Monday, February 22, 2010

Uthan, Palta Theka

Ok, so the whole 'Kaida a Week' thing may not be entirely accurate....BUT, I will record 52 of these, eventually. Sign up for email notifications (down, right). The blog will email you when I put a new recording up.

To get back into the swing of things, 2 of my very favourite introduction compositions: an Uthan and Palta Theka.

<a href="http://tala-wallah.bandcamp.com/track/uthan-palta-theka">Uthan, Palta Theka by Tala-Wallah</a>


An Uthan is an introductory composition, either improvised, or pre composed, that features heavy-duty tabla bols, and usually multiple nadais (aka subdivisions: 4, 6, 8 in this case). This particular composition has an absolutely massive tihai, with 9 repetitions of Dha tun na ke tete Dha- ne Dha - ne Dha - in each palla, so 27 in total. There are 81 Dha s if anyone is counting. The math is interesting as well...16-16, 16.5-16.5 and sum to sum. Composed by Swapan Chaudhuri.

The next composition was taught to me as a Peshkar, but it's much more like a Palta Theka. Basically, variations on the strokes in the theka, tintal in this case.

Swapan Chaudhuri composed this for a tabla ensemble at the Ali Akbar College of Music a long time ago, and it is really very lovely (the composition...not necessarily my rendition;). The development of the bols is orderly, yet incredibly interesting and creative. Note that the usual kaida rules apply here...bhari-khali and maintaining the original bols, but there is a bit more leeway...dheneghene (on sur) isn't in the theme, for example, but since sur strokes are such a big part of the theka, they fit. Interesting. Oh, and the tihai has kept me up late on many occasions....it is a serious handful, and a perfect example of the beautiful complexity of Indian classical music.

I used the same Darbari Kanada lehara (from iLehra app) as last time...it's quickly become a go-to lehara.

Update! my friend Chris Hale played the lehara on sitar. Hopefully, we'll be able to do this on a regular basis.

13 comments:

  1. Interesting to hear how compositions get modified across gharanas. What you're calling peshkar or Palta Theka is what we call Benarsi theka in the Benares gharana; it's one of the innovations of Pandit Ram Sahai. We perform it in place of peshkar in our solos.

    Anyways, sounds great and nice to hear you performing traditional tabla!

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  2. Thanks dude. Yes, that is interesting, and 'uthan' seems like a very Benares style as well...can you elucidate?
    tata!
    E

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  3. Hey... brilliant site! Please keep it up!

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  4. This was awesome. I liked your rendering of palta theka...loved the tihai too...Also checked other posts... you play cool! Please post more... I would love to hear from you more.

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  5. Thanks Anonymous & Mac. These last comments have been a good, inspiring kick in the pants. Will get back on the horse asap.

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  6. Hey, I remember writing a long post about uthaan and Benarsi theka ... what happened? I got censored?

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  7. Hey Shawn,

    nope...no censors here...that comment never come through the door...try again?

    Anyone else having commenting problems? (I publish all comments)

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  8. hey how do you practice your tirakita? I am having a lot of trouble with this bol.

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  9. @ Anon: in brief? Slowly, consciously and relaxedly. For a long time.

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  10. Thank you! So beautiful! Zdenko, Croatia

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  11. This one track was enough to make me run and buy the album! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

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    1. :D awesome. Thanks. Glad you liked it!

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