- Metric cycles are found in the northern Hindustani system as well
as in the southern Karnatak system, but only in the first are they articulated
by a fairly fixed series of ,
or quasi-onomatopoeic syllables with corresponding drum strokes (e.g.
etc.). When repeated cyclically these syllabic/stroke patterns are known
meaning "support": an appropriate word in view of their essential function
as supporting or accompanying patterns. Among traditional (that is,
hereditary) Hindustani musicians I have found that the
is the primary signifier of a ,
not the clapping pattern. Since no equivalent fixed pattern exists in
Karnatak music the gestures dominate there, often to the extent that
a knowledgeable audience joins the musicians in unerring sequences of
claps, waves, and finger counts. This is rarely the case with a Hindustani
concert. The difference, then, is that Hindustani meter is an internal
notion that is externalized by the
while Karnatak meter is an internal notion that is externalized by clapping.
- The notable exception in Hindustani music is ,
which retains much of its gestural language: in this older, and now
much rarer, genre accompanied by the
there was almost certainly no concept equivalent to ,
and the early twentieth-century scholar V.N. Bhatkhande's invented term
has no currency (I have never heard it used). As is the case in Karnatak
drummers perform compositions and improvisations simultaneously, and
so rather than repeated cycles of fixed
patterns it is the hand gestures that provide (i.e. externalize) the
necessary temporal markers. It seems likely
that both the concept and the practice of ,
if not the term, were borrowed by the
in recent times.
Figure 1) associated with traditional
are really adaptations or extensions of a short
(composed sequence) that ends with a standard cadential figure .
As markers of the internal structure of the
these patterns are inconsistent, otherwise the position of the claps
(X, 2, 3 etc.) and waves (0) would have more in common. (Note, in particular,
is marked by a clap and a wave in
and by two claps in ).
I would like to say that these
have probably become fixed by a mixture of habit and the scholarly (and/or
modern didactic) practice of writing them down, but more evidence is
are thought to be linked to Sanskrit verse whose agogic organization
is essentially an additive, or quantitative, system of short (S) and
long (L) syllables: the short, marked as a clap, is
half the duration of the long, marked by a clap plus a wave. In this
system, though, each clap and wave in
is given its own ,
is clapped and played as 3+2+2, but is rationalized as 2+1+2+2, or LSLL.
and structure are hotly debated, is an exception that can be explained
by the fact that it was borrowed from the folk music of the Mathura
region (the homeland of Lord Krishna).