Two years ago, this column had carried a short series on taals that were rarely heard on the Hindustani music concert platform. Pakhawaj and tabla players often have varying interpretations of taals that are rarely heard in concerts. The number of khands/vibhaags or bars may differ, the theka or main string of bols or mnemonic syllables used to represent the taals on percussion instruments may differ, and at times even the number of matras or time-units may differ.
As parts of India celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, we listen to a rhythmic cycle called Ganesh taal. Previously, this column has also featured compositions related to Ganpati or Ganesh, but here is a taal that borrows its name from the elephant-headed Hindu god. An 18-matra taal, it is demonstrated by the pakhawaj maestro Arjun Shejwal.
Another taal that also forms a part of pakhawaj repertoire is Gaj jhampa, a 15-matra taal. The name may be translated as “leap/jump of the elephant”. Shejwal demonstrates two varieties of the same taal in this short clip.
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.