This is probably a very basic question, but I'm wondering how one goes about systematically figuring out the jaathi of a song. I don't exactly have formal training in Carnatic music. I am a Bharatanatyam dancer, so normally when learning a dance, I can figure out the jaathi from the basic steps that the dance is built up of. But, I don't know how to identify it by just listening to the music.

For example, I always get Thisra and Sankeerna jaathis messed up, which perhaps isn't surprising since 3*3 = 9? But I get confused about others as well.


2 Answers 2


If it is eka thalam(1 beat per cycle), then it is hard to tell the difference between thisram(3* 1bpc) and sankeernam(9* 1 bpc), just by the way singer sings.

However, if there is a percussionist, lets says mridangam player, she will supposedly follow the pattern ta-ki-tha , ta-ki-tha, ta-ki-tha for thisram. However, in sankheernam, they follow the pattern, ta-ka-thi-mi ta-ka-tha-ki-tha.

Here 3 and 5 are relative primes, and if u identify, a 5 akshara kalas played by mridangist, you can differentiate.

All this is possible in theory. However, I haven't really done any of this in a real concert.


I guess you mean "jaathi of the suladi talam" when you say "jaathi of a song". Most songs are in adi talam (chathushra jaathi) or rupaka talam (chathushra jaathi again) or kanda chapu or misra chapu talams (there's no jaathi for the chapu talams). If you can sense the talam, you'd have also sensed the jaathi. Can you give examples of songs/music to explain your question more?

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