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TABLA - Percussion  instrument

Reported to have 'evolved' from the 'pakhawaj' a barrel shaped drum, the tabla (a pair of asymmetrical and dissimilar drums) came into widespread use about the mid 18th century.

The tabla is an extremely common Indian percussion instrument and is used in popular and Hindustani classical music.   

The left hand drum (the 'bayan') is cast or formed/forged from clay but predominantly from copper, steel, aluminium, brass, pure or plated nickel or chrome.  The right hand drum (the 'dayan') is almost always made of  teak and rose wood.  The drums are placed on the ground and the musicians play them while sitting cross-legged. 

The drums are covered with a membrane with a distinctive central patch made of a pitch like substance consisting of soot black, iron filings and bonded with natural gum or starch.  This substance is known to give the tabla its ringing tone or timbre.

Both drums are played by extensive and rapid stokes of the fingers and palms of both hands and a wide variety of sounds can be generated by the expert player making the tabla a rather unique instrument.

Other Indian Musical Instruments

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Tabla Musical Instrument

Tabla Musical Instrument

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