The tabla is a membranophone percussion instrument (similar to bongos) and recording studio favourite which is often used in Hindustani classical music and in traditional music of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres.
Recording Studio: Tabla
The right hand drum is called a tabla and the left hand drum is called a dagga or baya. It is claimed that the term tabla is derived from an Arabic word, tabl, which simply means “drum.” The tabla is used in some other Asian musical traditions outside of Indian subcontinent, such as in the Indonesian dangdut genre. It can be found in many recording studio instrument collections in Asia. Playing technique involves extensive use of the fingers and palms in various configurations to create a wide variety of different sounds and rhythms, reflected in the mnemonic syllables (bol). The heel of the hand is used to apply pressure or in a sliding motion on the larger drum so that the pitch is changed during the sound’s decay. In playing tabla there are two ways to play it: band bol and khula bol. In sense of classical music it is termed as “tali” and “khali”.
The roots for tabla invention are found in India. It wasn’t until the advent of the recording studio that the rest of the world really knew about it. The carvings in Bhaja Caves in the state of Maharashtra in India shows a woman playing Tabla and another woman performing a dance, dating back to 200 BC. Taals has developed since the Vedic or Upanishad eras in India. as a result Pushkar was in existence long before even the Pakhawaj. It is quite likely that an instrument resembling the tabla was in existence much before then and long before the recording studio.