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Teentaal the King of Indian Taals

Pandit Arvind Parikh, master of sitar, is the famous student of the very great master of sitar, the late Ustad Vilayat Khan (Aftaab-e-Sitar). Purvi Parikh, daughter of Pt. Arvind Parikh, is a very good vocalist. This is a part of his email to me about the Ustad:
 
"Indian musicians believe that teentaal (16 beats) is the King of all rhythms and once she/he is proficient in playing/improvising in teentaal, she/he can improvise in other rhythms without any difficulty.  Though Ustad Vilayat Khan most of the times plays gat-s in teentaal (16 beats), he does occasionally play gat-s in the other rhythms such as rupak (7 beats) and jhaptaal (10 beats).  He also plays in ektaal (12 beats) especially in the drut laya (faster tempo)."

Teentaal Theka, Kaida-s and Tihai-s
 
An Article by Dr. Peyman Nasehpour
 
Introduction
 
Indian musicians believe that teentaal is the King of taal-s (rhythms) and because of this I give here some compositions in this taal.
 
Teental is the most common rhythm used in Indian Classical music (vocal, instrumental and dance music) with all different laya-s (tempos). There are so many versions in different gharana-s (stylistic schools of music in India). I give the one who has written in the great book, Tabla -- Lessons and Practice 2nd Edition, by Pandit Aloke Dutta.
 
Teentaal is in16 matra-s (beats) divided into 4+4+4+4.
 
The most famous teentaal theka (main cycle) is:
 
Dha Dhin Dhin Dha
Dha Dhin Dhin Dha
Na   Tin    Tin   Na
Ta    Dhin Dhin Dha
 
Now I give some teentaal kaida-s. I should mention that kaida is derived from the Arabic-Persian name Ghaedeh that literally means rule.
 
Teentaal Kaida No. 1 from [D]:
 
Dha Dha Te Te Dha Dha Tu    Na
Ta   Ta    Te Te Dha Dha Dhin Na
 
Now I give some kaida-s similar to the teentaal kaida No. 1. I have composed them some years ago, but it is very natural that some other people have composed the same or similar kaida-s.
 
Dha Te Te Tu Na Dhe Dhe Na Dha Dha Te Te Dha Dha Tu Na
Ta   Te Te Tu Na Te   Te    Na Dha Dha Te Te Dha Dha Dhi Na
 
Dha Te Te Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Dha Te Te Dha Dha Tu Na
Ta    Te Te Ta   Ke Na TeTe Dha Dha Te Te Dha Dha Dhi Na
 
Dha Te Te Te Te Dha Te Te Te Te Te Te Dha Dha Tu Na
Ta   Te Te Te Te Ta   Te Te Te Te Te Te Dha Dha Dhi Na
 
Dha Dhi Na Dhi Na   Dha Dhi Na
Dha Dha Te Te Dha Dha Tu  Na
Na   Tu   Na Tu  Na  Na   Tu  Na
Dha Dha Te Te Dha Dha Dhi Na
 
Dha Tu Na Dha Tu Na Te Te Dha Dha Te Te Dha Dha Tu Na
Ta   Tu Na Ta   Tu  Na Te Te Dha Dha Te Te Dha Dha Dhi Na
 
Dha TeRe KeTe Dha Ge Na Tu Na Dha Dha Te Te Dha Dha Tu  Na
Ta   TeRe KeTe  Ta   Ke Na Tu Na Dha Dha Te Te Dha Dha Dhi Na
 
Teentaal Kaida No. 2 from [D]:
 
Dha Te Te Dha Te Te Dha Dha Te Te Dha Ga Tu  Na Ke Na
Ta    Te Te Ta   Te Te Ta  Ta    Te Te Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na
 
This is a very famous kaida and there are lots of different variations. So it is better to refer to the books and I give only two similar kaida-s.
 
Te Te Dha Te Te Dha Te Te Te Te Dha Ga Tu Na Ke Na
Te Te Ta   Te Te Ta   Te Te Te Te Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Dha Te Te Te Te Dha Te Te Te Te Dha Ga Tu  Na Ke Na
Ta   Te Te Te Te Ta    Te Te Te Te Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na
 
In this kaida I have not used the same phrases such as Dha Te Te & Dha Dha Te Te but structurally it is similar to the kaida No. 2.
 
Dha Ge Na Dha Ge Na Dha Ge Na Na Dha Ga Tu   Na Ke Na
Ta   Ke  Na Ta   Ke Na Ta   Ke  Na Na Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Similar to kaida No. 2 it is possible to compose lots of different variations. But I only give one:
 
Dha Ge Na Dha Ge Na Dha -- Dha Ge Na Dha Ge Na Dha --
Dha Ge Na Dha Ge Na Dha Ge Na Na Dha Ga Tu Na Ke Na
Ta   Ke Na Ta    Ke Na Ta   -- Ta   Ke Na Ta    Ke Na Ta   --
Dha Ge Na Dha Ge Na Dha Ge Na Na Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Teentaal Kaida No. 3 from [D]:
 
"Ustad Habibuddin Khan had two styles, which is easy to understand because his father, Shammu Khan of Ajrara School, with whom he started learning, died only four years after his institution. As a result, he continued his studies with Natthu Khan of the Delhi School. For example he played a kaida, from Delhi, which goes as follows:
 
Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ga Tu  Na Ke Na
Ta   Ke Na  Te Te Ta   Ke Na Te Te Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na"
 
I give some kaida-s similar to kaida No. 3, which I have composed them some years ago. Again I emphasize that it is quite natural that the same or similar kaida-s have been composed by other people.
 
Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Te Te Dha Ti Dha Ga Tu   Na Ke Na
Ta   Ke Na  Te Te Ta   Te Te Dha Ti Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Tu Na Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ge Na Dha Ga Tu   Na Ke Na
Tu Na Ta   Ke Na  Te Te Dha Ge Na Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Dha Ge Na Te Te Te  Te  Dha Ge Na Te Te Te  Te Dha Ti
Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ga Tu Na Ke Na
Ta   Ke Na  Te Te Te  Te  Ta  Ke  Na Te Te Te  Te Dha Ti
Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Teentaal Kaida No. 4:
 
Dha Ge Na Dha Ti Dha Ge Na Dha Ti Dha Ga Tu   Na Ke Na
Ta   Ke Na  Ta   Ti Ta   Ke Na  Ta  Ti  Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Ending a teentaal kaida with the phrases "Dha Ti Dha Ga Tu   Na Ke Na" and similarly "Ta  Ti  Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na" is so popular in Indian tabla solo recitals.
 
Here I give some samples:
 
Dha Ge Na Na Ti Dha Ge Na Dha Ti Dha Ga Tu   Na Ke Na
Ta   Ke Na Na  Ti Ta   Ke Na Dha Ti Dha Ga Dhi  Na Ge Na
 
Ka Ta Dha Ti Dha Ge Na Na Dha Ti Dha Ga Tu   Na Ke Na
Ka Ta Ta   Ti Ta    Ke Na Na Dha Ti Dha Ga Dhi  Na Ge Na
 
Dha Ge Na Dha TeRe KeTe Dhe Te Dha Ti Dha Ga Tu   Na Ke Na
Ta   Ke  Na Ta   TeRe KeTe The Te Dha Ti Dha Ga Dhi  Na Ge Na
 
Dha Na Tu Na Dha Tu Na Na Dha Ti Dha Ga Tu   Na Ke Na
Ta   Na Tu Na Ta    Tu Na Na Dha Ti Dha Ga Dhi  Na Ge Na
 
Dha -- TeRe KeRe Dhe Te Ge Na Dha Ti Dha Ga Tu   Na Ke Na
Ta   -- TeRe KeRe  The Te Ge Na Dha Ti Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Teentaal Kaida No. 5:
 
Tu Na Dha Ge Na Tu Na Dha Ge Na Dha Ga Tu  Na Ke Na
Tu Na Ta   Ke Na  Tu Na Ta   Ke Na Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Teentaal Kaida No. 6:
 
Dha Ti Dha Ge Na Dha Ti Dha Ge Na Dha Ga Tu   Na Ke Na
Ta   Ti Ta   Ke Na  Ta   Ti Ta   Ke Na  Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Teentaal Kaida No. 7:
 
Dha Dha Te Te Dha Ge Na Dha TeRe KeTe Dha Ga Tu  Na Ke Na
Ta   Ta    Te Te Ta   Ke Na Ta   TeRe KeTe Dha Ga Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Variation of Kaida No. 7:
 
Dha Dha Te Te Dha Ge Na Dha TeRe KeTe Dha Ge Na Dha TeRe KeTe
Dha Dha Te Te Dha Ge Na Dha TeRe KeTe Dha Ga Tu  Na   Ke    Na
Ta   Ta    Te Te Ta   Ke Na  Ta   TeRe KeTe Ta   Ke Na  Ta  TeRe KeTe
Dha Dha Te Te Dha Ge Na Dha TeRe KeTe Dha Ga Dhi  Na  Ge   Na
 
Now I give some teentaal kaida-s ending with the phrases "Dha Ge Na Tu  Na Ke Na" and similarly "Dha Ge Na Dhi Na Ge Na".
 
Teentaal Kaida No. 8:
 
Ka Ta Dha Ti Dha Ge Na Dha Ti Dha Ge Na Tu  Na Ke Na
Ka Ta Ta   Ti Ta    Ke Na Ta   Ti Dha Ge Na Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Variation of Kaida No. 8:
 
Ka Ta Dha Ti Dha Ge Na Dha -- Dha Ge Na Dha Ge Na Na
Ka Ta Dha Ti Dha Ge Na Dha Ti Dha Ge Na Tu  Na Ke Na
Ka Ta Ta   Ti Ta    Ke Na Ta   -- Ta    Ke Na Ta  Ke Na Na
Ka Ta Dha Ti Dha Ge Na Dha Ti Dha Ge Na Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Teentaal Kaida No. 9:
 
Dha Ge Te Te Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ge Na Tu  Na Ke Na
Ta   Ke  Te Te Ta   Ke Na Te Te Dha Ge Na Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Teentaal Kaida No. 10:
 
Dha Ge Na Dha -- Dha TeRe KeTe Dha Ge Na Dha Tu  Na Ke Na
Ta   Ke Na  Ta   -- Ta   TeRe KeTe Dha Ge Na Dha Dhi Na Ge Na
 
Teentaal Tihai-s:
 
Tihai indicates the end of a composition. Tihai is the figure at the end of an elaborated or fixed composition, which begins on any matra in the given taal and, after being played three times, ends on sam (the first matra of a taal).
 
Repeating three times a phrase in 11 beats can be a tihai for teentaal, because (3)(11)=33=(2)(16)+1 and the 33rd beat of the composition will be the first beat (sam) of the third cycle of the composition in teentaal.
 
Now I give some examples of teentaal tihai-s.
 
Teentaal Tihai No. 1:
 
Ti  Na Dha Ge Na  Ti Na Dha Ge Na  Ti Na Dha Ge Na  Ti
Na Dha Ge Na  Dha, -- Ti Na Dha Ge Na  Ti Na Dha Ge Na 
Ti  Na Dha Ge Na  Ti Na Dha Ge Na  Dha, -- Ti Na Dha Ge
Na  Ti Na Dha Ge Na  Ti Na Dha Ge Na  Ti Na Dha Ge Na 
Dha.
 
Teentaal Tihai No. 2:
 
Ka Ta Dha Ti Dha Ge Na Na Ti Dha Ge Na Dha Ti Dha Ga
Tu Na Ke Na Dha, -- Ka Ta Dha Ti Dha Ge Na Na Ti Dha
Ge Na Dha Ti Dha Ga Tu Na Ke Na Dha, -- Ka Ta Dha Ti
Dha Ge Na Na Ti Dha Ge Na Dha Ti Dha Ga Tu Na Ke Na
Dha.
 
Teentaal Tihai No. 3:
 
Te Te Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ge Na Te
Te Dha Ge Na Dha,-- Te Te Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ge Na
Te Te Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ge Na Dha,-- Te Te Dha Ge
Na Te Te Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ge Na Te Te Dha Ge Na
Dha.
 
Teentaal Tihai No. 4:
 
Te Te Ka Tha Ga Di Ge Ne Dha -- Ti Dha -- Ti Dha --
Ti Dha -- Ti Dha, -- Te Te Ka Tha Ga Di Ge Ne Dha --
Ti Dha -- Ti Dha -- Ti Dha -- Ti Dha, -- Te Te Ka Tha
Ga Di Ge Ne Dha -- Ti Dha -- Ti Dha -- Ti Dha -- Ti
Dha.
 
Teentaal Tihai No. 5:
 
Te Te Ka Tha Ga Di Ge Ne Dha -- Din -- Dha -- -- --
Te Te Ka Tha Ga Di Ge Ne Dha -- Din -- Dha -- -- --
Te Te Ka Tha Ga Di Ge Ne Dha, -- -- -- Te Te Ka Tha
Ga Di Ge Ne Dha -- Din -- Dha -- -- -- Te Te Ka Tha
Ga Di Ge Ne Dha -- Din -- Dha -- -- -- Te Te Ka Tha
Ga Di Ge Ne Dha, -- -- -- Te Te Ka Tha Ga Di Ge Ne
Dha -- Din -- Dha -- -- -- Te Te Ka Tha Ga Di Ge Ne
Dha -- Din -- Dha -- -- -- Te Te Ka Tha Ga Di Ge Ne
Dha.
 
Acknowledgements
 
The author wishes to thank Pt. Arvind Parikh (master of Indian sitar) and Mr. Lakshman Rai for their help, encouragement and support.
 
References:
 
[C]: David R. Courtney, Fundamentals of Tabla, Vol. I, Sur Sangeet Services, Houston, 1998.
[D]: Aloke Dutta, Tabla (Lessons and Practice), 2nd Edition, Texas, 1995.
 
Date of Publication: April, 4th 2002.

Teen taal The King of Indian Taals - Other spellings for teentaal include Teen taal, Teental, Teen tal, Tintaal, Tin taal, Tintal, or Tin tal