Bol (music)

Bol (music)

A bol, is a mnemonic syllable. It is used in Indian music to define the tala, or rhythmic pattern, and is one of the most important parts of Indian rhythm. Bol is derived from the Hindi word "bolna", which means "to speak." The bol defines the concepts behind the classical tabla.

Mnemonic syllables are used in a variety of classical drumming situations in India. They are found in the pakhawaj, tabla, and mridangam. However since terms such as "solkattu" are used for the mridangam, and the pakhawaj has become rather rare, the term "bol" is mostly thought to apply to the tabla.

There is only a very loose connection between the bols and their technique. Sometimes different techniques are used because different musicians represent different gharanas, or musical styles. Sometimes different techniques are used in order to get a technical advantage (e.g., playing very fast). Sometimes different techniques are used simply because a different artistic statement is being made. For these reasons, it is impossible to categorically say that a certain bol will be executed in any one fashion, but many of the more common ways in which some common bols are played on a tabla are outlined below.

imple tabla strokes

*Dhaa - A combination of Taa and Ga.
*Dhi- This stroke varies with the context. Sometimes it is synonymous with Dhin, which is a combination of Tin and Ga.
*Din - This is an older version of Dhin. It is commonly found in compositions which are derived from the pakhawaj.
*Ga - A resonant stroke of the left hand while leaving the heel of the hand in contact with the drum.
*Gha - Same as Ga.
*Ghe - Same as Ga.
*Kin - Generally held to be equivalent to Ka.
*Ka - This is usually a flat, nonresonant stroke of the left hand. The heel of the hand is left on the drum, while the hand rotates to hit the drum, with the focus of the force being focussed between the tips and first joints of the fingers.
*Ki - same as Ka.
*Khat - an explosive sounding strike in which the fingers spread out as descending and strike hard on the gub, or central black part of the duggi.
*Na - Sometimes this is the same as Ne, sometimes it is the same as Naa.
*Naa - A sharp stroke of the right hand, against the keenar, or outer ring of the drum.
*Ne - The technique of Ne varies. It is often a nonresonant stroke of the right hand.
*Taa - A sharp stroke of the right hand. This stroke is sometimes played the same as Naa.
*Thun - Same as Tun.
*Ti - This stroke varies with the context. Sometimes it is synonymous with Tin.
*Tin - A more mellow stroke of the right hand.
*Tr - This is a flam of the right hand.
*Tu - Same as Tun.
*Tun - An open stroke of the right hand.
*Re - a strike played on the smaller drum with the ring finger striking the middle circle, or soor.
*Tit - a sharp sounding strike played in the same way as Taa but with the index finger striking hard and not rising from the head.
*Ti and T - Two similar strikes played in the center of the tabla usually used in drumroll type contexts but sometimes used to increase effect of music.

External links

* [ KKSongs Talamala] has recordings of tabla bols and good database of Hindustani talas.

* [ Instruments in Depth: Tabla: Drums of North India] , an online feature from [ Bloomingdale School of Music] (March, 2008)

* [ Chandra & David's Tablasite] contains detailed instructions on producing each bol.

* [ Colin Joye's Tabla Site] also has recordings of bols.

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