[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

Re: Loopable percussion (was: Tabla...)

I'm not a tabla player, but do know a bit about the drums, so here's my two

>Do you like the defined tonality in other situations or would you actually
>prefer a modified tabla which has "enough overtones to smooth over obvious
>harmonic clashes"? Could this be achieved by uneven tension of the skin or
>irregular form of the black mass (whats its name?) on it?
>Do we disrespect the milenar indian culture?

That "black mass" (sounds kind of Goth!) on the tabla is called "syahi" in
Hindi, meaning roughly "blackness."
This is usually made from rice flour, iron filings, etc. as is applied to
the skin in many layers over time until it gives the right "ring" to the
drum.  On the treble drum this is essential to tuning, since this drum is
tuned to the tonic pitch of the vocalist or instrumentalist.  In
non-traditional performance situations this can be very frustrating for the
"harmonic clash" mentioned above.

>The indian technology with the weight on the skin seams to be the
>solution to keep the instrument small and give it a nice sustain. Or 
>it be used just for the bass drum?

On tabla this is used for both the treble as well as the bass drum.  An
interesting footnote is that an older, deeper sounding drum called
"pakhawaj" has this black patch only on the treble head, but that the 
uses a small lump of dough to make a similar "weight" for the bass drum
head, then scrapes it off after the performance (or practice).  Believe it
or not, the scraped-off dough is then often given to a street animal like a
dog or monkey as food.  Musical recycling.