Introduce students to the melodic rhythms of the tabla tarang, classical drumming from India, through music and movement. Learn to improvise the jati system of vocalizing rhythms.
Suggested Grade Levels: 6-8
Culture Group: Indian
Instruments: Voice, Membranophones
Co-Curricular Areas: Social Studies
National Standards: 3, 6, 9
- Listening (to tabla tarang)
- Improvising using jatis (vocally and instrumentally)
- “Raag Deen Todi” by Kamalesh Maitra from The World's Musical Traditions, Vol. 10: Tabla Tarang--Melody on Drums (SFW 40436)
- Album cover of The World's Musical Traditions, Vol. 10: Tabla Tarang--Melody on Drums (SFW 40436)
- Music in North India by George E. Ruckert
- World Map
- Map of India
- Listening (National Standards 6, 9)
- Vocalizing Rhythms (National Standards 9)
- Improvising Using Jatis (National Standards 3, 9)
- Performing Non-Pitched Percussion for “Gadzo” (National Standards 2, 9)
Lesson Segment #1: Listening
“Raag Deen Todi”
from The World's Musical Traditions, Vol. 10: Tabla Tarang--Melody on Drums (1996) | SFW40436
- See map of world and find India.
- Play recording of “Raag Deen Todi”.
- Face a partner and mirror their movements while listening to the recording.
- Listen again and make movements follow the melody of the drums.
- Ask students to try to identify the instrument playing the melody.
- Describe the tabla tarang and look at the photograph of Pandit Kamalsh Maitra sitting in the circle of 13 tuned tabla.
- Can the students feel the pulse while they are improvising movement? Can the students answer questions about the instrument?
Lesson Segment #2. Vocalizing Rhythms
- Practice reciting jatis (The jati system of vocalizing rhythms is utilized by musicians from both north and south India.- See pg. 8 of Ruckert book).
- Can the students easily vocalize the rhythms from north and south India?
Lesson Segment #3. Improvising Using Jatis
- Practice both chhand (one syllable per beat) and laya (syllables subdivide the beat).
- Decide on chhand or laya for the rhythmic improvisation.
- Chhand Improv:
- The class keeps a steady pulse on body percussion or quiet drums.
- Improviser uses four groups of each speech pattern, but chooses different orders during performance (the performer claps or plays a drum at the beginning of each grouping, and this is what we must be able to hear over the accompaniment during the improvisation!).
- Example (The performer plays four sets of 4, four sets of 2, four sets of 3, then ends with four sets of 1).
- Laya Improv:
- The class keeps a slow and steady pulse on body percussion or quiet drums (they should be able to fit 9 subdivisions into each pulse).
- Improviser chooses various orders of subdivisions of beats to say and play on his/her drum while performing (begin with only two or three choices rather than using all nine).
- Example (the performer chooses 2, 2, 8, 1).
- Can the Improviser complete both Chhand and Laya Improv? Can the rest of the class support him or her?