Laya in Indian Music is the tempo of a musical piece. Laya is a simple concept though it is a complicated application. There have been some practical limits to usable tempo. Say for instance one beat every ten minutes would be slow that would make it musically useless. On the other end 100 beats per second would be so fast that it would be considered as a tone and not a rhythm. A general breakdown of Indian laya is as follows:
ati-ati-drut 640 beats-per-min
ati-drut 320 beats-per-min
drut 160 beats-per-min
madhya 80 beats-per-min
vilambit 40 beats-per-min
ati-vilambit 20 beats-per-min
ati-ati-vilambit 10 beats-per-min
The table looks easy in reality it is more complex. For example the designations of ati drut, ati vilambit are hardly ever heard among musicians. It has also been observed that vocalists use a slower definition of time as compared to instrumentalists. In a performance a laya changes throughout. These changes are inextricably linked to the various musical styles. Generally a short piece will maintain a steady pace. Generally most of the styles start at one tempo and thereby increasing the speed.
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(Last Updated on : 25-07-2011)
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