Elements of Tala: Introduction, Concept, Meaning and Elements of Tala (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Music is a performing workmanship which is seen during the procedure of creation as against Visual expressions like Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, which are seen after the procedure of creation is finished. Music is controlled by the development of perceptible structures that give the hallucination of virtual time. Similarly, as Visual expressions need a proportion of room, Performing expressions need a proportion of time. In Hindustani music, an organization is set to a specific ‘Tala’ or beat with unmistakable stretches. With the help of ‘Tala’ , an appearance of movement is accomplished with the section of one stretch and beginning of another. The length between these spans gives us the proportion of time. This is virtual time that is made inside the melodic organization.

Concept and Meaning of Tala

In a melodic piece, Tala demonstrates the entry of melodic time. During this process, an appearance of movement is accomplished that gives music the idea of a living structure. In Hindustani music, Tala has been considered as the establishment upon which music is built up. The synthesis and elaboration of a Raga is delivered inside the fixed pattern of the Tala. Despite the fact that the pattern of the Tala is fixed, the Raga seems to blossom inside that cycle and arriving at the Sam of the Tala in various ways after the finish of each cycle turns into an end in itself.


The word ‘Tala’ discovers its deduction from the Sanskrit root ‘tal’ , which means the base or on the other hand turn whereupon a thing rests. In Sangeet Ratnakar, characterizing ‘Tala’ Pt. Sharngadev says, ‘Tala’ has been gotten from the Sanskrit root ‘tal’ , which is the base whereupon an item is fixed. Similarly, ‘Tala’ is the base upon which vocal, instrumental music and move are built up.

Elements of Tala

In antiquated occasions, ten components of Tala were by and by, specifically - Kaal, Marga, Kriya, Anga, Graha, Jati, Kala, Laya, Yati and Prastara which are all in all known as ‘Tala Dash Prana’ . Present day components of Tala incorporate Avartan, Matra, Laya, Bol, Theka, Vibhag, Sam, Khali and Tali. To have the option to distinguish and follow any Tala, an information on these components is required. They are being portrayed beneath:


The complete cycle of a given tala is called Avartan. It can be repeated more than once. Example, the Avartan of Teen Tala.

Elements of Tala: Avartan


The unit of Tala which shows the proportion of melodic time is called Matra. Various Talas can have a similar number of Matras. For instance, ChauTala and EkTala, both have twelve Matras. In any case, both are utilized in various types of music. ChauTala is utilized with Dhrupad and EkTala with Khayal. ChauTala is generally played on Pakhawaj, while EkTala is typically played on the tabla. Their devices are fit to the particular structures that they go with. The documentations for Matras and BoIs of ChauTala and EkTala are given underneath:

Elements of Tala: Matra


The beat of the melodic time is alluded to as ‘Laya’ . There are three kinds of Laya - Vilambit, Madhya and Drut.

  • Vilambit laya - A moderate beat laya is called Vilambit.
  • Madhya laya - When the beat is twofold that of Vilambit, it becomes Madhya laya.
  • Drut laya - When the beat is twofold that of Madhya, it becomes Drut laya.


The words used to indicate the sound delivered while playing a Tala are called ‘Bol’ . These are memory aide syllables like Dha, Dhin or Tikrit and so on. The old term for these was ‘Patakshara’ .


The whole gathering of Bols or expressions of a Tala establishes the Theka. Similarly, as a ‘Bandish’ or organization in a melodic structure can be explained, Theka is the essential structure of a Tala which can be expounded further utilizing different ‘tukde’ and ‘tihai’ .


The Theka of a Tala is conveyed into divisions called ‘Vibhag’ . Based on the quantity of Matras in a Tala, various Talas have distinctive number of divisions. For instance, TeenTala has sixteen Matras that are isolated into four Vibhags, Rupaka has seven Matras that are partitioned into three Vibhags. The Vibhags might be of equivalent term. For instance, on account of TeenTala, every one of the four Vibhags are of equivalent span, that is, of four Matras each:

Elements of Tala: Vibhag

On account of Rupaka Tala, two Vibhags are of two Matras and one is of three Matras:

Elements of Tala: Vibhag


The beginning Matra of a Tala whereupon the whole accentuation of the mood is laid is called ‘Sam’ . It is appeared by the image (×) in the Bhatkhande documentation framework. Here, it ought to be noticed that in the past case of Rupaka Tala, the ‘Sam’ has appeared on the first Matra. Notwithstanding, while delivering the Tala orally, the first Matra appeared as ‘Khali’ . This ought to be treated as a special case in light of the fact that typically, the equivalent is appeared as ‘Bone’ ? In practice, both singing and playing of the Tabla begins all the while from this Matra, subsequently it has been given as ‘Sam’ .


That Matra of a Tala which goes about as a counterpoise for the ‘Sam’ to adjust the musical cycle is called ‘Khali’ . It appears by the Bhatkhande documentation framework. At the point when the Theka of a Tala is presented orally alongside hand motions, Khali is appeared with palm confronting upwards. Khali can be multiple.


The Matra of a Tala that shows the spot of striking is called ‘Bone’ . These are typically the beginning Matras of a Vibhag and are multiple. Along these lines, the Sam turns into the primary Tali, and the ensuing ones are numbered as 2,3, etc. barring Khali.

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