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Tabla Essay

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This term, my learning in tabla classes has been concentrated on the structure and presentation of Indian classical music. I have become more aware of how the tabla, sitar and vocals fit together. I've also learnt terms used commonly and how different parts of a composition are put together in a traditional manner, to form a solo. For example, a peshkar is the first expression within a tabla solo, which allows new sounds to be introduced throughout it. Kaidas are usually the centre part within a solo, and a real

can be the final part to close a solo.

I have also had an opportunity to learn a little about the various ghorana in tabla. These are the different schools of tabla that were established in different regions of India. The six main ghorana are: Dilli ghorana, from Delhi, Punjab, Bunares, Farukhabad, Lucknow and Ajrada ghorana, from Agra. The different schools all have varying styles and characteristics that are unique to them. We tend to use Dilli ghorana mainly, also brining in elements of Ajrada ghorana. These two schools have much in common, and over the years, have gradually merged as they have many similarities.

During the last term we have been encouraged to diversify our knowledge of sitar and vocals, which has enhanced my tabla playing, particularly when playing with the sitar. I have a greater understanding of timing when accompanying the sitar, especially knowing when to introduce the tabla into a composition. I've also been able to recognise the vast importance of the sam and the rag, which lead the instruments and keep all in time to the same laya (tempo). The sam is the emphasised bol within a taal. It is both the initial beat and the point to which all variations will eventually return. The khali is the unaccented beat which occurs in the second half of a taal. It is a point of release, and is both as useful and significant as the sam as an indicator of which part of the composition is being played. The rag is the rhythmic aspect of the music, which can vary diversely, depending on many factors, such as the laya, the ghorana followed, the emphasis of the sam and the unaccented khali.

Another facet of the tabla that I have been concentrating on in the last few months is to learn how to tune them myself. The bayan is not difficult for me to tune, but the dayan holds a few more complications! I'm slowly learning through being shown the



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