Saturday, August 25, 2012

Jhaptal Solo, Live, Part 2

Part 1 is here

Part 2:

This section has 2 compositions: A Peshkar (that flows into a Kaida), and another Kaida: the famous Delhi Kaida everyone knows and loves, albeit in Jhaptal. I learned both of these from Pt Suresh Talwalkar in Pune during the formative start-from-scratch-but-in-Jhaptal phase of my life.

The Peshkar starts in Tisra (triplets) and man, did it ever take me a long time to feel this comfortably.

Dhin - - Dha - re Dha - Thin - Na - - - -  is the basic phrase*.

The end of the phrase is where the romping and frolicking happens:
…Dhin - Na - - - -
…Dhin - Na - - - Kre
…Dhin - Na - Takita
…Dhin - - Terekite

It hangs out in triplets for awhile (I kinda rush through it actually…nerves perhaps), and then morphs (hopefully) seamlessly into Chatusra (4s), using almost the same phrase (the gaps are slightly different), which is always a bit of a mind bender. That 3s to 4s transition is so cool that you could groove out on it for a few cycles and not bore anyone, as far as I'm concerned. And then it morphs again into a really awesome Kaida with a deeply cool Tihai.

I have a 'special moment' the first time I try to step into the Kaida, but hey…these things are permitted as long as you get it right the second time. I get it right the second time. (My actual thought process was "Doh! ok ok FOCUS man! Gosh." …simultaneously channeling Homer Simpson and Napoleon Dynamite and almost making myself laugh).

The Kaida is heavy on Dha, and I have a Tintal version of this Kaida from Pt Anindo Chatterjee that I really must spend some more time with. When I learned it, it was so hard to play that I kinda shied away from it, but now it may be time for a revisit. I digress. I only touched on a few of the Jhaptal variations here, but when I record the whole thing, I'll try to play all the variations. And get this: there's an entire Rela section at the end!

Looking at the closeup video, i'm not playing Terekite right in the centre of the Gab, which I really should be at this speed. Bad Talawallah! The sound is quite different when you nail the centre. Note to self: play in the centre! It's funny how the wide and relaxed focus I have in practice sometimes gets restricted in concert (or when I'm nervous). I simply have less mental bandwidth to work with, so some things fall outside the available range. Though when the music is really flowing, and therefore I'm relaxed, there seems to be almost unlimited bandwidth, and those moments are why I play music, ultimately. It's a meditation I guess….shutting down the analytical left side of the brain, and letting the intuitive right side fill the space. That feeling is really without compare.

Ergo: more practice! Embed the physicality so deeply that it doesn't fall apart at the big moment, or require a lot of thinking to pull off, and you can listen to, and play with, the sound.

AND…the more you perform, the easier it gets. More practice, more performance, less thinking, more music.

Enough self criticism for the moment. The trickster-y Thun (pause) before the downbeat is some superfine funkyness IMHO. That's pure Suresh Talwalkar right there.

We are treated to some more loveliness from Rattan, and then: Cunning drum switch! Wasn't sure how I was going to do this actually…glad it worked out. Hence the weird nodding…I'm thinking: 'ha! ok phew…that potentially embarrassing moment is done.'

Which reminds me…a big low tabla is the bomb to practice on. You have to work so much harder to get definition, finger placement involves serious travel, and the gab is usually massively thick, so you have to really nail it to get any 'pop'. Good for technique, and you'll really notice a difference when you move back to a small, higher pitched drum.

The next Kaida is the famous Delhi Dhatete (or Dhatita) Kaida that I recorded in Tintal, and wrote about here.

The Jhaptal version adds another DhaDhatete to the Tintal version:
Dtt Dtt DDtt DDtt DgTnkn

Pssh! Easy! You're just adding a phrase to make it into 5! Yes, BUT! The cool thing is how it opens doors up for a whole different set of variations/improv tools. The breakdown is 3, 3, 4 and 4, 6. Both add up to 10. You can start playing around with 5s, and it really gets interesting: 5, 5, 4, 6 etc. Again, I played it safe and only touched a few variations, but there's a ton of possible transmogrifications: DDDtt, ttDtt, Dtttt for 5s, DgTnkn can become ttDDtt for the 6s (not to mention DttDtt), so mix and match, and some wild and wonderful combos happen. Just remember: 2 Tetes in a row? Accent the 2nd one, HARD: teteTEte. It hurts, but it sounds very cool and adds definition. Also: Delhi Gharana = 2 finger Tete. No cheating!

The theme happens single, then tisrafied (334, 334, 46) which is my (not terribly scintillating) contribution to the proceedings, then double.

грязной Гарриет: "I know what you're thinking.
'Did he play six Dhas or only five?'
Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement
I kind of lost track myself"
Sigh. Once again, I almost blow a tire, recover, and kinda stagger into the Tihai, where I almost crash and burn completely! :P The Tihai is, quite simply, a beast. Tihais within Tihais within a Tihai…it's the Russian Stacking Doll of Tihais! A single error in this Tihai, and it's off to the Gulag for sure.

I should have played it again, and if it wasn't such a lengthy beast, I probably would have.

I have a visualization system for monster Tihais like this that involves a map of the whole Tihai in cells (see pic below) that light up as I move through them to help me keep track. Doesn't help when one of the bulbs flickers… but most of the time it works, I swear! I need to work on this Kaida more before I try to record the whole thing. But I will.


Internalizing a tihai like this, so it's felt really clearly, so the gravity of Sam exerts an inexorable pull, and the strokes flow in an aesthetic, rather than logical way, is something I'm always working on….though maybe I shouldn't be. It's more about turning things off than concentrating harder, but the visualization is helpful to get through when that's not happening yet. Plus I think that visualization can be a tool for creation, improv, performance, if your brain works this way.

Get your Tabla Geek on, Episode 2:

*Tisra Peshkar bol breakdown! Uh-huh uh-huh.

Dhin - - Dha - re Dha - Thin - Na - - - -

3, 3, 2, 2, 5 which is a nice round 15.

The beat is subdivided in double tisra (6 subdivisions/beat), giving us a total of 60 subdivisions in one cycle of Jhaptal.


So…play that phrase 4 times (3rd time Khali) and you're off to the races! Of course it goes offbeat every other time, which is a whole other conundrum.

ok, I think that's it for this video. The next one has one of my all time favourite Kaidas. Stay tuned. It's a doozy.


1 comment:

  1. thank you ed for verbalizing so much of the process, though i know nothing of tabla, you make it all come alive as about any art form