The appeal of the sound of the tabla is attributable to a large extent to the modulation of the bayan sound by skillful application and release of pressure (I call it "rubbing"). Oddly enough, most books and instructional material on tabla do not even mention rubbing. Feldman's "Learning Tabla with Alla Rakha" touches on it and David Courtney has a small section called "Modulation" in his "Learning the Tabla". When I started learning the tabla on my own, I was unaware of rubbing. Now I find it very difficult to train my left hand to incorporate rubbing into the strokes. Would some of you care to share your tricks and techniques of rubbing?
I agree. Really, you learn this from watching and listening. You can't really be told to "do this and that". Sure, there's a specific motion and technique, but the application of it is purely through paying attention to your teacher, and other tabla players in performance and on recordings.
Devi (Feb 16, 2003 10:54 a.m.): Please... come up with some other term for it than "rubbing". I'm sure there's a "real" sanskrit word for it... a little help, David? Even "modulation" generic as it is, sounds better than "rubbing".
hei Pete, when playing bayan use two fingers, index and middle(or index and rest), so when you play with your index finger add pressure or Gamak, and when you play with the middle finger release the pressure, this is easy to practice in Tintal when you star with the middle finger. You can use this in all thekas, after you learn control you can change it. Then listen to alot of music!!