Chapu Thala – Varieties

By Prof P. Sambamurthy

In addition to the Misra Chapu , Khanda Chapu ,Tisra Chapu and Sankeerna Chapu varieties some other varieties of this thala have existed in indigenous music. The term Chapu itself is a changed from of the Tamil word Sayppu. Sayppu means literally, bent. Of the two component angas constituting a Sayppu thala, the duration value of one is shorter than that of the other. Figuratively speaking, when the two angas are weighed on a scale, the arm of the lever on the side of the angas of longer duration will go down. Sayppu is thus a derivative name. The word Sayppu is used even now in Malayalam. The finger-count as a kriya has its origin in folk lime-measures and Desi thalas and later assimilated in classical music. Laghu jathi bheda is found in folk music. The Kuru Jhampa thala takes the angas: Drutam, Khanda laghu and Tisra laghu O2 5 3 = 10 akshara kalas.

Dhruva Chapu is a thala with 7 akshara kalas for an avartha. In effect, it is counted as a Tisra laghu followed by a Chatusra laghu.
(In medieval terminology, the term laya signified a ghata or beat and guru, the finger-count. The Dhruva Chapu is followed by a laya ± three guru’s)

Mathima Chapu is a thala with akshara kalas for an Avartha. In effect, it is counted as a drutam followed by a Tisra laghu and thus it is the same as the thala, Tisra Rupaka. (In medieval terminology, the word virãmam signified the visarjitam or the waving of the hand. Thus the Mathima chapu is described as laya + viramam followed by a laya + two gurus). Rupaka chapu is a thala with 3 akshara kalas for an Avartha. This is a laya + two gurus in the medieval terminology and is the same as the modern Tisra jathi Eka thala. Jhampa chapu is a thala with 5 akshara kalas for an avartha. It is reckoned as laya+ viramam followed by two beats and a viramam. In effect it is counted with a drutam, anu-drutam and a drutam 0 0 Ata chapu is a thala with 7 akshara kalas for an Avartha. In effect it is the same as the Khanda jathi Rupaka thala but with the angas reversed. Thus it is reckoned as a Khanda laghu followed by a drutam. (In medieval terminology its kriya is a laya followed by four gurus and a laya and viramam

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