Tabla ology

Question : How is practicing a Kaida useful for Thaiyari …?

Ans: The Kaida by itself is rule or set of Rules & is governed by certain rules. So it does not help by practising Rela or any other type of composition as it does not make your fingering better or finer, but will only help to play at higher speed. ‘Akshar sadhana’ can only be done while practising Kaida. Moreover my observation is practice of other compositions (Gats/Chalan etc.) tend to entertain as they have been composed from that point of view only. But if we closely look at Kaida, it is always composed to facilitate “Riyaaz” of certain Bol or phrase.

Question : What are the things to be kept in mind during Riyaaz…?

Ans: Paying attention every second to correctness of fingers, position of fingers.

Question : Some Tabla Players (artists) change the position of fingers while playing. Is it correct ..? Why is it so..?

Ans : It is seen that many Tabla players including leading names change the position of fingers while playing Bols like Tita & Tirakit away from centre of Syahi at Dvigun. This makes it easy to play the Bol faster, but not correct from theoretical point of view but may be correct from the tonal quality point of view also. Tabla being instrument of single “Sur”, the language is/has been developed so as to make it interesting & varied & hence the various positions of fingers, so if once changes the position even a little the texture of the sound changes a lot. The change in position of fingers is to be tried only from confident players who have enough weight in their fingers so as to create the same tone as in the old method.

Question : What should I think/look about during Riyaaz…?

Ans : It is important that one should pay attention to the Tonal quality, though by paying attention to correct fingering & position it does improve a lot. One needs to pay attention to Tonal quality as it is very rare to see a gifted (Kudrati) player, who has good balance, good sound from Syahi, as well as Chaati & good control over Bayan with Meend. The tonal quality as achieved by the masters like Amir Hussain Khansaheb, Thirakwa sahib, Habibuddin Khansaheb et al is ideal, even after 50 -60 years, their recording on spools/mono tape recorders etc. sound so beautiful even after digitization. One could only imagine what an experience it would be to listen to them in person.

o One needs to pay attention whether he is playing from his “Dumsaans” or shoulders or his fingers. o Physical strain/stress should not be visible on face while playing at higher speed. This was aspect which was stressed upon by most of the old masters. o Once certain tonal quality is achieved, one can aspire for greater speed. o There is another aspect which is likely to be missed is that ‘Tablas’ is supposed to be played by only finger tips(first digit), nothing more nothing less. The tonal quality deteriorates considerably if the second digit also comes in contact with Pudi.