04 January 2009

Eka Tala - why is it so?

In short, Ek Taal is what is you hear when you hear folk drums on streets of Bengaluru. Be it a death procession or a celebration. How do I know? While dancing today in the shower to Yakshagana Ek taal rhythm I realised it was same as the folk grove! It indeed is. A typical 6 beat grove with a single emphatic stroke. Something like, "taak taak taaku --- tataika daaku". In yakshagana this is decently used as, "tai ta ta di na dhim taam" a variation of "taiku ta dhem taam" (ta and dhem have 2 time units).

In Karnataka sangeetha however, they do not know! They have screwed it so much that I almost hate musicologists. For them Ek taal is 4 beats. Go figure out. They agree with one thing it has only one group (Laghu), which makes it a lot more flexible grove.

In Hindustani, it has 12 beats which is understandable a mere multiple of six. But unfortunately has more emphatic strokes. They have messed it up a little too, although they still use the same name! They have no clue what the 'one' in Ek taal suggests!

In short Ek taal is actually a very obvious and natural folk grove that musicologists and musicians alike have altered to feel good and call it a classical grove. While everything has folk origin, this one is still alive and provable. What makes it more enjoyable is that when I shower next time I know better about what I am dancing to!

PS: I got this all wrong and Ek tala Tatkara is - Ta Dhim Dhimita Dhim 4 beats. Very close to Hindustani Ek Taal in Yakshagana is Rupak Tala (Vilambita - 12 beats) which is discussed in this post instead of Ek Tala by error. Eka Tala is discussed including this error in another post in detail.


  1. I disagree with this.... half baked argument...

  2. Thanks for the Frank opinion. I will agree with you if you can explain why you disagree and disagree with which claim. On it being half baked argument, I agree with you. It was never meant to be fully baked. I ran out of patience :)


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