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Not to be confused with Tablah. Tabla_sentence_0

For other uses, see Tabla (disambiguation). Tabla_sentence_1


Percussion instrumentTabla_header_cell_0_0_0
ClassificationTabla_header_cell_0_1_0 Membranophone percussion instrumentTabla_cell_0_1_1
Hornbostel–Sachs classificationTabla_header_cell_0_2_0 211.12

(Sets of instruments in which the body of the drum is dish- or bowl-shaped)Tabla_cell_0_2_1

DevelopedTabla_header_cell_0_3_0 18th century, North India (modern tabla)Tabla_cell_0_3_1
Playing rangeTabla_header_cell_0_4_0
Related instrumentsTabla_header_cell_0_5_0

The Tabla is a pair of twin hand drums from the Indian subcontinent. Tabla_sentence_2

Since the 18th century, tabla has been the principal percussion instrument in Hindustani classical music, where it may be played solo, as accompaniment with other instrument and vocals, and as a part of larger ensembles. Tabla_sentence_3

Tabla is also frequently played in popular and folk music performances in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. Tabla_sentence_4

The tabla is also an important instrument in the bhakti devotional traditions of Hinduism and Sikhism, such as during bhajan and kirtan singing. Tabla_sentence_5

It is one of the main qawali instrument used by Sufi musicians. Tabla_sentence_6

Tabla also features in dance performances such as Kathak. Tabla_sentence_7

The name tabla likely comes from tabl, the Persian and Arabic word for drum. Tabla_sentence_8

The ultimate origin of the musical instrument is contested by scholars, though some trace its evolution from indigenous musical instruments of the Indian subcontinent. Tabla_sentence_9

The tabla consists of two small drums of slightly different sizes and shapes. Tabla_sentence_10

Each drum is made of hollowed out wood, clay or metal. Tabla_sentence_11

The smaller drum (daya) is used for creating treble and tonal sounds, while the primary function of the larger drum (bayan) is for producing bass. Tabla_sentence_12

They are laced with hoops, thongs and wooden dowels on its sides. Tabla_sentence_13

The dowels and hoops are used to tighten the tension of the membranes for tuning the drums. Tabla_sentence_14

The playing technique is complex and involves extensive use of the fingers and palms in various configurations to create a wide variety of different sounds and rhythms, reflected in mnemonic syllables (bol). Tabla_sentence_15

Origins Tabla_section_0

The history of tabla is unclear, and there are multiple theories regarding its origins. Tabla_sentence_16

There are two groups of theories, one that traces its origins to Muslim and Mughal invaders of the Indian subcontinent, the other traces it to indigenous origins. Tabla_sentence_17

One example of the latter theory is carvings in Bhaja Caves. Tabla_sentence_18

However, clear pictorial evidence of the drum emerges only from about 1745, and the drum continued to develop in shape until the early 1800s. Tabla_sentence_19

Indian origins Tabla_section_1

The Indian theory traces the origin of tabla to indigenous ancient civilization. Tabla_sentence_20

The stone sculpture carvings in Bhaja Caves depict a woman playing a pair of drums, which some have claimed as evidence for the ancient origin of the tabla in India. Tabla_sentence_21

A different version of this theory states that the tabla acquired a new Arabic name during the Islamic rule, having evolved from ancient Indian puskara drums. Tabla_sentence_22

The evidence of the hand-held puskara is founded in many temple carvings, such as at the 6th and 7th century Muktesvara and Bhuvaneswara temples in India. Tabla_sentence_23

These arts show drummers who are sitting, with two or three separate small drums, with their palm and fingers in a position as if they are playing those drums. Tabla_sentence_24

However, it is not apparent in any of these ancient carvings that those drums were made of the same material and skin, or played the same music, as the modern tabla. Tabla_sentence_25

The textual evidence for similar material and methods of construction as tabla comes from Sanskrit texts. Tabla_sentence_26

The earliest discussion of tabla-like musical instrument building methods are found in the Hindu text Natyashastra. Tabla_sentence_27

This text also includes descriptions of paste-patches (syahi) such as those found on a tabla. Tabla_sentence_28

The Natyashastra also discusses how to play these drums. Tabla_sentence_29

The South Indian text Silappatikaram, likely composed in the early centuries of 1st millennium CE, describes thirty types of drums along with many stringed and other instruments. Tabla_sentence_30

These are, however, called pushkara; the name tabla appears in later periods. Tabla_sentence_31

Muslim and Mughal origins Tabla_section_2

This theory is based on the etymological links of the word tabla to Arabic word tabl which means "drum". Tabla_sentence_32

Beyond the root of the word, this proposal points to the documentary evidence that the Muslim armies had hundreds of soldiers on camels and horses carrying paired drums as they invaded the Indian subcontinent. Tabla_sentence_33

They would beat these drums to scare the residents, the non-Muslim armies, their elephants and chariots, that they intended to attack. Tabla_sentence_34

However, the war drums did not look or sound anything like tabla, they were large paired drums and were called naqqara (noise, chaos makers). Tabla_sentence_35

Another version states that Amir Khusraw, a musician patronized by Sultan Alauddin Khalji invented the tabla when he cut an Awaj drum, which used to be hourglass shaped, into two parts. Tabla_sentence_36

However, no painting or sculpture or document dated to his period supports it with this evidence nor it was found in the list of musical instruments that were written down by Muslim historians. Tabla_sentence_37

For example, Abul Fazi included a long list of musical instruments in his Ain-i-akbari written in the time of the 16th century Mughal Emperor Akbar, the generous patron of music. Tabla_sentence_38

Abul Fazi's list makes no mention of tabla. Tabla_sentence_39

The third version credits the invention of tabla to the 18th century musician, with a similar sounding name Amir Khusru, where he is suggested to have cut a Pakhawaj into two to create tabla. Tabla_sentence_40

Miniature paintings of this era show instruments that sort of look like tabla. Tabla_sentence_41

This theory implies that tabla emerged from within the Muslim community of Indian subcontinent and were not an Arabian import. Tabla_sentence_42

However, scholars such as Neil Sorrell and Ram Narayan state that this legend of cutting a pakhawaj drum into two to make tabla drums "cannot be given any credence". Tabla_sentence_43

History Tabla_section_3

Drums and Talas are mentioned in the Vedic era texts. Tabla_sentence_44

A percussion musical instrument with two or three small drums, held with strings, called Pushkara (also spelled Pushkala) were in existence in pre-5th century Indian subcontinent along with other drums such as the Mridang, but these are not called tabla then. Tabla_sentence_45

The pre-5th century paintings in the Ajanta Caves, for example, show a group of musicians playing small tabla-like upright seated drums, a kettle-shaped mridang drum and cymbals. Tabla_sentence_46

Similar artwork with seated musicians playing drums, but carved in stone, are found in the Ellora Caves, and others. Tabla_sentence_47

A type of small Indian drums, along with many other musical instruments, are also mentioned in Tibetan and Chinese memoirs written by Buddhist monks who visited the Indian subcontinent in the 1st millennium CE. Tabla_sentence_48

The pushkala are called rdzogs pa (pronounced dzokpa) in Tibetan literature. Tabla_sentence_49

The pushkara drums are also mentioned in many ancient Jainism and Buddhism texts, such as Samavayasutra, Lalitavistara and Sutralamkara. Tabla_sentence_50

Various Hindu and Jain temples, such as the Eklingji in Udaipur, Rajasthan show stone carvings of a person playing tabla-like small pair of drums. Tabla_sentence_51

Small drums were popular during the Yadava rule (1210 to 1247) in the south, at the time when Sangita Ratnakara was written by Sarangadeva. Tabla_sentence_52

Madhava Kandali, 14th century Assamese poet and writer of Saptakanda Ramayana, lists several instruments in his version of "Ramayana", such as tabal, jhajhar, dotara, vina, rudra-vipanchi, etc. (meaning that these instruments existed since his time in 14th century or earlier).There is recent iconography of the tabla dating back to 1799. Tabla_sentence_53

This theory is now obsolete with iconography carvings found in Bhaje caves providing solid proof that the tabla was used in ancient India. Tabla_sentence_54

There are Hindu temple carvings of double hand drums resembling the tabla that date back to 500 BCE. Tabla_sentence_55

The tabla was spread widely across ancient India. Tabla_sentence_56

A Hoysaleshwara temple in Karnataka shows a carving of a woman playing a tabla in a dance performance. Tabla_sentence_57

According to classifications of musical instruments defined in the Natyashastra, Tabla is classified in the Avanadha Vadya category of rhythm instruments which are made by capping an empty vessel with a stretched skin. Tabla_sentence_58

Construction and features Tabla_section_4

Musical notation Tabla_section_5

Basic strokes Tabla_section_6

Tabla's repertoire and techniques borrow many elements from Pakhavaj and Mridangam, which are played sideways using one's palms. Tabla_sentence_59

The physical structure of these drums also share similar components: the smaller pakhavaj head for the dayan, the naqqara kettledrum for the bayan, and the flexible use of the bass of the dholak. Tabla_sentence_60

Tabla is played from the top and uses "finger tip and hand percussive" techniques allowing more complex movements. Tabla_sentence_61

The rich language of table is made up of permutations of some basic strokes. Tabla_sentence_62

These basic strokes are divided into 5 major categories along with a few examples: Tabla_sentence_63


  1. Bols played on the dayan (right / treble drum)Tabla_item_0_0
    • Na: striking the edge of the syahi with the last two fingers of the right handTabla_item_0_1
    • Ta or Ra: striking sharply with the index finger against the rim while simultaneously applying gentle pressure to the edge of the syahi with the ring finger to suppress the fundamental vibration modeTabla_item_0_2
    • Tin: placing the last two fingers of the right hand lightly against the syahi and striking on the border between the syahi and the maidan (resonant)Tabla_item_0_3
    • Te: striking the center of the syahi with the middle finger in Delhi gharana, or using middle, ring, and little fingers together in Varanasi style (non resonant)Tabla_item_0_4
    • Ti: striking the center of the syahi with the index finger (non resonant)Tabla_item_0_5
    • Tun: striking the center of the syahi with the index finger to excite the fundamental vibration mode (resonant)Tabla_item_0_6
    • TheRe: striking of syahi with palmTabla_item_0_7
  2. Bols played on bayan (left / bass drum)Tabla_item_0_8
    • Ghe: holding wrist down and arching the fingers over the syahi; the middle and ring-fingers then strike the maidan (resonant)Tabla_item_0_9
    • Ga: striking the index fingerTabla_item_0_10
    • Ka, Ke, or Kat: (on bayan) striking with the flat palm and fingers (non resonant)Tabla_item_0_11
  3. Bols played on both the drums on unisonTabla_item_0_12
    • Dha: combination of Na and (Ga or Ghe)Tabla_item_0_13
    • Dhin: combination of Tin and (Ga or Ghe)Tabla_item_0_14
  4. Bols played one after another in a successive mannerTabla_item_0_15
    • Ti Re Ki TaTabla_item_0_16
    • TaK = Ta + KeTabla_item_0_17
  5. Bols played as flamTabla_item_0_18
    • Ghran: Ge immediately followed by NaTabla_item_0_19
    • TriKe: Ti immediately followed by Ke and TeTabla_item_0_20

Tabla Talas Tabla_section_7

Tala defines the musical meter of a composition. Tabla_sentence_64

It is characterized by groups of matras in a defined time cycle. Tabla_sentence_65

Talas are composed of basic elements, bols. Tabla_sentence_66

Matra defines the number of beats within a rhythm. Tabla_sentence_67

Talas can be of 3 to 108 matras. Tabla_sentence_68

They are played in repeated cycles. Tabla_sentence_69

The starting beat of each cycle is known as Sum. Tabla_sentence_70

This beat is often represented by a special symbol such as 'X'. Tabla_sentence_71

This is the most emphasized beat of the cycle. Tabla_sentence_72

Other emphasized parts of the tala which are represented by Taali (clap), while Khali (empty) portions are played in a relaxed manner. Tabla_sentence_73

They are represented by a 'O' in Vishnu Narayanan Bhatkhande notation. Tabla_sentence_74

Tali is often marked by a numeral representing its beat measure. Tabla_sentence_75

Separate sections or stanzas of a tala are called Vibhagas. Tabla_sentence_76

Three main types of tempos or layas are used in playing Tabla talas: 1) Slow (vilambit) or half speed, 2) Medium (madhya) or reference speed, and 3) Fast (drut) or double speed. Tabla_sentence_77

Keeping these three tempos as reference other variations of these tempos are also defined such as Aadi laya where bols are played at one and a half speed of medium tempo. Tabla_sentence_78

Others such as Ati Ati drut laya stands for very very fast tempo. Tabla_sentence_79

Modern tabla players often use beats per minute measures as well. Tabla_sentence_80

There are many talas in Hindustani music. Tabla_sentence_81

Teental or Trital is one of the most popular tala played on Tabla. Tabla_sentence_82

It has 16 beat measures or matras, and can be written down as 4 sections of 4 matras each. Tabla_sentence_83

Teental can be played at both slow and fast speeds. Tabla_sentence_84

Other talas such as Dhamaar, Ek, Jhoomra and Chau talas are better suited for slow and medium tempos. Tabla_sentence_85

While some flourish at faster speeds, such as like Jhap or Rupak talas. Tabla_sentence_86

Some of the popular Talas in Hindustani Classical music include: Tabla_sentence_87


NameTabla_header_cell_1_0_0 BeatsTabla_header_cell_1_0_1 DivisionTabla_header_cell_1_0_2 VibhagTabla_header_cell_1_0_3
Teental (or Trital or Tintal)Tabla_cell_1_1_0 16Tabla_cell_1_1_1 4+4+4+4Tabla_cell_1_1_2 X 2 0 3Tabla_cell_1_1_3
JhoomraTabla_cell_1_2_0 14Tabla_cell_1_2_1 3+4+3+4Tabla_cell_1_2_2 X 2 0 3Tabla_cell_1_2_3
TilwadaTabla_cell_1_3_0 16Tabla_cell_1_3_1 4+4+4+4Tabla_cell_1_3_2 x 2 0 3Tabla_cell_1_3_3
DhamarTabla_cell_1_4_0 14Tabla_cell_1_4_1 5+2+3+4Tabla_cell_1_4_2 X 2 0 3Tabla_cell_1_4_3
Ektal and ChautalTabla_cell_1_5_0 12Tabla_cell_1_5_1 2+2+2+2+2+2Tabla_cell_1_5_2 X 0 2 0 3 4Tabla_cell_1_5_3
Jhaptal (or Japtal)Tabla_cell_1_6_0 10Tabla_cell_1_6_1 2+3+2+3Tabla_cell_1_6_2 X 2 0 3Tabla_cell_1_6_3
KeherwaTabla_cell_1_7_0 8Tabla_cell_1_7_1 4+4Tabla_cell_1_7_2 X 0Tabla_cell_1_7_3
Rupak (Mughlai/Roopak)Tabla_cell_1_8_0 7Tabla_cell_1_8_1 3+2+2Tabla_cell_1_8_2 0 X 2Tabla_cell_1_8_3
DadraTabla_cell_1_9_0 6Tabla_cell_1_9_1 3+3Tabla_cell_1_9_2 X 0Tabla_cell_1_9_3

Rare Hindustani talas Tabla_section_8


NameTabla_header_cell_2_0_0 BeatsTabla_header_cell_2_0_1 DivisionTabla_header_cell_2_0_2 VibhagaTabla_header_cell_2_0_3
AdachoutalTabla_cell_2_1_0 14Tabla_cell_2_1_1 2+2+2+2+2+2+2Tabla_cell_2_1_2 X 2 0 3 0 4 0Tabla_cell_2_1_3
BrahmtalTabla_cell_2_2_0 28Tabla_cell_2_2_1 2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2Tabla_cell_2_2_2 X 0 2 3 0 4 5 6 0 7 8 9 10 0Tabla_cell_2_2_3
DipchandiTabla_cell_2_3_0 14Tabla_cell_2_3_1 3+4+3+4Tabla_cell_2_3_2 X 2 0 3Tabla_cell_2_3_3
ShikarTabla_cell_2_4_0 17Tabla_cell_2_4_1 6+6+2+3Tabla_cell_2_4_2 X 0 3 4Tabla_cell_2_4_3
SultalTabla_cell_2_5_0 10Tabla_cell_2_5_1 2+2+2+2+2Tabla_cell_2_5_2 x 0 2 3 0Tabla_cell_2_5_3
TeevraTabla_cell_2_6_0 7Tabla_cell_2_6_1 3+2+2Tabla_cell_2_6_2 x 2 3Tabla_cell_2_6_3
Ussole e FakhtaTabla_cell_2_7_0 5Tabla_cell_2_7_1 1+1+1+1+1Tabla_cell_2_7_2 x 3Tabla_cell_2_7_3
FarodastTabla_cell_2_8_0 14Tabla_cell_2_8_1 3+4+3+4Tabla_cell_2_8_2 X 2 0 3Tabla_cell_2_8_3
Pancham SavariTabla_cell_2_9_0 15Tabla_cell_2_9_1 3+4+4+4Tabla_cell_2_9_2 x 2 0 3Tabla_cell_2_9_3
Gaj JhampaTabla_cell_2_10_0 15Tabla_cell_2_10_1 5+5+5Tabla_cell_2_10_2 x 2 0 3Tabla_cell_2_10_3

Tabla Gharanas Tabla_section_9

Tabla gharanas are responsible for the development of variety of new bols, characteristic playing techniques, composition styles and rhythmic structures. Tabla_sentence_88

Gharanas acted as a means of preserving these styles between generations of tabla players. Tabla_sentence_89

First recorded history of gharanas is in the early 18th century. Tabla_sentence_90

Delhi gharana is considered to be the first and the oldest traditional tabla tradition. Tabla_sentence_91

Its students were responsible for the spawn of other gharanas as well. Tabla_sentence_92

Each of these gharanas include a handful of prominent players and maestros. Tabla_sentence_93

They carry the honorific title 'Pandit' and 'Ustad' for Hindus and Muslim tabla players respectively. Tabla_sentence_94

Modernization and accessible means of travel have reduced the rigid boundaries between these gharanas in recent times. Tabla_sentence_95

The different Gharanas in Tabla Tabla_section_10


Kayda Tabla_section_11

A Kayda or Kaida is a type of tabla composition. Tabla_sentence_96

There are different types of tabla compositions, both fixed (pre-composed) and improvised. Tabla_sentence_97

A rhythmic seed (theme) is introduced, which is then used as a basis for elaboration through improvisation and/or composition. Tabla_sentence_98

The word kayda is an Arabic word meaning 'rule' or 'a system of rules'. Tabla_sentence_99

The rules for playing a kayda are complex, but in short, one must only use the bols that are in the original theme. Tabla_sentence_100

This original theme is known as a Mukh. Tabla_sentence_101

The kaida form originated in the Delhi Gharana of tabla playing and serves three fundamental and very important roles for tabla players. Tabla_sentence_102

The Dayan and Bayan of the Tabla are used in synchronization to form a Kayda. Tabla_sentence_103

Kaydas can be played in any Tala. Tabla_sentence_104

Note that in talas like Dadra, laggis are played, not kaydas. Tabla_sentence_105

Different Gharanas have their own Kaydas. Tabla_sentence_106

Basic Structure of a Kayda - Tabla_sentence_107

1. Tabla_sentence_108

Mukh - Basic bol which is called as Mukh that means face of the particular Kayda. Tabla_sentence_109

2. Tabla_sentence_110

Dohara - Dohara is the repetition of the Mukh 3 times. Tabla_sentence_111

Dohara means to repeat. Tabla_sentence_112

In Hindi it is called Doharana that means to repeat. Tabla_sentence_113

3. Tabla_sentence_114

Adha Dohara - Adha Dohara is the repetition of the first bol of the Mukh. Tabla_sentence_115

4. Tabla_sentence_116

Vishram - Vishram means taking rest. Tabla_sentence_117

As the name suggests, a minute of pause is taken from the bol. Tabla_sentence_118

5. Tabla_sentence_119

Adha Vishram - Adha Vishram is the repetition of taking a pause i.e. repetition of the bol that was repeated in Vishram. Tabla_sentence_120

6. Tabla_sentence_121

Palta - Palta is a variation of various bols but these bols are stuck or are only from the bols which are there in the Mukh. Tabla_sentence_122

This Palta is a section of the whole Kayda. Tabla_sentence_123

Now what it means that Palta is a section. Tabla_sentence_124

It means that like Mukh, Dohara, Adha Dohara, Vishram , Adha Vishram, these 4 names are not or cannot be repeated. Tabla_sentence_125

So there is no duplications of all the 4 names taken. Tabla_sentence_126

So all of the 4 names taken above, there are played olny once. Tabla_sentence_127

But a Palta, as said it is a section. Tabla_sentence_128

joining various bols many such Palte (plural form of Palta) can be created. Tabla_sentence_129

7. Tabla_sentence_130

Tihai - The musical phrase sung or played thrice to arrive at the Sam is called a Tithai. Tabla_sentence_131

It is the last part of a Kayda. Tabla_sentence_132

The Mukh's last part is played thrice i.e. 3 times and then the particular Kayda is ended. Tabla_sentence_133

See also Tabla_section_12


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