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The 35 Thaalams now in use

The thaalam itself is defined by the number and order in which the different angams appear. Although ancient texts speak of 108 thaalams, 7 thaalams are now in use - Dhruva, Matya, Roopaka, Jampa, Thriputa, Ata and Eka, each with its own definition of angams. Of the 3 possible angams laghu, dhrutham and anudhrutham only laghu can have variable number of aksharams, while dhrutham is always 2 aksharams and anudhrutham one aksharam. The number of aksharams in the laghu is defined by the jaathi (class) of the thaalam.

The jaathi names (which are prefixed to the thaalam) and their aksharams are:
Thisra or Thrisra - 3, Chathusra or Chathurasra - 4, Khanda - 5, Misra - 7, Sankeerna - 9. Thus for instance Thriputa thaalam consists of a laghu followed by two dhruthams. Thisra jaathi Thriputa thaalam, therefore, consists of a laghu with 3 aksharams and two dhruthams of 2 aksharams each, giving a total of 7 aksharams and the 'kriya' or action for laghu will be 3 aksharams (one clap or beat and 2 counts).

The 7 thaalams with 5 jaathis each give 35 thaalams. (These are sometimes referred to as 'Soolaadhi thaalams'.) To refer to a thaalam properly, we have to mention both its jaathi and the name ( ex. 'Chathusra Jaathi Matya thaalam' or 'Khanda Jaathi Ata thaalam' ). Though each of the 35 thaalamas has its own name, they are rarely used except in the case of Chathusra Jaathi Thriputa thaalam which is the most popular Aadhi thaalam with 8 aksharams and referred to by its own name. The examples on the previous page use Aadhi Thaalam. There are 2 thaalams Misra Chaapu and Khanda Chaapu which are also in use and which do not have the laghu, dhrutham structure. The next page contains details of structures of the 7 thaalams.

Click to go to a page containing Thaala Meter using which you can generate the 35 thaalams in different tempos and 2 kalai if required. Chaapu thaalams are also included and will be explained later.

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