Saturday, 23 June 2012


One of the most amazing things in this world is Time.

It is a fact that the entire world revolves around Time (literally and figuratively).
Despite our abusing, wasting, killing, passing, Time moves with the same precision. It is also a silent observer and knows every bit of us. One can cheat others; they can cheat themselves; but nobody can cheat Time.

There are different dimensions to Time. We can look back. We can look ahead. We can look now. If understood and utilized well, it is our best friend. If not, it is our worst enemy.

It also gives us a lot of opportunities to learn. It tells us what we know, what we think we know, what we do not know, what we know that we do not know and what we do not know that we do not know.

In other words, if we are wise enough we mature with Time.

Let us now look back.. Exactly 4 years ago, on this very day, this community was started with just one member whose only asset was his having listened to and grown up with the music of one of the greatest musicians.

One of the many specialities of Indian Music (Carnatic music in particular) is the concept of Tala. Each Tala has a unique cyclic pattern in terms of the number of beats. On the face of it, it may appear to be very rigid and therefore monotonous. But because of the possibilities of various permutations and combinations, the Talas embellish a composition and make it more vibrant.

 Needless to say that Time is an integral part of any Tala. It is no surprise that ILaiyaraaja who is known for his sense of Time always loves playing with the Talas.

In this rare gem ‘Vaan Sivanthathu.. Poo Malarnthathu…’ from ‘Anbin Mugavari’(1985), the Talas dance to his tune.

The song that follows the Tisram pattern(3 beats/cycle) starts with the resonant Mridangam that plays 1234 three times in the faster mode.That is each 3 beat cycle in the slower mode(keezh kaalam) equals the 12 beats of Mridangam in the faster mode(mel kaalam played thrice the speed).To make it more vibrant, there is more stress on the 1st beat in the third 1234.

The Pallavi-rendered by Krishnachandran and Janaki- starts as the Tala is already on or in other words the Tala starts before the Pallavi.Such a start is known as ‘Anaagata Eduppu’ in Caranatic music parlance.

In the first interlude the percussion instrument itself is changed and it plays the 123 pattern twice in the faster mode but not continuously. First when the trumpets start playing, there is no percussion. Exactly after a gap of 24 beats (8 Tisrams) in the faster mode, the bongos start playing 123.But here again, there is magic. The bongos play 123 twice, there is a gap of 6 beats and the bongos start again. This pattern continues 10 times.

Now the soulful guitar takes over to the accompaniment of the reverberating Mridangam which plays the same pattern of the prelude and the Pallavi (1234 thrice in the faster mode).Exactly after 8 rounds, the percussion stops and the electric guitar plays to a count of 24 beats(8 tisrams or 6 chatushrams).

In the first CharaNam, the pattern in the first part of the interlude is followed.

The first part of the second interlude has the drums again following the 1234 1234 1234 in the faster mode.

The magic happens in the second CharaNam this time in a new form. The 1234 pattern is now played in the ‘keezh kaalam’(slower pace).

‘KaalapramaaNam’ at its best!

Pace, Tempo, Tala…. Time-aren’t these amazing-just like his music?

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