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Chapter 12: Fourteen Matra Cycles

 

Assuming you have grasped the gist of the seven matra tala, it is then very safe to proceed its respective double, the fourteen matra tala. You cannot understand fourteen matra talas unless you can truly grasp the seven matra tala very well. The fourteen matra cycle, like the seven matra cycle, is starting to decline in popularity. There are many fourteen matra cycles that exist. However, we will only discuss one particular one. The most commonly used fourteen matra cycle is dipachandi tala. Dipachandi tala is found commonly in semi-classical music, mainly Rajasthani and Gujarati folk music. It is seldomly heard in qawwalis.

 

DIPACHANDI TALA

 

Dipachandi tala is very straightforward. Since fourteen is a multiple of seven, it is considered to be a misra jati tala. If you do not remember the classification system, it is advised that you look this up in Chapter 6. The divisions of this tala are 3-4-3-4, with talis on the sum with matras 4 and 11; the khali is found on matra 8. The tala is considered symmetric. The theka is shown as follows.

X

 

 

2

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

dhā

dhin

——

dhā

dhā

dhin

——

0

 

 

3

 

 

 

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

tin

——

dhā

dhā

dhin

——

 

Figure 12.1

AUDIO CLIP: Figure 12.1

 

Pay close attention to the bol structure. The first half of the theka uses more resonant baya bols. In the second half of the theka, the third vibhag or matras 8 to 10 is the only vibhag with nonresonant baya bols. This tala, however, cannot be considered fully comparable to tintal. Dipachandi tala and tintal both have four vibhags. In addition, they both have three talis and one khali. In fact, they both have the same order of baya usage in which the first two and the last vibhag have resonant baya usage and the third vibhag having nonresonant or no baya usage. Therefore, these two talas are considered to be symmetric talas, by definition. However, we must not forget that tintal has four vibhags with equal length (four matras per each vibhag), while dipachandi tala is not. Two vibhags have three matras while the other two vibhags have four matras.

 

Figure 12.2 features another theka which is “purely” symmetric. The first half of the theka uses resonant baya bols, while the other half of the theka uses few “kas” but otherwise no baya usage. Of course, one experience builds, many renditions and variations can be made from this.

X

 

 

2

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

dhā

dhin

——

dhā

dhā

dhin

——

0

 

 

3

 

 

 

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

tin

——

tin

——

 

Figure 12.2

 

Another nice prakar is shown in Figure 12.3.

X

 

 

2

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

dhā

dhin

——

dhā

dhā

dhin

——

0

 

 

3

 

 

 

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

tin

——

ti

ra

ti

ra

 

Figure 12.3

 

In high class professional recordings in India, the “tin” bols are replaced with “tun” or “din” bols.

 

The last of the common variations is formed by using rupak tala twice. Recall from the previous chapter that rupak tala is a seven matra tala. Applying rupak tala twice with few variations could yield a possible prakar of dipachandi. The first seven matras are very similar to rupak tala’s bol structure. However, the second half carried rupak tala’s structure until matra 11. From here, two louder “ta” bols (shown by a capital T) are played to distinguish the two halves. If this change did not take place, then it would simply be rupak tala being played twice without anything special added to it. The bol structure in Figure 12.4 shows this prakar of using rupak tala twice.

 

X

 

 

2

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

dhā

dhin

dhin

dhin

0

 

 

3

 

 

 

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

tin

tin

-

——

 

 

Figure 12.4

In addition, to preserve the true vibhag form of dipachandi tala, keep in mind to accent wherever the tali marker is.

 

In conclusion to this chapter, constantly keep practicing the dipachandi tala theka as well as its prakars. When improvising the tala, be sure to retain its true vibhag form. This is how the North and South Indian rhythmic systems differ. North Indian look at the theka with vibhags, talis, and khalis taken into account. South Indian, on the other hand, strictly look for the talis and khalis. Since we are studying a North Indian perspective, consider the theka form and make sure in your improvisation of this tala, you retain this similar structure, and not deviate to something totally different.

UPDATED: June 20, 2009