Tāl in Hindustani Music: Examples

Tāl is the rhythmic framework in Hindustani music and provides a time structure for rendition and repetition of melodic and rhythmic phrases, motives and improvisations. A tāl comprises of fixed-length cycles, each of which is called an āvart. An āvart is divided into basic time units called mātrā. The mātrās of a tāl are grouped into sections, sometimes with unequal time-spans, called vibhāg. Vibhāgs are indicated through the hand gestures of a thāli (clap) and a khāli (wave). The beginning of an āvart is referred to as sam. The thāli and khāli pattern of a tāl decides the accents of the tāl. The sam has the strongest accent (with certain exceptions) followed by the thāli instants. The khāli instants have the least accent. There are also tempo classes called lay in Hindustani music which can vary between ati-vilaṁbit (very slow), vilaṁbit (slow), madhyam (medium), dhr̥t (fast) to ati-dhr̥t (very fast). 
On this page, we provide several annotated audio examples for different tāls. We describe the structure of each tāl. Along with the audible clicks to indicate the progression thorugh a tāl, we also provide a visualization that shows the structure of the tala and marks the progression through the cycles. The figures below also show the sam (shown as x), and the vibhāg, indicated with thāli/khāli pattern using numerals. A khāli is shown with a 0, while the thālis are shown with non-zero numerals. In the video, the waveform (top panel) and the log spectrogram (bottom panel) show the tāl annotations as 'a/b' where 'a' denotes the mātrā and 'b' denotes the vibhāg. The sam has a different click compared to the other annotations. Details specific to a particular tāḷas is provided when necessary. 
The following tāls are illustrated here, with audio examples for some of them:


Each cycle of tīntāl consists of 16 mātrās divided into 4 vibhāgs. Tīntāl has a structure of "X 2 0 3", where X corresponds to the sam as shown in the figure below.  
Tīntāl in madhya lay
Each vibhāg has an audible click to track the progression of the tāl.
This excerpt is from:
Album: The Art of the Indian Dilruba
Artist: Baluji Shrivastav
Track: Raga Shyam Kalyan


Each cycle of ēktāl consists of 12 mātrās divided into 6 vibhāgs. The vibhāgs of ēktāl can be shown as "X 0 2 0 3 4", where X denotes the sam, as shown in the figure below. 
Here are two short excerpts illustrating ēktāl in vilaṁbit and dhr̥t lay. Note the change in structure for dhr̥t lay. 
Ēktāl in vilaṁbit lay
The mātrās are marked with numbers from 1-12. Each mātrā has an audible click to track the progression of the tāl.
This excerpt is from:
Album: Immortal Series: Sarangi Maestro
Artist: Sabri Khan
Track: Raag Puriya Kalyan
Ēktāl in dhr̥t lay
Each vibhāg has an audible click. We can clearly see that the vibhāg structure of ēktāl change when compared to vilaṁbit lay - dhr̥t ēktāl is often counted as X 2 0 3 with each vibhāg containing three mātrās
This excerpt is from:
Album: The Art of the Indian Dilruba
Artist: Baluji Shrivastav
Track: Raga Sampurna Malkauns

Rūpak tāl

Each cycle of rūpak tāl consists of 7 mātrās, divided into 3 unequal vibhāg structure "X(0) 1 2" as shown in the figure below. Please note that the sam of rūpak is a khāli and not accented. 


Each cycle of Jhaptāl has 10 mātrās with four unequal vibhāg with structure "X 2 0 3" as shown in figure below. 





Ādhā cautāl

Cārtāl kī savārī







Pan̄cam savārī