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Takadimi system of rhythm solfege

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by Andy Mopley, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    Hi all

    Looking for someone out there who is familiar with this and can answer a few questions, for me. I have found this chart, which is very useful

    chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/http://www.takadimi.net/documents/Takadimi short guide for Web.pdf

    but what I am not sure of is this:

    For anything 4/4, 3/4, simple meter, non compound rhythm, is it always the case that ta ka di mi will cover every phrase / possibility?
    Are more syllables only used where compound rhythms are used, eg 6/4, 6/8 etc?
    Are there any youtube links that are particularly good at explaining, as per the link I have included?

    Thanks for the help.
  2. Tom Bomb

    Tom Bomb Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2014
    This may, or may not, be helpful, getting off the page. Very interesting, insightful, and rewarding, at any rate :)
  3. Sean Riddle

    Sean Riddle Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2013
    Ventura, California
    While I’m not an expert in Carnatic or Hindustani music, I have found that TaKaDiMi for 4/4 and TaKiTe for 3/4 works totally well in translating rhythms in these time signatures. These syllables are part of the Solkattu rhythmic solfege in the South Indian music tradition. I don’t know how to fully answer your question as I haven’t studied this music much, but I do think these syllables can be used in common and compound meters. More syllables can be used when the phrase within any time signature is longer than 7 beats. So 8 8th notes in 4/4 would be counted as TaKaDiMe TaKaJoNu.

    For just counting the pulse of a piece, you can also use the syllables Northern Indian musicians use to count their Talas. In my own practice I often use solkattu to better understand a rhythm I’m having trouble understanding, as I’ve found it most effective for that.

    From the little I know about Indian classical music, they are always feeling the Tala under whatever they are playing. A master mridangam Poovalur Sriji once said in a masterclass that without a big beat to feel, he wouldn’t be able to the rhythms he usually can.

    Here’s 2 good videos I’ve found that give a short demonstration on Solkattu. I hope all my previous rambling makes sense!

  4. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
  5. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    Yes, interesting, thanks for posting!
    Tom Bomb likes this.
  6. dperrott


    Oct 3, 2005
    Lot of people use this method when playing complex rhythmic music. The guy in the video David P Nelson has a book out called the Solkattu Method. It's about learning South Indian music. Ronan Guilfoyle talks about it in a general rhythmic in his book Creative Rhythmic Concepts
    Andy Mopley likes this.
  7. Sean Riddle

    Sean Riddle Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2013
    Ventura, California
    So from how it was explained to me, the reasons you’d say TaKaDiMe TaKaJoNu for an 8 beat phrase is to first clearly show that this phrase is 8 beats long and to simply not twist your tongue!
    I think for your example I would recite the rhythm as TaKa TaKiTe.

    Like Dperrot said, the greatest thing I’ve learned from all of this is playing rhythmically complex music with much more ease and confidence. Before I began studying music from Ghana, the Balkans, and India, I could barely hang in some very complex rhythmic pieces. Now it’s made music like that so much easier to play and is becoming one of my main interests.
    Andy Mopley likes this.
  8. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    The great trumpet player Don Cherry used "gamala" for 3 and "taki" for two as a simplified system for western musicians. Even though I am not very interested in music with repeating rhythms, in my practice I love the process of working out rhythms from the math and working them into something more musical. With the heads to standards the lyrics can help, in other case these syllables can help the process.
    jazzcat_13 likes this.

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