A Tabla is a pair of drums popularly used in Indian Classical Music. It can be used as a solo instrument or to accompany vocal music, any other instrumental music or Kathak Dance.
The Tabla or Dahina is a wooden drum which is tuned to the required pitch and the Baya or Dagga is a metal or clay drum that provides the bass sound and is not tuned. The pair together is commonly known as Tabla.
Invention: Some scholars believe that the poet-musician Hazrat Amir Khusro of Allauddin Khilji’s Durbar (1296 -1315) invented the Tabla. However no mention of the Tabla is found in the historical records of the next few centuries. The earliest known name of the person who played the Tabla is that of Sidhar Khan of Delhi who lived around 1700 A.D.
Parts of Tabla: The drums are cylindrical in shape with the open end on the top covered with animal skin. The Pudi (skin covering) on top is called Maidan or Lav. The Maidan has a black circular patch called Syahi which gives the rich sound. The Pudi is fixed to the body of the drum by leather straps called Baddi. Only the Tabla or Dahina has round wooden blocks called Gatthas over which the Baddis pass.
Tuning: A hammer is used to tune the Tabla by striking the Gatthas for major tuning and the Gajaras for minor tuning. When the hammer strikes downwards, the pitch of the Tabla is raised and when struck upwards, the pitch is lowered.
Compositions Played:Compositions like Peshkar, Qaida, Gath, Rela, Tukda, Chakradar etc. set to Taals are played on the Tabla. Classical Taals like Teentaal, Ektaal, Jhaptaal, Rupak, Adachoutaal, Jhumra etc. are played on the Tabla. Light Taals like Dadra, Kaherva, Khemta, Dipchandi etc. are also played.
Famous Tabla Players: Ustad Haji Vilayat Ali Khan, Ustad Munir Khan, Ustad Ahmed Jan Thirkawa, Ustad Amir Hussian Khan, Ustad Natthu Khan, Miya Qadir Baksh and Pt. Ram Sahay.