This week we continue our discussion on the flexibility that Hindustani vocal and instrumental compositions permit within broad parameters of relative perspectives of slow, medium and fast tempi.
Although BPM or beats per minute is not a concept used for composing or performing in the Hindustani context, a significant departure can be seen in its inclusion as a normal feature for online teaching. In this case, teachers mention their choice of tempo by referring to the BPM as displayed on the electronic tabla software that they are using, so that students can follow suit when they reproduce the material in the same teaching session or on recorded format for the teachers’ comments.
This is quite apart from offline teaching sessions that include tabla accompanists, who establish the rhythmic cycle as per the tempo desired by the vocalists or instrumentalists.
In the previous episode, we heard renditions of a specific composition by the same vocalist on different occasions. But today, we listen to interpretations of a composition by two vocalists. Their choice of taal is the same, but the tempo is significantly different.
Since we find ourselves in the midst of the monsoon, I have chosen a famous vilambit bandish or slow composition in Mia ki Malhar, a raag prescribed for this season. Composed in the 18th century by Feroze Khan “Adarang”, both vocalists have chosen the 12-matra Ektaal for exploring this bandish.
The first track features Gwalior gharana exponent DV Paluskar. He follows the vilambit bandish with a drut or fast composition set to Ektaal.
The second track has a faster-paced interpretation of the same vilambit composition by the maestro Ramkrishnbuwa Vaze. Accompaniment is provided by renowned musicians Bundu Khan on sarangi and Alla Rakha on tabla. The drut composition is set to the 16-matra Teentaal.
One of India’s leading tabla players, Aneesh Pradhan is a widely recognised performer, teacher, composer and scholar of Hindustani music. Visit his website here.
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