TAS Mani – the researcher and author

South Indian Percussion music has evolved over centuries and the tradition has been passed on from generation through families which have been professionals in Music. Artists maintain the tradition and improvise in the same through their style of playing and presentation. However the lessons and fingering techniques are taken form the tradition.

Mani has widely moved out of this tradition and has created a unique fingering technique and new format of lessons which is scientific logical and easy to learn and pleasing to present. The work he has done in the field of creating new “Sholkats” is very inventive. The ‘Sholkat’ is an integral part of any rhythmic cycle. Sholkat is a percussion phrase which is played at the end of every rhythmic cycle and provides a punchy ending to every cycle. Sholkat is also a critical improvisation of percussion rhythms and cycles. The quality of improvisations depends on the quality of sholkats and the percussionist capability to produce sholkat with different lengths of letters (example: 8 beat cycle comprising 32 letters). Usually the limitation of the basic lessons available to form these sholkats restricts the quality and length. Mani has done a total displacement in this category where he has created new combintions of letters to form these sholkats. The fingering for these is very innovative and the methodology of creating these sholkats allows the player to create with ease any length of the sholkat (with as many letters as he wishes) thus enlarging his improvisations scope on the percussion music. This new methodology is helpful for both professionals and learners.

There are special CDs which Mani has published and books published by him incorporate these in the lessons.

Mani has published five volumes of lessons “Sogasuga Mridanga Talamu” which are text books on mridangam which contain lessons for beginners and takes them through to professional level. The books also provide the fingering technique which also enables initial self learning.

Mani’s lessons are simple to understand, structured to provide a gradual learning process and rich in musical quality. This scholarly work is appreciated by all learners and professionals of South Indian Percussion music.