Welcome to the course!

The Three Waves – A summary of the workshops

To give you an idea of what is covered in each wave, here is a summary. There is also a fun quiz to take before you even start the course!


For the first wave, we selected a classical Indian ‘teentaal’ 16 beat cycle.

Ellie’s student Tasha Burns joined us and approached the challenge with openness and maturity, getting the true feel for this music. We think she demonstrates how, at any age, you can drift into this experience ‘from cold’ and without preconceptions or concerns.

At 40bpm it’s a slow start to the process but it establishes deep listening, making small adjustments and shows cross rhythms emerging from a beat cycle in Indian classical music.

In this wave you will also learn the basics about the tabla; Mendi answers questions from Ellie’s other student, Ruth Lee, and plays a solo to demonstrate some of the tones. 


For Wave 2, we chose our original track The Deer, which is based on the ‘dadra’ rhythmic cycle; you will learn how to clap it, feel it and play along with it on the tabla.

Ruth showed how the secure framework of the rhythmic cycle allowed her to feel the space in the music and rely on her musicality to feel where to place things inside the beat.

The tabla really resonated with Ruth and her organic musical creation to the dadra beat proved to Mendi and Ellie that the online workshop was accessible and beneficial.

At 114bpm it’s got a lot of movement and energy to it, whilst still feeling very relaxed. This beat is used a lot in Indian folk music.

In this wave you learn more about how the tabla plays around within a rhythmic cycle and how the instruments and the players feed off each other. For example, initiating a rhythmic subdivision at the harp, taking energy from a change in feel from the tabla and using trust in yourself and the other musicians place motifs freely at different points of the beat cycle.


With our original composition ‘Lord Ganesh Mantra’, we use the ‘kaharva’ 8 beat cycle with a Bhangra feel to explore a steady ‘4/4’ feel across three distinct sections of a piece:

1. ‘Single’ time, which has a relaxed feel; 2. ‘Double’ time where the tabla brings energy with playing notes exactly twice as fast; 3. A heavy Bhangra groove

This wave is most structured and the piece itself has a clear structure, making it a fun, uplifting (easier!) end to The Three Waves.

Feel the 8 bar phrases and join in with the 2 bar ‘response’ each time. Then, play the piece again, filling in the first 6 bars with the written out melody or your own wonderful ideas!

NB You will not necessarily find a worldwide agreement on those rhythmic definitions from the quiz!

UKHA Three Waves A SUMMARY.pdf
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