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The tabla is a widely popular South Asian percussion instrument used in the classical, popular and religious music of the northern Indian subcontinent.



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The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres. The term tabla is derived from an Arabic word which means "drum", and this attests to its status as a product resulting from the fusion of musical elements from indigenous Hindu and the Central Asian Muslim cultures that began in the late 16th century.The smaller drum, played with the dominant hand, is called dayan (lit. "right"; a.k.a. dahina, siddha, chattu) and can also be referred to individually as "tabla." It is made from a conical piece of wood hollowed out to approximately half of its total depth. One of the primary tones on the drum is tuned to a specific note, and thus contributes to and complements the melody. The tuning range is limited although different dayan-s are produced in different sizes, each with a different range. For a given dayan, to achieve harmony with the soloist, it will usually be necessary to tune to either the tonic, dominant or subdominant of the soloist's key.

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