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The Flavor and Sound of Liberation

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  1. Introduction
  2. The tantric philosophy of Abhinavagupta
  3. The rasa theory
  4. The aesthetic of tabla music
  5. Conclusion

The versatile musical functionality of the tabla reflects its utility as an instrument of contemplation. As the rhythmic expression of the drone, the tabla focuses the listener's attention on the present musical moment. From a psychological perspective, ?the basis of listening is the detection of difference.? During a performance, this detection of difference comes into play as the recognition of creative changes in the background of tala and mode. ?A constant pattern [of] sound quickly produces a psychological reaction called habituation.? In the cyclical repetition of bol phrases that occurs in tabla accompaniment, the subtle alteration of bol patterns during the development of paltaa (variations) induces an active detection of difference against the habituated drone of the tabla.

[...] The Flavor and Sound of Liberation The versatile musical functionality of the tabla reflects its utility as an instrument of contemplation. As the rhythmic expression of the drone, the tabla focuses the listener's attention on the present musical moment. From a psychological perspective, basis of listening is the detection of difference.?[i] During a performance, this detection of difference comes into play as the recognition of creative changes in the background of tala and mode. constant pattern sound quickly produces a psychological reaction called habituation.?[ii] In the cyclical repetition of bol phrases that occurs in tabla accompaniment, the subtle alteration of bol patterns during the development of paltaa (variations) induces an active detection of difference against the habituated drone of the tabla. [...]


[...] And one of the most beautiful and challenging aspect of a kayada is that you are not allowed to use any other bols apart from ones in the theme and you must also make sure that all the variations rhyme with each other. In other words a chain is created. For example, if a theme ends with the phrase dhagetinagina, then all the variations must also end with the phrase dhagetinagina . The dhagetinagina will signal the end of the variation and on to the next one.[xx] Such chains of bol, which are expressed through verbal rhyme in parhant, become a melodic rhyme in practice: the pitches of a theme's starting phrase will be consonant with the pitches of the variation phrases that follow. [...]

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