut Laya:

Fast tempo

Less time to finish one cycle

Uses the least amount of bols, or uses easier way to play the same sounds using different bols, to allow ease in keep rhythm.

 

UPDATED: August 2, 2010

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