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Chapter 17: Madhya Lay

 

Madhya lay is a very easy concept. In fact, it is much easier than any of the three principal lays. Madhya lay is simply defined as normal tempo. Normal tempo should be quite obvious, as all of the talas shown in the second unit are all in the madhya lay. There is not much to be discussed as far as alteration of the talas is concerned.

 

However, there is one concept from the vilambit lay chapter that will sure help. Even though it can be in madhya lay, there is a wide range that is covered as far as speed. It can slow enough to be close to a vilambit lay. It can also be fast to touch the limit of the drut lay. We will only discuss the closer-to-vilambit lay scenario.

 

First, let us revisit the vilambit lay of tintal on Figure 17.1.

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

 

Figure 17.1

 

Instead of playing it in slow time, let’s speed it up and play the tala in regular time. It may be difficult, but gradually go from slow tempo in the vilambit lay to a faster tempo in madhya lay. What do you notice?

 

You will notice how it will start to sound more like tintal in madhya lay. Of course, there are some alterations, such as matras 11, 12, and 13 with their slightly different structure. Nonetheless, it sounds like one of the prakars of tintal.

 

Try that same technique with vilambit ektal. Since ektal had so many fillers, it might be hard to get it to sound like regular time ektal. Do attempt to try to speed the vilambit ektal to something more recognizable as regular time ektal.

 

What is common with both of these tala examples? Do your fingers hurt? If your answer is honestly no, then I must give you full credit as this stage, because even for the master tabla player, playing a vilambit cycle too fast is painful. There were too many bols and too many fractional matras to play too quickly. Two very important characteristics were shown in this example:

 

1) Vilambit lays, when played at a much faster tempo, can be recognized to be very equivalent to its original theka in regular time.

 

2) There should be less bol density. Too many bol densities will either be impractical or cause a time delay of some sort.

 

Looking at tintal, special fillers could be used. Chapter 7 had many examples of unique fillers that could be used. Using “tira” or adding an appropriate duplicate of a certain bol could be used as filler. Also, special sliding of the open baya bols could help. Here is an example of using a sliding “gha” with “tirkita” and appropriate duplication. This is rupak tala of seven matras (Figure 17.2) and a common prakar with the sliding of ge represented by a dash (matras 4 and 6) along with duplication of bols (matras 5 and 7).

X(0)

 

 

2

 

3

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

tin

tin

dhin

dhin

 

Figure 17.2

AUDIO CLIP: Figure 17.2

 

X(0)

 

 

2

 

3

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

tin

tin

dhin

-

dhin

-

 

Figure 17.3

 

This is jhaptal: theka vs. prakar

X

 

2

 

 

0

 

3

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

dhin

dhin

dhin

tin

dhin

dhin

 

Figure 17.4

AUDIO CLIP: Figure 17.4

X

 

2

 

 

0

 

3

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

dhin

-

dhin

-

dhin

tin

dhin

-

dhin

 

Figure 17.5

 

As said before, not much could be said about madhya lay. Remember to use fillers wisely. Don’t use too much fillers that could a blur in rhythm of pain in the hands! Remember, these lays are forms of accompaniment for a musician. It is a tala supplement. Remember, tabla playing, although a very difficult art and science, required humility. Tabla players’ job is to strictly keep time with using the correct theka, and occasional forms shown in a later unit.

 

Yes, there is indeed homework for this chapter. Practice every tala that you learned in the second unit and try to be creative in adding fillers. Remember to be practical with your fillers and make sure that the fillers are helping your keep time as well as enriching the theka!

UPDATED: June 20, 2009