Learn to Play > Lesson 4: The Basic Kirtan Beat

The concept of mrdanga beat variations

Almost all mrdanga beats have variations. These variations are still considered the same beat.

Actually, what makes a beat a beat is what's being played on the big end of the drum (the bayan). As long as the big end is being played the same way, even if played differently on the small end (the dayan), then it is considered a variation of the same beat.

For example, in the Basic Kirtan Beat there is one Ki and two Ges, spaced in a particular way. As long as the big end is played the same way, it's the same beat. If you play the big end the same but the small end differently then it's a variation of the same beat. There are as many variations of beats as there are waves in the ocean – nah... just kidding. I just said that cause it sounded cool. But seriously, every beat has a variation or two, and they ain't hard ta learn.

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