Sapta Tala of Carnatic Music

Sapta means 7. So, Sapta tala means 7 talas. In carnatic Music we know there are basically 7 Swaras (Sapta Swaras). In the same way, basic talas are 7. They are,
1. Dhruva Tala
2. Matya Tala
3. Rupaka Tala
4. Jampa Tala
5. Triputa Tala
6. Ata Tala
7. Eka Tala

7 Tala Chart
TalaAngam
DhruvamlOll
MatyamlOl
RupakamOl
JampalUO
ThriputalOO
AtallOO
Ekal

35 Talas
All the 7 Talas mentioned above cannot exist independently without Jaathis. We have already seen that Jaathi and Tala are inseparable. So, for each of the above 7 talas, 5 Jaathis will be there. For example, take Dhruva Tala. In this, Chathusra Jaathi Dhruva Tala, Thisra Jaathi Dhruva Tala and so on up to Sankeerna Jaathi Dhruva tala will be there. So, in Dhruva Tala, 5 Jaathis of Dhruva Tala are there. So, for 7 talas, it becomes 7 x 5 =35 talas.
Note: Chathusra Jaathi Thriputa Tala is one of the 35 talas which is known as "Adi Tala". In other words, the technical name of Adi Tala is "Chatusra Jaathi Thriputa Tala". The Rupaka Tala (chatusra jaathi Rupaka) of 6 Aksharams are shown as 3 Aksharams with 1 Anudhrutham and 1Dhrutham. At the same time Thisra Eka Tala, the so called Rupaka Tala, also shows 3 Aksharas. Anyways, these "Rupaka Talas" in vogue today may be considered as separate and different from the one mentioned in the table.

175 Talas
We have already seen that there cannot be a tala without Ghathi (nadai). Each of the above 35 talas has 5 nadais (read the heading "Ghathi" and "Yathi"). So, it becomes 35 x 5 =175 Talas.

35 Tala Chart
T
A
L
A
D
h
r
u
v
a
m
M
a
t
y
a
m
R
u
p
a
k
a
m
J
a
m
p
a
T
h
r
i
p
u
t
a
i
A
t
a
E
k
a
Angam --->
lOll
lOlOllUOlOOllOOl
Chatusram
1410678124
Thisram
118567103
Misram
231691011187
Kandam
1712789145
Sankeernam
2920111213229

How to read this chart? In this chart, the Jaathis from chathusram to Sankeernam is shown with the corresponding tala in terms of total Aksharas. For example, Chathusra Jaathi Dhruva Tala is 14 Aksharas and Thisra Jaathi Matya Tala is 8 Aksharas.
How to calculate the total Aksharas for a Tala? Chathusra Jaathi Dhruva Tala is 14 Aksharas and it is arrived at with the help of "Angam" shown in the chart. Dhruva Tala Angam is 1011 (see the chart). l=Lagu and O=Dhrutham. Dhrutham is 2 Akshara counts (Fixed). The lagu part will vary according to Jaathi. Chathusra Jaathi means 4 Akshara counts. There are 3 Lagus in Dhruva Tala. So, it is 3x4=12. So, 3 Lagus+1Dhrutham make (12+2) 14 Aksharas.
Chaapu Talas
Chaapu Tala (also spelled as Chapu Tala) is a way of showing the tala by beats alone without showing the "Angam" of a Tala. Chaapu Talas are seperately used and are not included in 35 Talas. Chaapu Tala shows the main time measurement by beats. There are 5 Talas that are in use as Chaapu tala. They are,
1. Thisra Chaapu Tala - It is 3 (1+2) - Tha Ki Ta - 1 ½ AksharasKalas. It is actually 3 kriyas.
2. Chathusra Chaapu Tala - Ratio is 2:2 (2+2)- Tha Ka Dhi Mi.
3. Kanda Chaapu Tala - Ratio is 2:3 ( 2+3) - Tha Ka Tha Ki Ta - 2 ½ AksharaKalas. It is actually 5 Kriyas
4. Misra Chaapu Tala - Ratio is 3:2:2 (3+4) - Tha Ki Ta Tha Ka dhi Mi - 3 ½ AksharaKalas. It is actually 7 Kriyas.
5. Sankeerna Chaapu Tala - Ratio is 2:2:2:3 (4+5) - Tha Ka Dhi Mi Tha Ka Tha Ki Ta - 4 ½ AksharaKalas. It is actually 9 Kriyas.
The Aksharakalas mentioned for each chaapu tala is for common understanding and usage. Technically, it is denoted in number of kriyas.
Note: Chatusra Chaapu Tala is obsolete in Carnatic Music Applications and this tala is used in Bajans for the purpose of showing the beats with sound similar to clapping the hands.


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