This video demonstrates a classic rhythmic displacement exercise in Carnatic music. In the 8 beat cycle Adi Thalum, the phrase Ta Ka Di Mi Ta Ka Ju Nu is displaced by a 16th note via the phrase Ta Ka Ta Ki Ta, a cell of five 16th notes. Watch the video and attempt to figure out the exercise. If you need help, check out the attached pdf, available to download, at the bottom of the page.
This is a written supplement to the audio lesson on Kanda Chapu, which can be found here. Kanda Chapu is the 5 beat cycle in Carnatic music. It can be thought of as 5/4 time. Start with the audio lesson first before checking out this notated content. You can download this lesson at the bottom of the page. Continue reading
Kanda Chapu is the 5 beat thalum or cycle in Carnatic music. It can be thought of as 5/4 time. It is shown through a series of claps: Clap on beat 1; Clap on beat 3; Clap on beat 4.
Kanda Chapu can be recited using syllables Ta Ka Ta Ki Ta, a 2 + 3 beat grouping. The audio below is a series of exercises in Kanda Chapu. Each clip shows Kanda Chapu thalum while reciting Ta Ka Ta Ki Ta in different subdivisions. This is great practice for strengthening one’s time feel and getting more comfortable in 5/4 time. Try learning this material by ear. A downloadable pdf of this lesson is available at the bottom of the page with these exercises written in western notation. Have fun!
Kanda Chapu with Ta Ka Ta Ki Ta in Quarter Notes
Kanda Chapu with Ta Ka Ta Ki Ta in 8th Notes
Kanda Chapu with Ta Ka Ta Ki Ta in 16th Notes
Kanda Chapu with Ta Ka Ta Ki Ta in Triplets
Kanda Chapu with Ta Ka Ta Ki Ta in Quarter Note Triplets
Raga Keeravani is a melakartha or parent raga found in Carnatic music, and is equivalent to the western harmonic minor scale. This lesson includes lines sung by Sreyas Narayanun that outline the raga keeravani. The melodic development of the raga is systematic, starting with melodies in the lower register, then moving to the middle register, reaching the higher register, then concluding back at the starting tonic pitch. This approach to developing the raga can easily be applied to western settings of improvisation, composition, and even as introductions to compositions. Sreyas’ melodies also include rhythmic groupings of four, five and six 16th notes, creating lines that break out of typical four note phrase structure. The end of the lesson includes exercises that encourage this tiered exploration of scales or modes and also examines ways to create new 16th note rhythmic phrases using cells of four, five and six 16th notes. A downloadable pdf of this lesson can be found at the bottom of the page. Continue reading
Sreenath Sreenivasan presents the phrase Taka Dimi Taka Junu in different subdivisions in Adi Thalum. Adi Thalum is an 8 beat cycle found in Carnatic Music. Adi Thalum is shown through a series of claps and waves.
To show Adi Thalum:
Clap on Beat 1; press the pinky to the palm for beat 2; press the ring finger to the palm for beat 3; press the middle finger to the palm for beat 4; clap on beat 5, wave on beat 6, clap on beat 7, wave on beat 8. Beats 6 and 8 can also be shown by clapping with the reverse side of the hand, as opposed to the palm side.
Taka Dimi Taka Junu can be understood as counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
This lessons shows Sreenath reciting Taka Dimi TakaJunu in different subdivisions while keeping thalum, or keeping the beat. A notated lesson that covers this material can be found here. A western notation, downloadable pdf of this lesson can be found at the bottom of the page. Start slowly and recite the syllables with a smile. The feel, bounce and energy will come quicker if this is approached musically and with enthusiasm!
Taka Dimi Taka Junu in 8th Notes
Taka Dimi Taka Junu in 16th Notes
Taka Dimi Taka Junu in 32nd Notes
Taka Dimi Taka Junu in Triplets
Taka Dimi Taka Junu in Sextuplets
This lessons explores Raga Mohanam. Raga Mohanam is another pentatonic raga, sharing the same pitches as the major pentatonic scale. Pentatonics are used the world over in composition and improvisation so there is a wealth of melodic material from a Carnatic perspective that musicians can borrow and explore through this lesson. I’ve transcribed lines sung to me by distinguished Carnatic vocalist Sreyas Narayanun during one of our lessons. The lines can be played freely. Replay ones that really stand out. Also explore taking these melodic gestures and applying them to other pentatonic scales. There are some exercises at the end of the lesson which take inspiration from Sreyas’ lines and a downloadable pdf of the lesson at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
Sreenath Sreenivasan performs a diminutive rhythmic phrase in the 8 beat cycle, Adi Thalum. The phrase takes the introductory rhythmic cell, Tha Din Gi Na Thom, and shows it with diminishing gaps between each Tha Din Gi Na Thom cell. A pdf. in western notation can be found at the bottom of the page. I would encourage any listeners to first learn this phrase by ear, with the recitation and clapping, then jump to the written notation.
Syllables to understand:
Ta Ka Di Mi Ta Ka Ju Nu – This can be thought of as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Tha Din Gi Na Thom – This is typically a 5 beat cell, but in this demonstration, gaps or beats are inserted between each syllable that lengthen the phrase.
Clapping Adi Thalum
Clap on beat 1. Press the pinky to the palm for beat two; the ring finger to the palm for beat 3; and the middle finger to the palm for beat 4. Clap on beat 5. Wave on beat 6. Clap on beat 7. Wave on beat 8.
Enjoy the video!
This lessons covers more introductory rhythmic phrases found in Carnatic music. These syllables are also used in North Indian Hindustani Classical music and can be seen as universal ways to describe rhythmic groupings. Don’t feel like the syllables can only be used when studying or practicing Indian Classical Music. Recite the syllables while playing through the exercises to enhance fluidity with the phrases. Audio and a supplementary video element to this lesson will be posted shortly. A PDF is available for download at the bottom of the page.