एकताल (iTrans: ek_taal) is among the common talas, or rhythmic cycles, used in Hindustani (North Indian) classical music. It is the equivalent in the Khayal style of the dhrupad tala चौेताल chautaal or चारताल chaar_taal.

It's easy to see why chaar_taal is called that:

धा    धा   | धिं     ता  | किट   धा   | धिं    ता  | किट  तक   | गदि   गन
dhaa dhaa | dhi.n taa | kiTa dhaa | dhi.n ta | kiTa taka | gadi gana
x         | 0         | 2         | 0        | 3         | 4

It has four (chaar) claps (taalii), which land at the first, fifth, ninth, and twelfth beats. Likewise, teen_taal has three (teen) claps, at the first, fifth, and thirteenth beats. But why is ek_taal called ek (one) taal? Like its dhrupad counterpart, it too has four claps, that land on exactly the same beats:

धिं     धिं    |  धागे    तिरकिट    |  तूँ    ना  |  कत्  ता  | धागे     तिरकिट   |  धिं    ना
dhi.n dhi.n | dhaage tirakiTa | tuu.N naa | kat taa | dhaage tirakiTa | dhi.n naa
x           | 0               | 2         | 0       | 3               | 4

Is it called that simply because chaar_taal was already taken? But that can't be, because in that case surely it could have been given a non-descriptive name as other talas such as ruupak or diip_cha.ndii have, which names don't specify the structure of the taal. As it is, ek_taal is a puzzling name because of the misdirection.

Is there a historical or theoretical explanation for the name of this tala, then?

1 Answer 1


From what I've found, ektaal is called that because it originated with having 1 tali and khali. I haven't been able to find the original placement of the clap, but the khali should always fall on 7.

  • Except it has four talis. That was what prompted the question in the first place.
    – verbose
    Apr 27, 2023 at 23:42
  • Yes it does, however from what I can find it didn't always, and so it was named when it had one tali and one khali, and the name didn't change as the rhythm did Apr 28, 2023 at 14:49
  • That's interesting. Could you provide some references?
    – verbose
    Apr 29, 2023 at 0:29
  • 1
    Sure! Here's one of them: sites.math.washington.edu/~gangolli/… (highlighted text included for my direct reference). I also talked to a tabla teacher and they mentioned that, which was my confirmation. Apr 30, 2023 at 17:39
  • Sorry about the delayed reply. That isn't a very convincing page; it's a random website and provides no evidence for the claim that it used to have only one tali. Some of the other information provided there is incomplete or not precisely correct either.
    – verbose
    Jan 11 at 8:14

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