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Laya Lahiri : Tala Terminologies Continued

Welcome back to the next episode of 'Laya Lahari'.  Continuing our discussion on tala terminologies, this episode throws light on some of the most important terms commonly used by Laya experts and what we have always wanted to get enlightened about!

I am sure all of us have heard the terms - 'Mudippu', 'Arudhi', 'Theermanam', 'Fahran', 'Mohara' and 'Korvai' before but are not fully sure about what they signify and how they differ from each other.

All the above mentioned terms can be generally considered as the names given for laya patterns played in various contexts during a kutcheri. 

Mudippu, Arudhi and Theermanam are laya patterns played during the intervals between pallavi and anupallavi or anupallavi and charanam.  Depending on the length of the pattern and the place where it occurs, it is denoted by a particular name.  Mudippu/Arudhi is used to denote the phrases played by the mridangam artiste during the brief vocal pause that occurs between pallavi/anupallavi/charanam where as Theermanam is the longer phrase played while a song is concluded. 

The terms Fahran, Mohara and Korvai are used more in the context of 'Thani Avartanam'.  After playing several intricate laya patterns, when the vidwan decides to conclude his tani, he would start with a Fahran pattern, then move on to play a Mohara and then conclude by playing the Korvai three times.  After the third time, the vocalist begins the neraval or the pallavi line and then goes on to conclude the item.

These terms would again be discussed along with mridangam demonstration by Suri in later episodes when we take up 'Tani Avartanam'.

We conclude the tala terminologies with this episode.  We will move on to more tala demonstrations in the weeks to come, do stay tuned!

Laya Lahiri section discusses the fundamentals of rhythm or laya, which forms an integral part of Carnatic music. Vidwan Thillaisthanam R. Suriyanarayanan explains the common and 'must-know' aspects of laya through his mridangam demonstrations. (Explanations in Tamil) This is by no means exhaustive but we hope this would be a good beginner's guide for rasikas to get started with percussion in Carnatic music.