The tala keeps track of the number of beats in a cycle. Once the tala is started, the number of beats per minute cannot change. This speed of the piece of music is referred to as the kaala pramana of the piece. Hence, for a given piece of music if the number of notes per beat remains constant then there is no feeling of change in tempo. The tempo of the music can be varied, while keeping the kaala pramana the same, by varying the number of notes per beat. Various ways of effecting a change in tempo (not kaala pramana) are:

The baseline speed of a piece of music (determined by the number of notes per beat and number of beats per minute) is referred to as

In colloquial language, reference is made to

1st speed: 1 Aksharam or Note per beat – So we get (1 X 8) = 8 Aksharams in 1 cycle of Adi Tala

2nd speed: 2 Aksharams per beat – (2 X 8) = 16 Akshrams in 1 cycle of Adi Tala

3rd speed: 4 Aksharams per beat – (4 X 8) = 32 Aksharams in 1 cycle of Adi Tala

The basics of carnatic music are usually performed in three speeds.

Types of Kaalas:

Assume that a piece of music is originally set to two notes per beat, i.e.,

|| SR GM PD NS | SN DP | MG RS ||

The Sama kaala when slowed down to half the speed is called

|| S R G M | P D | N S || || S N D P | M G | R S ||

The Sama kaala when sped up to twice the speed is called

|| SRGM PDNS SNDP MGRS | SRGM PDNS | SNDP MGRS ||

The Sama kaala when sped up to one and half times the speed is called as

|| SRG MPD NSS NDP | MGR SSR | GMP DNS ||

|| SND PMG RSS RGM | PDN SSN | DPM GRS ||

The Sama kaala when sped up to two and half times is called

|| SRGMP DNSSN DPMGR SSRGM | PDNSS NDPMG | RSSRG MPDNS ||

|| SNDPM GRSSR GMPDN SSNDP | MGRSS RGMPD | NSSND PMGRS ||

The Sama kaala when sped up to three times the speed is called

|| SRGMPD NSSNDP MGRSSR GMPDNS | SNDPMG RSSRGM | PDNSSN DPMGRS||

(The Sama kaala is taken as two notes per beat for demonstration, although, it is usually sung with one note per beat.)

The basic speed variations are Keezh kaala, Sama kaala, Mel kaala, Tishram, Khandam, and Mel kaala Tishram. Various combinations of speed variations can be worked out to make music more interesting. The table lists other speeds that many great musicians are able to carry off like anu Keezh kaala (one-fourth the speed of Sama kaala), Keezh kaala Tishram (three-fourths the speed of Sama kaala), Mishram (three and half times the speed of Sama kaala), Ati mel kaala (four times the speed of Sama kaala), and Sankeernam (four and half times the speed of Sama kaala) and some others.

The table below summarizes the speed variations, where:

f- is the speed factor ratio of increase/decrease in speed from Sama kaala,

c- is the cycles completed fraction for one cycle of Sama kaala,

r- are the repetitions of number of times the original cycle of Sama kaala must be repeated for the tala to be completed and

T- are the number of cycles completed in the new kaala.

(a).

(b)

In a song there can be both Athitha and Anaagatha, where it is called "

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