This musical time of Tala can have infinite number of variations according to the various characteristics of rhythm and the number of beats in each. In a specific sense it means only the accented beats on the Matras, of which there are several in a rhythmic composition, Matra is the division of time with regular intervals either sounded or otherwise, while a beat is that particular part which is sounded either with claps or with one solid object struck against another. The existence of matra may be felt rather than heard.
But a beat must be heard and this beat also we call taal We need three lines to bound a space. Likewise we need three beats in order for a Taal to exist. Taal regulates, stabilizes and forms the basis of the act of singing, playing of instrument and dancing. It creates the base, foundation of music. Taal creates dynamism and life in any type of music. Taal organizes the music, the act of singing, playing instrument and dancing. Music is embellished and is set in a Taal.
A Taal is well structured with tali and khali, fixed number of boks(Theka) and gives a unique direction or flow in music, according to number of matras. Taal gives a singer the liberty to sing freely as well as a restriction, that is bound the singer to a certain range, provided not to break the rules if Raag and Taal that is Sam, khali, swar. There is nothing real in Art. Music is pleasurable only through its melody and rhythm (Swar and Taal). Swar and Taal are like two wheels of a cart. Taal is only rhythm mode, based on Theka, that is moving from one matra to another.
A theka consists of basic syllables of a particular Taal, by which a Taal is being recognized. Taal make use of Kriya, that is action. With each kriya the rest period is unified, when the rest period is equal, with action, it forms laya or rhythm. The rest period between 1 & 2, 2 & 3, 3 & 4, are equal, it becomes uniform laya. The essence of this is that Taal which consists of a specific time span, built up sounded and soundless actions, is the means for correctly measuring the time taken by the act of singing. Talashtala Prarishthayamiti dhatorghanismritah