What is Taal?

A Taal is a repeating cycle of certain beats called Bols. A cycle consists of a fixed number of beats. For example Dadra Taal contains 6 beats and Teen Tal has 16 beats. The first beat is called the “Sum”. Sum is easily noticeable because both the percussionist and the vocalist accentuate it during the performance.

Just like a vocalist sings Swars, a percussionist playing Tabla produces certain distinct sounds called “Bols” such as “Dha”, “Dhin”, “Na”, “Tin”. Frequently, the percussionist will play Bols suitable for the composition being sung.

Just like the vocalist, the percussionist will demonstrate spontaneity in the percussion performance. The percussionist may show variations, Kaydas or Tukdas and then come back to the original or the standard Taal.