Culture Guides

Tabla

Tabla is a percussion instrument from the Indian subcontinent similar but much more difficult than bongos. Tablas are made of hollowed wood covered with cow or goat skin. Proper tabla players learn to play six different kinds of gharana, which roughly correspond to rhythms. When accompanying sitar to play classical compositions called raga the gharana will be determined ahead of time.

While it is not hard to grab a pair and create beats, the tabla is difficult to properly play for two reasons. First, to play properly according to the Indian style requires tons of practice under a knowledgeable teacher. Secondly, the tabla is capable of creating a sound of varying pitch by running the finger along the vibrating skin, and this takes some skill to do. This sound is the feature that has made the instrument famous across the world with its distinctive THROOMMPP.