Essential Accessories – Tabla

Tabla is an integral part of any Hindustani Classical music concert. Tabla provides percussion support. The instrument consists of two drums – the one with smaller diameter is itself called tabla and the one with larger diameter is called the bayan or dagga. Tabla is made of wood and is fitted with leather cover which is stretched on the wood by leather strands. A layer of specially formulated paste gives the sharp metallic sound to tabla.

Dagga or bayan has similar construction but instead of wood, metallic frame is used. Because of larger diameter, the bayan produces the base tones and is used for that purpose. The site below provide more useful information on tabla:

Like tanpura, tabla is tuned to the octave of the tonic note (taar saptak sa). Some also tune it to tonic itself. Bayan is generally not tuned, though a bayan tuned to the base tonic brings about a really wonderful effect.

While practicing to play bansuri, you will need accompaniment. There cannot be a substitute for live tabla accompaniment, as so much depends on good accompanist creating the underlying rhythmic base for overlaying musical presentation and the interaction between the bansuri player and tabla player. A reasonable compromise for practice is to get an electronic accompaniment. Several models are available in the market. I prefer Radel’s Digi-60 model because of its programmability, large selection of taals and long battery life. Other models are available too. Please be very careful though because some models have a cut off tuning pitch very close to E. This greatly reduces possibility of tuning it properly if you are playing the E flute – which is most commonly used.