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Tabla Five Star
The Tabla is regarded as the
queen of drums and percussion instruments and is the most
popular Indian rhythm instrument. It consists of two drums,
the Bayan (big bass drum) and the Dayan.The two of them
are almost always played together. Both the two drums
as a pair and also the Dayan on its own - as opposed to
the Bayan - are called Tabla.
drums have a body that is closed at the bottom. The open
top is mostly covered with a goat leather skin. To the
edge of this basic skin, a second skin (Kani) is attached.
In the centre of the skin is the so-called GAB: a black
area which gives the instrument a special sound and makes
the variety of sounds and modulations possible. It is
a fine art to apply this GAB in the correct mixture, consistency
and strength of a paste which consists mainly of rice
flour and iron filings. When playing, the two drums are
placed on rings (Bira) which support them. The tuning
wedges that are held by leather straps at the sides are
meant for tuning the instrument. Depending on whether
the wedges are beaten upwards or downwards by the tuning
hammer, the sound gets lower or higher. A fine tuning
is done by beating with the tuning hammer on the woven
ring around the skin.
playing technique requires a differentiated fingering
in connection with the complex composition of the skin
membranes. The combination of the two drums produces an
incredible fullness and details of different rhythm structures
and this fullness of expression is unmatched by any other
The skins of the Tabla are likely to wear out and have
to be changed from time to time, depending on how often
the instrument is played and what kind of conditions it
is exposed to. Even when the instrument is very old, it
can, when the substance i.e. the wooden body is o.k.,
be restored to a wonderful instrument by a new skin. This
task should generally be done by an expert.
The Bayan takes on the bass part of the drum duo. The
body of the Bayan is mostly made of chrome-plated copper.
The Bayan is played by the index finger and the middle
finger of the left hand in turns or with both fingers
simultaneously. While doing this, the ball of the thumb
rests lightly on the edge of the skin or modulats the
pitch by slightly pressing the skin.
The Dayan is made of different types of wood. Please see
the explanations on this topic in the next paragraph about
the meaning of the wood regarding the quality of a Dayan.
It is customary, especially in Kolkata, to hollow out
the inside of the body of a Dayan relatively roughly.
The tuning wedges that are held by leather straps at the
sides are meant for tuning the instrument. Depending on
whether the wedges are beaten upwards or downwards by
the tuning hammer, the sound gets lower or higher. A fine
tuning is done by beating with the tuning hammer on the
woven ring around the skin. The size of a Dayan is defined
by the diameter of the skin. Sizes of 5 to 6 inches are
in use. The standard sizes are about 5 1/4 inches to 5
1/2 inches whose tuning is around C. The measurements
can also be given in centimeters. The tuning of a Dayan
depends on the skin diameter. The smaller the skin is,
the higher is the sound of the Dayan; the bigger the skin
diameter, the lower it can be tuned. Specially low or
high Dayans are played together with corresponding high
or low melody instruments.
TYPES OF WOOD FOR DAYAN AS QUALITY FACTOR
are different woods which Dayans are made of. The most
used and well-known types of wood are Shisham, Neem, Mahagony
and Babla Wood. Basically it is not possible to choose
a good Dayan only from the kind of wood it is made of.
Of course the wood is important for the continuous sound
of a Dayan but also other factors such as the quality
of the skin, the quality of the Gab and of course the
manufacturing are important. When the manufacturer chooses
the wood, then 1st priority is that the wood is completely
dry. As the situation in India is that the manufacturers
of Tablas have worldwide orders for many months, they
do not get enough good wood. They send abroad whatever
they can get. The wood very often is not dry enough. This
is a very big problem.
important factor is the density of the wood depending
from which part of the tree the wood is taken (upper or
lower portion of the trunk) or if the wood is taken from
a thin trunk. The thick trunk, which is the good wood,
mostly is used for the furniture industry specially if
it's a valuable wood like Shisham or Neem. This results
in the fact that it is mostly better to use a good dry
wood with good density from a no-name wood instead of
a well-known wood as Shisham or Neem. It needs a well
experienced person to evaluate what really is a good wood
for good sound in a Dayan. It can be the case that one
gets a Shisham-Dayan which signals that it is a good Dayan,
and finally it turns out that it is a terrible Dayan.
can be seen that the name of the wood, which a Dayan is
made of, does not really give an objective evaluation.
Sometimes a no-name wood of a Dayan which is completely
dry, has a fantastic density, a good skin and gab and
is made by a good experienced and reliable maker, is much
better than a precious wood.
we would like to mention below some of the types of wood
that are well-known and much in demand:
Is first of the much sought-after kinds of wood, but
it is absolutely necessary that it really comes from a
thick trunk with a good density, otherwise Shisam wood
is not good at all.
Also a very popular wood. Must also come from a thick
trunk, otherwise it splits over the course of time. If,
however, it is really taken from a thick trunk and has
been completely dried, then even a split that forms in
the course of time, does not influence the good sound
Is of a similar quality as Neem and reacts in the
same way as Shisham wood.
of the Five Star Quality
Due to the great efforts of Tabla Maestro Sajal Karmakar,
we always get best quality of wood for the making of the
five star Dayan. He looks for the right wood himself and
even though he already buys the best available wood, he
dries it himself for several months in a special procedure
only to make sure to get high-quality professional instruments.
offers different qualities of Tablas.
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offers on principle only high-qualtiy musical instruments.
This is made possible by close personal contact to the
suppliers and a strict selection of the instruments that
are included in our range of goods. We do not offer any
instruments which reach the west from unknown sources
via importers and which are often resold by middlemen
without any quality check and setting of the instrument.
The demand from the west is relatively high in India.
The purchase prices are negotiated to the lowest limit
by the western countries, especially for high ordered
quantities. This has effects on the required care and
circumspection in craftsmanship, on the experience and
mentality of the commissioned manufacturer and the use
of parts of the instruments that are often of a poor qualtity.
Irrespective of the qualification of the skill in craftsmanship,
this leads, in some cases, to results that do not deserve
the name instrument. Thus it is easily comprehensible
that it is essential, when bying an Indian instrument,
to know the sources. TARANG only supplies instruments
from indisputable sources. All instruments are delivered
adjusted and ready to be played.
Of course, we understand that somebody who purchases an
instrument is also dependent on accessories and spare
parts. Also in this respect we can satisfy the needs of
our customers. Should an instrument be defective at any
time, we can arrange for appropriate restoration. As a
rule we can deliver any instrument offered on our website
within 1 - 2 weeks. Our international lists of teachers
enable everybody to find information about a teacher in
their proximity. You can expect from us: reasonable prices,
prompt service and straightforward processing of purchase
financial aspect also has to be mentioned. Despite the
high quality we offer, we also do our best to offer you
these instruments at very competitive and reasonable prices.