Back of the Book
“Pt. Naimpalli has given a detailed system of playing -Peshkaar, Kaida, Tihai, Rela, Gat, Paran and various other elements of different gharanas of tabla playing. Besides that there are also some very rare Taals with all the material of playing solo tabla.
I can very well understand how much dedication, research work and commitment is there behind this effort. This could be a very useful reference book for students of Tabla and Musicians in general.
I wish Pt. Sadanand Naimpalli all the best and am confident that his book will find its place in all the best institutes of India and abroad. It will also, guide tabla players who are looking for traditional authentic knowledge of tabla playing.”
— Pandit Shivkumar Sharma
“One of my main concerns I have is about the lack of unification in the standardization of the teaching oftabla... Mr Naimpally received his training from one of the great educators of tabla, Pandit Taranath Rao.Taranathji’s analysis of the repertoire of tabla was based on logic and practicality and this approach is clearly evident in Sadanand Naimpally’s book.... This may be the first step towards the way we look at tabla in the future.”
— Ustad Zakir Hussain in his Foreword, Theory and Practice of Tabla
Pandit Sadanand Naimpalli, one of the outstanding Tabla and Pakhawaj players of India, is a Metallurgical Engineer by training. He was initiated into the art of Tabla playing by the legendary Gum and Tabla and Pakhawaj Maestro, Pandit Taranathji. After an extensive taalim extending to six years, he won the President’s award for standing First at the All India Radio Competitions in 1963. Sadanandji is today a top grade artist of Akashvani and Doordarshan and has participated with distinction in several music conferences and festivals in India and abroad. He is a winner of several national awards. His workshops and lecture demonstrations have made him one of the great educators of tabla today. Besides being an famous soloist creating new compositions in diverse taals, Sadanandji has accompanied most of the top vocalists and instrumentalists of India.
He has also participated and conducted “Taal Vadya Kacheri” Concerts involving leading percussionists of Camatic, Hindustani traditions and Western drummers. Sadanandji has also taught hundreds of aspiring young Tabla players, many of whom are now themselves teaching and performing creditably.
Sadanandji’s first book Theory and Practice of Tabla, with a foreword by Ustad Zakir Hussain, has become a best-seller in its genre.
Indian Classical Music is mostly learnt through Guru-Shishya Parampara, which is also, known as “Gurumukhi Vidya”. It is an oral tradition where one has to learn directly from the Gum without taking any Notes or writing any Composition. As a result, we rarely come across an authentic book on Indian classical music be it Vocal, Instrumental or Tabla and still more rare are such books which have been written by performing musicians who has their training according to Gum-Shishya Parampara.
“Tabla for Advanced Students” a book written by Pt. Sadanand Naimpalli, is a much needed material for students of Tabla, and young musicians in general. He has brought out an exhaustive study of Tabla which is his life time experiences in learning and performing. The book starts with the Introduction explaining Guru-Shishya relationship which is only found in the traditional Indian Classical Music. Then Pt. Naimpalli has given a detailed system of playing -Peshkaar, Kaida, Tihai, Rela, Gat, Paran and various other elements of different Gharanas of Tabla playing. Besides that there are also, some very rare Tank with all the material of playing solo tabla.
I can very well understand how much dedication, research work and commitment is their behind this effort. This could be a very useful reference book for students of Tabla and musicians in general.
I wish Pt. Sadanand Naimpalli all the best and am confident that his book will find its place in all the best institutes of India and abroad. It will also, guide Tabla players who are looking for traditional authentic knowledge of Tabla playing.
May I have a word ...
This book has taken more time coming out, than I had imagined it would. In my last Book, Theory and Practice of TABL4, I had mentioned that the next will follow shortly. That it was not so, is primarily due to my propensity for postponing things and also due to the fact that I had a tough time deciding what to include and what should be kept back for the next book. It is indeed very tough to decide how much is enough.
At the outset, I must express my deepest gratitude to the innumerable students of Tabla, who have made my book, Theory and Practice of TABLA, a resounding success. When I set about writing the book, many people known to me, had warned me that writing in English was sure to misfire badly. However, my persistence in following my instincts were duly rewarded. Today, Theory and Practice of TABL4 is on the verge of a Fourth Reprint since its publication in January 2005!
Many senior students who read the Book, had got back to me with the grouse that the Book lacked the B’ndishes (Compositions) which were rare and challenging for their level of competence. My answer to this complaint was that the Book had been written, keeping in mind the level of knowledge that is expected of students who have learnt Tabla for about four years. I am more than happy with the responses that I have received from highly recognized experts of Tabla, who have complimented me on the way I have dealt with Theory and Repertoire without making it too complicated for the young students who constituted my targeted group. In that book, besides Repertoire, there was a lot of Theory, which included the development of Tabla from primordeal rhythmic instruments and Folk instruments and its position today vis-à-vis contemporary rhythmic instruments such as Pakhawaj, Mridangam etc. Taal Shaastr’ was an important Topic in the Book and so was the script used to write Tabla Bols Also, I had included Biographies of prominent Masters of yore, both of Tabla and Pakhawaj, who had contributed to the development of Tabla and Pakhawaj to the level at which we find them today. This, in short is the back ground to the title of my new Book.
The title of the new book is self explanatory. TABLA for Advanced Students. I hope that now, with this, Tamable to fulfil the expectations of many senior and serious students of Tabla. This new book is devoted exclusively to Compositions of many old Masters and also some that I have composed, of course, inspired by my Guruji and other leading Tabla players, Gurus and Ustads. Compositions marked by an Asterix (*) are the ones composed by me. Whether my compositions will be received enthusiastically by the afficionados, only time will tell. Besides the Repertoire, there are chapters on the topics that are generally handled by Tabla players regularly - viz. Peshkaars, Kaidas, Raons, Relas, G’ths, Parans, Tukdas, Chakkardaars, Tihhais etc. There is also a chapter on Accompaniment wherein I have tried to inculcate in the budding professional Tabla player a sense of reasoning and temperament while providing accompaniment to Instrumentalists in particular. I have also provided hints at how they should go about listening to the Music, analyzing hand then forming their own responses. My comments on the reactions of different Musicians towards the accompanists is not meant to hurt their feelings. It is more as an advice to budding Tabla players to adopt a restrained attitude and not to overplay their hand when they are accompanying. The inputs have been drawn from my own experiences in similar situations. Once again, I would like to stress that I do not, in any way, mean to hurt any Musician, but only to advice the accompanist.
There is a chapter written on ‘The Gum” in which I have concentrated more on the “Gum Principle”, rather than relate it to music — specific situations. Our concept of a Guru or an Ustaad has changed drastically from the times of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Today, I am sorry to state, there are people who talk of “Hiring” a Guru for a specific time span, to teach their wards some Art Form during their school vacations! A far cry from the times when the Guru was considered even higher than the Gods! In fact, even Gods are known to have Gurus, having spent a part of their lives in a Gurukul. There are also female Gums who are equally erudite and excellent as guides and humans. When I refer to the Guru as He or Him, it is only because I cannot keep repeating the phrases He / She and Him / Her. About the Repertoire, I wish to clarify certain points that I have assumed. Firstly, the number of variations of a Peshkaar / Kaida / Rela have been limited to seven only, so that more space is made available for other compositions. If need be, the student can make some more variations either by himself or with the help of his Guru / Ustaad. Secondly, I have assumed that the advanced students will be able to read the compositions easily because; I have given them in Matra form. They should be able to discern the changes in Laya as they occur in the course of the compositions. Thirdly, the compositions of Kaidas or Relas have been given the title of “Theme”, as all the variations are based on this statement as it were.
The Themes of the Kaidas or Relas and their variations are given only upto the point at which they change to the unstressed part or what is referred to as the “Khaali”. Now, in Even Matra Taals, the Khaali of the Taal falls exactly midway and hence there is no confusion. But, in case of Odd Matra Taals the Khaali / Khaalis of the Taals can be anywhere else. In fact, the midway point would have to be a Half Matra, where no Khaali or Bhari can be shown. Hence, the student should not get confused with this word Khaali as it is used in Kaidas or Relas.
I would like to emphasise here, that a student must strive to improve his “P’dh’nt” or Recitation of Bols. I am positive that once this exercise is taken up in right earnest, the reproduction of the Bols on Tabla will be that much more authentic or clear. Added to it, if the P’dh’nt is done by giving Taali or Beats simultaneously, it is bound to improve ones Laya as well as the understanding of the B’ndish.
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