Tabla

The tabla is a famous percussion interest from North India and neighbouring countries. It is generally believed that it evolved from the barrel shaped drum called Pakhawaj about 300 years ago. The tabla is a pair of drums consisting of a smaller drum called daayaan and a larger one calld baayaan.

The body of the daayaan is almost always made of wood while the baayaan may be made of iron, aluminium, copper, steel, clay or brass with a nickel or chrome plate. Both have a skin stretched across the top, held on to the body with leather straps. The most striking characteristic of the tabla is the large black spot on each of the playing surfaces. These black spots are a mixture of gum, soot and iron filings. Their function is to create the sound quality that is characteristic of the instrument.

Tabla accompanies vocalists, instruments and dancers by providing a repeated rhythmic pattern, although a highly developed solo repertoire also exists where the tabla player displays his or her array of skills. You may also have seen the likes of Ustad Zakir Hussain playing tabla in fusion, pop, jazz, hip hop and drum and bass among others.