Learn to Play > Lesson 12:
The Standard Fast Beat

The Standard Fast Beat


Devotees from ISKCON Vancouver, Canada, arrive at the Fraser River in New Westminster, British Columbia, during the 1996 padayatra. The author can be seen with the yellow Balarama Mrdanga.

There's one standard fast beat, and then there's a bunch of other fast beats, too. We'll start with the most common of them all.

And, of course, there's variations of this beat, but I'll just teach you the one I play the most often.

The most important thing to know about this beat is that it makes a lot of noise. The big end (bayan) sound like this: boom Boom (pause) boom boom boom Boom. (That's two ge's followed by four ge's.) What the heck you do with the dayan, the small end, with this beat is pretty much up to you, but some things sound better than others. Don't just play the big end and leave the small end alone, as some people do. It looks silly that way. Here's the way I play it:

tidha Duk ta ge ge ge Dha

Now, that doesn't look that hard does it? Note that tidha is underlined. That means it's a tiri (a fast hand flick). We always underline tiri so that if it's combined with another beat (in this case a soft ge), then you will recognize it because tidha is underlined. In this case, the "ge" note strikes at the same time as the "ri" note, so we have written it as tidha. "Duk," you will recall from from Lesson 6, is a resonant-non-resonant note. "ti" + "ge" = "duk." We have written "Duk" with an uppercase "D" because it is accompanied with a loud Ge.

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