Making of Tabla:
The Tabla consists of a pair of Tabla and Dagga (or Bayaa), in which the Tabla is played with the right hand and the Dagga (or Bayaa) by the left hand. This set is made up of wood (generally Shisham, Neem, Mahagony and Babla Wood) and leather. Sometimes, the Dagga (or Bayaa) is made from earthen pot; otherwise it is carved out of copper or other metal plates. To give stability and resonance, sometimes the Dagga (or Bayaa) is applied with lead also. Both drums have a closed body at the bottom.
You can also read Parts of Tabla in detailed here.
Importance of the Ink smearing in Tabla making:
The ink that is smeared on the top of the Tabla is usually a mixture of iron particles, gum, dough (of rice flour) and catechu etc. It is smeared in the centre of the skin and is called as GAB. It is a fine art to apply this GAB in the correct mixture, consistency and strength of a paste. Acoustics experts find the use of this ink as an advanced technique in making of Tabla. When we beat a piece of stretched leather or a plate or a cymbal, the sound waves spread and then come together. This creates difficulty in sound stability. Harmonics and Phase Cancellation make this sound noisy too. Every so often, they tend to destroy the sound. However, when a Tabla player starts thumping the instrument on the ink smearing, the sound gets produced is converted into melody. Thus the ink gives the instrument a special sound and makes the variety of sounds and modulations possible. The ink does this unnoticed but skillful act.
Chati and Maidan in Tabla making:
The leather stretched on the Tabla has three parts. The outermost layer of the leather fitted on the Tabla is known as ‘chati’, whereon also the Tabla player produces sound. The area thereafter is called as ‘maidan’. The area of the ink and this maidan are used by the Tabla player to generate sound.
Leather Used in Tabla making:
Leather that is used in Tabla making is generally a goat skin, which needs to be seasoned. For this, Tabla manufacturers use some special chemicals. By and large, two layers of seasoned goat skins of the same thickness are stretched over the Tabla and the Dagga (or Bayaa). After covering the open top of the Tabla with leather, the edge of this basic skin is also attached with a second skin that is called as Kani. While playing the Tabla, both the drums are placed on rings that are called as Bira. They support the instrument. The tuning wedges held by leather straps at the sides tune the instrument. Conditional on whether they 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.I believe readers will love this brief information about ‘Tabla Making’
If you are interested to read more about Tabla drum instrument, I will recommend below articles!
- Overview of Tabla (Thabla): Collective information about ‘what this Indian drum instrument is’?
- How To Tune Your Tabla
Some biography of famous Tabla player :
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For additional information you can see below video: Tabla Making