Recording Studios Sydney: Musicians also recognise six other gharanas or traditional schools of tabla. These are Delhi, Lucknow, Ajrara, Farukhabad, Benares and Punjab gharanas. Each gharana is unique because of specific bol techniques and tabla positioning.
During the days of royal patronage, it was important to uphold gharana traditions and keep them secret. But today tabla players are more free and combine various aspects of different gharanas to create their own styles.
Recording Studios Sydney: Tabla – Gharana Tradition
Some music experts say the gharana tradition has virtually ended as changing lifestyles and training methods have made it almost impossible to maintain lineage purity.
It is not easy to play the tabla. You need to exercise great control over your hand movements. A seasoned tabla player uses his palms and fingers to generate diverse sounds at different pitches thereby creating amazing effects on music compositions.
Recording Studios Sydney: Tabla Solos
Playing a tabla solo is a cherished and unique phenomenon in the art of drumming.
The percussive instrument can hold its melodic own for hours and yet not sound boring thanks to the wide repertoire of compositions.
The tradition and popularity of the solo tabla performance continues to grow as time marches on.
Apart from classical music, the tabla has made its mark on devotional, theatre and of course film music. It is a much sought after instrument in cross-cultural and fusion musical experiments.
In Northern India, the tabla is a ubiquitous instrument which accompanies the Hindu bhajan, the Sikh shabad, the Sufi qawwali and the Muslim ghazal. Hindi pop music and Bollywood soundtracks also make extensive use of the melodic tabla.
The tabla’s sophistication and charm has attracted the attention of scholars, musicians and music lovers around the globe.
In the 1960s, Ravi Shankar popularised the sitar and Indian music in general in the West. The Beatles were so enamoured that they featured Indian music including tabla strains in a few of their songs. Indian and Western musicians started collaborating to produce a fusion style.
Ustad Ahmed Jan Thirakwa Khan (1892-1976) was a renowned tabla player who was considered an influential percussionist of his time.
Another maestro was Anokhelal Mishra who specialised in the Benares gharana. He was famous for his tremendous speed of playing and produced uniquely perfect sounds which earned him the nickname jadugar (magician).