Taals in Gurmat Sangeet
Tal, (variously transliterated as "tala", "taal" or "taala") is the Indian system of rhythm. It has been argued that rhythm is fundamental to the creation of any musical system. Certainly from a historic standpoint, rhythm existed many centuries before the word rag was ever used. Given this historical preeminence, it is not surprising that rhythm occupies an important position in the Indian system of music.
What symmetry is to the plastic arts, rhythm is to music.
Just as the "note" is the basis of the melodic compogs:nent of music, the bol (pronounced bowl) is the foundation for taal. Bol literally means speech or syllables. The vocal bols sound very similar to bols played on the percussive instrument. The most common tabla bols are Dha, Dhi/Dhin, Ti/Tin, Ra, Ki, Ta, Na, Tin, and Te. Different schools of percussion may pronounce the same bol differently. Several bols structured in a specific manner and arranged in sub-divisions are called thekas.
Each bol usually takes up one, halt or quarter of a beat (matra) in a theka. The first beat of a theka is called the sam (pronounced sum). It plays a crucial role in the improvisation structure during a recital -- since it becomes a point of convergence for both the melodic and percussive improvisation. A theka also consists of layers of accents or voids in the first beat of a sub-division. A degree of symmetry, with an elegant manner of the theka leading to the sam, is quite common in the arrangement of the bols in a theka. A theka (also referred to as tool) can theoretically contain between two and 108 beats, although in reality there is no limit. While bols have existed in the percussion repertoire for a long time, thekas are probably a recent phenomenon (perhaps only around 600 years old ) The commonly heard thekas are dadra (6 beats), roopak (7 beats), keherwa (8 beats), jhaptaal (10 beats), ektaal (12 beats), chautal (12 beats), dhamar, deepchandi, jhumra (all 14 beats but with different bols and sub-divisions), and teentaal (16 beats). Although thekas are usually standard, bols of thekas can vary slightly, depending on the musical school or individual style of the tabla player.
A raga is totally dependent on tal (pronounced taal). Vocal music, instrumental music and dance rely on rhythm for its effect on the audience. Tal/tala  is the means of measurement of time in music or dance. Rhythm is the breaking up of time in small units. Time is cut into pieces at certain regular intervals. Literally tal means the palm of the hand; the time is measured by the clapping of hands (tali) or beats of drums or sticks. Tal is divided into two halves; Bhari (full) starting with sam, and khali (empty) starting with khali. So tal is an organisation of rhythms or different beats in certain groupings which are smaller units of matras. These rhythmic units repeat themselves in cycles. The drummer has to produce the spoken syllable indicating the position of the hand on the drum.
Tala (also written as (‘’Tal’’) in Indian music and Gurbani Kirtan refers to a complete and complex system for the execution and transcription of Rhythms and Beats. There exist over 20 different ‘’Talas’’ or ‘Beat Patterns’. The most common Tala in Classical Indian Music is the Theen Tala. This beat has a cycle of 16 beats divided in 4 sectors. Sectors 1,2 and 4 are full while sector 3 is empty. These beat patterns can also be played at different speeds.
A taal does not have a fixed tempo and can be played at different speeds. In Hindustani classical music a typical recital of a raga falls into two or three parts categorized by the tempo of the music - Vilambit laya (Slow tempo), Madhya laya (Medium tempo) and Drut laya (Fast tempo). In Carnatic Music, there are five categories of tempo namely - Chauka (1 stroke per beat), Vilamba (2 strokes per beat), Madhyama(4 beats per beat), Dhuridha(8 strokes per beat), Adi-Dhuridha(16 strokes per beat). But, although the tempo changes, the fundamental rhythm does not.
Each repeated cycle of a taal is called an avartan. A tala is generally divided into sections (vibhaags), not all of which may have the same number of beats.
The word tal. Tal literally means "clap". Today, the tabla has replaced the clap in the performance, but the term still reflects the origin.
Tali - Tali is the pattern of clapping. Each tal is characterized by a particular pattern and number of claps.
Khali - Khali is the wave of the hands. These have a characteristic relationship to the claps.
Vibhag (Ang) - Vibhag is the measure. Each clap or wave specifies a particular section or measure. These measures may be of any number of beats, yet most commonly 2, 3, 4, or 5 beats are used.
Matra - Matra is the beat. It may be subdivided if required.
Bol - Bol is the mnemonic system where each stroke of the drum has a syllable attached to it. These syllables are known as bol. It is common to consider the bol to be synonymous to the stroke itself.
Theka - Theka is a conventionally established pattern of bols and vibhag (tali, khali) which define the tal.
Lay - Laya is the tempo. The tempo may be either slow (vilambit), medium (madhya), or fast (drut). Additionally ultra-slow may be referred to as ati-vilambit or ultra-fast may be referred to as ati-drut.
Sam - Sam is the biginning of the cycle. The first beat of any cycle is usually stressed.
Avartan - Avartan is the basic cycle.
The main instrument for keeping rhythm in Indian Music is the Tabla In connection with Tala or musical beats/rhythms and the ‘Ghar’ in the SGGS, the following can be concluded.
Other Musical Instruments that are used in Indian Classical Music for Rhythm are Tabla, Dhol, Mridang, Dholki, etc
The common taals in Hindustani classical music Are:
Dadra - 6 matras
Rupak (7 matras)
X 2 3
X 2 3
Kaharvaa - 8 matras
Kaharvaa has countless variations, including dhumaali, "bhajani", and qawwali
X 2 0 3
X 0 2 0 3 4
X etc. like Ektaal
Ara Chautaal - 14 matras
X 2 0 3
Ka dhe te dhe te | dha - | ga di na | di na ta -
The theka becomes very ornamented in slow speeds. The "tete" of 13th matra can
Vibhags as for tintal
X 0 2 0
X 2 3
Dha gere naga | ga di | gere naga
X 2 0 3
The last four matras can be played "dha dha dhin dhin". Some tabla players put
X 0 2 3 0
X 2 0
Dhin -dha terekite | dhin dhin dhage terekite | tin -ta terekite | dhin dhin
X 2 0
X 2 0 3
Division Of Beats:
Sri Devghandhari Jaitsiri Bilawal Maru Sarang Maj Bihagra Todi Gaund Tukhari Malhar Gauri Wadhans Berari Ramkali Kedara Kanara Asa Sorath Tilang Nutnarain Bhairav Kalyan Gujri Dhanasri Suhi Mali Gaura Basant Parbhati Jaijaiwanti