In the past two episodes of Sonic Saturday, we discussed the nine-matra Matta taal and the 11-matra Char taal ki sawari, two rhythmic cycles that are not as commonly heard as the 16-matra Teentaal or the 12-matra Ektaal, or for that matter, even the 16-matra Tilwada and the 14-matra Jhumra. We have discussed the more popular taals in a separate series, so continuing with the present one, we discuss briefly a few taals that have the same number of matras as Matta and Char taal ki sawari, but are structured differently or are called by other names.
Nasruk is a nine-matra taal that seems to have been used more for tabla solo recitals than for accompaniment. Opinions may differ regarding the structure of the taal. For instance, some distribute the matras in the cycle in a 2+2+2+3 format, while others follow a 3+3+3 design. According to scholar James Kippen, this taal, created by maestro Maseet Khan of the Farrukhabad gharana, is inspired by an earlier taal from the pakhawaj tradition.
We have a solo recital in Nasruk presented by the tabla exponent Shankar Ghosh.
Rudra and Ashtamangal are two taals that have 11 matras. Both are heard more on pakhawaj than on tabla, although kathak dancers often employ Ashtamangal. Structurally and in the choice of mnemonic syllables chosen for the theka or the skeletal framework representing the taal, they are quite similar to Char taal ki sawari discussed in the previous episode.
Here is a demonstration of two varieties of Rudra taal by pakhawaj exponent Arjun Shejwal.
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.