Tabla: Teentaal

Teentaal, a rhythmic cycle of 16 beats, is the most popular taal in North Indian classical music.

Given below is the theka, the basic definition of this taal. The taal has four equally spaced internal divisions (vibhag) which implies that a pulse can be felt after every four beats. The major pulse (sam; first beat) occurs after every 16 beats and the minor pulse at the ninth beat is a khali.

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Teentaal theka for the tabla

Kayda

The kayda below traditionally becomes the first lesson for a student of tabla. It is followed by some paltas, which are improvisations on the kayda. While the beginner can memorize a few paltas, the aim of the student should be to recognize how paltas are made. On a closer look, you will find that all the paltas below include only bols that are present in the kayda and also “rhyme” with the kayda. Some techniques commonly used to make paltas include repeating phrases from the kayda, adding rests (S), and changing the order of bols in the kayda.

All paltas are written in double speed (dugun).

Note that the following two paltas are longer — 32 beats each. They were made by rearranging the above paltas.

The kayda and palta usually end with a tihai after which the performer plays the theka again.

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