Tabla - Indian Musical Instrument
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Tabla is the most popular pair of drums in he Indian Sub continent. The origin of the tabla is assumed to have come from dividing a pakhawaj into two. While there are other assumptions that the tabla had a Persian origin from the pair of drums called the nebla. The Tabla has a special place in Indian music because every musician regardless of the dancers, singers, or instrumentalists have a place for Tabla.

Their dance, song, or instrumental pieces will go in vain if the basics of Tabla are unknown. Tabla originally, was an accompanying instrument. Ever since late Ustad Allarakha came to the West in the 1960's, tabla was not only greatly popularized, but it earned a title as a solo instrument.

Tabla is a pair of drums which consists of a small right hand drum called Dayan and a larger metal one called bayan. The tabla has an interesting construction. The Dayan (right hand drum) is almost always made of wood which is tuned to the fifth of the raga. Both heads are made of complex layers of goat skin with an iron black region known as the syahi.

The diameter of the ends of Tabla at the membrane may run from just under five inches to over six inches. The bayan (left hand drum) may be made of iron, aluminium, copper, steel, or clay; yet brass with a nickel or chrome plate is common. Undoubtedly the most striking and important characteristic of the tabla is the large black spot on each of the playing surfaces on its ends. These black spots are a mixture of gum, soot, and iron filings. Their function is to create the bell-like timbre that is characteristic of the instrument.

How to play a Tabla

Tabla produces sounds by bayan which are either open or closed. The index, third, and fourth fingers of the right hand are used, and one stroke calls for the hand to be almost flattened and the fingers to be straight and rocked sideways on the head. On the bayan, the index and middle fingers of the left hand are used, as well as the heel of the hand. A range of pitch can be produced on the bayan either by exerting pressure with the heel of the hand or by sliding the hand lightly across the head toward the paste. Exploitation of the range by a drummer in Tabla is greatly admired. Drummers usually keep a supply of powder nearby to sprinkle on the drumheads which make it easier to move the fingers and hands quickly.

The dahina is the higher and more precisely pitched of the pair. Its shape is rather like a pot fashioned on a potter`s wheel, wider at the bottom and tapering upward. Its widest point is about five to six and a half centimeters above its base. It is made of oak or rosewood. The bayan in the Tabla is tuned to a general pitch area approximately an octave lower. Bayan are made up of German silver, a silver-white alloy formed of copper, zinc, and nickel. Formerly, bayan were made of pottery, but professional performers would not use a pottery instrument in performance.

Popular Musicians

There are many fine tabla artists, although few have been soloists. Among those of note are the late Chatur Lai, Alia Rakha, Jnan Prakash Ghosh, Lateef Ahmed Khan, Zakir Hussein Khan, Fais Khan, Anand Gopal Bandyopadhya, Shamta Prasad, Krishan Maharaj, and Sharda Sahai.

Where to learn to play the Tabla

Address:1-121\86 ,vst colony,nacharam.
Phone: 04021758759
Mobile: 09848435654

Name: Gajender.shiwalker
Field: Tabla
Organization: Badruka school of music and dance.
Address: 11-6-559,devibagh,nampally.
City: Hyderabad
State: Andrapradesh
Zip: 500001
Country: India
Phone: 04023325842
Mobile: 09246109975

Amod Dandage

Tabla guru Based in Kolhapur, India
Also teaches in I Conduct classes all over India
Rates: 1000$ per hr

Ashoka - Trimurti International Music School
Lower Dharamkot
P.O. Bhagsunag
Dist. Kangra
Tehsil Dharamsala - 176 219
Himachal Pradesh - INDIA

Where to buy a Tabla

Leela Music House

Address: attn Mrs. Mahajan : 16040 St. Croix, Pierrefonds, Quebec - H9H 1J1, Canada
Telephone: (514) 620 1419

Rhythm Riders Music Productions & Rhythm Riders Music Institute

2 Ananddham Society, Kiran Park, New Wadaj,
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India - 380013
104 Abhirath Complex, Sardar Patel Colony,
Naranpura, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India - 380014
Tel: 079 2768 2666

Raj Musicals

Mailing Address:
2188/6 main road west Patel nagar,
Opp. metro rail pillar no. 224,
New Delhi-110008, INDIA
By Phone :
Tel. (Shop) : +91 11 25700413, +91 11 65492392
Tel. (Res.) : +91 11 25393877 (Mob) : +91 9810230320 (S. Raj), +91 9899272572 (Sanjeev)
By Email :,