Learn to Play > Lesson 3: The Basic Kirtan Beat

Introducing the pause note "-"

Before we introduce the next beat, we must introduce the concept of pause. When playing the mrdanga, it is often necessary to have a pause in the mantra. The pause is written as a dash "-" and when encountered, the word "pause" is pronounced.

During a pause, the mrdanga is not played, but remains silent.

We have already seen the pause note, although we did not call attention to it before. You saw it at the end of Prabhupada's Practice Beat and the Tuk-Dha Practice Beat, and it appeared as a dash "-"

I watched a movie the other night, and it was very powerful because there were periods where there was no music. Quite often, Silence is just as powerful as sound, especially when you play the mrdanga. The Pause note is extremely important for two reasons: It creates suspense and without it you'll never get the timing of the beat correct..

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