The Half-Speed Switcheroo: Rhythmic Cycle Practice in Exhaustive Detail

Let’s go back into the problems of working within rhythmic cycles (too many climate-change letters makes a dull blog, I know).

One of the most productive strategies for practicing rhythmic awareness is the half-speed switcheroo (note: I am not a nomenclatural traditionalist, so if you need paramparik lingo you’ll be disappointed). In this type of practice, a composed line is moved in and out of half-speed, first at the most important points of the taal (in tintal, that would of course be sam and khali), then at secondary, tertiary and quaternary points.

Let me demonstrate.

We’ll continue working with the simple sargam composition in Bhoopali:

The melody begins at khali, so the first shift into half speed will happen there, too. I’m just going to notate the transform using the first line; you can do the second line yourself (or make your students do it). Paper notation is useful but not really necessary; it’s a very good exercise to go through every aspect of this without writing anything down, keeping it all in your head, ears, voice and hands.

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