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Guide to Tablas

Tabla : What is it?

Tablas

Tablas are small hand drums popularly used in folk and contemporary music. They are made up of goatskin drumheads and cylindrical bodies measuring about 25 centimeters high. They are played with the hands and fingers, often with creative rhythms involving finger taps and rolls. Tablas come in different pitch ranges, but generally have a crisp, hollow tone ideal for rhythm and accompaniment.

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Types of Tablas

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Kinds of Tablas include the following:

Indian tablas

Indian tablas consist of two drums called the dayan and the bayan. The dayan is tuned to a specific pitch and is used primarily for melody, while the bayan is larger and provides the rhythm and bass tones. They usually have an additional layer of skin on the outer ring to control the overtones.



Goblet tablas

Goblet tablas are goblet-shaped drums made of fired clay and goatskin, calfskin, or fish skin drum heads. They produce two primary sounds: the dum, a resonant bass tone, and the tek, a crisp high-pitched tone. They are usually elaborately decorated with paint, etchings, or wood and metal carvings.

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Choosing Tablas (Buying tips)

Drumhead: Choose a tabla with a sturdy drumhead that will not tear or puncture when you strike too hard. Avoid those that are too thick because they will not resonate as well. Look for a moderately thick drumhead stretched over the rim, with a little slack to reduce impact and regulate the volume.

Size: Choose a tabla with a large diameter for children and beginners. This will help develop accuracy and handwork. Make sure there is enough hollow room under the drumhead for the sound to resonate. Larger tops also offer a broader range of sounds, ideal for exploring and doing finger tricks. 

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