World Music Instrument: The Tabla

We continue our series of reports on the fascinating variety of musical instruments that students in World Music in the Schools enjoy working with . . .

The tabla is a paired drum set from the northern regions of South Asia (North India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and parts of Afghanistan).  Consisting of a high drum (dayan) and a low drum (dagga or bayan), the tabla is played with the fingers, using a variety of different strokes and hand positions, to produce up to twenty different sounds.  Each of these sounds in turn has a name, or a syllable.  Together, these syllables (for example: ta, tin, dha, dhin) are used pedagogically as a rhythmic solfège—the syllables are sung to the student in order to teach rhythmic phrases, which are then reproduced on the drums.

Although the tabla was invented and popularized in the Mughal courts of Delhi approximately 300 years ago, the systems of music it stems from are over two thousand years old.  The tabla, in a sense, is a modern instrument that reflects South Asia’s embodiment of the ancient and the new—it has both Hindu roots and an Islamic Mughal past while continuing to thrive as a vibrant tradition, both within the contexts of North Indian Classical music as well as in the global musical landscape.

—Miles Shrewsbery, World Music in the Schools Teaching Artist

See the tabla in action on YouTube: Tabla Legend Ustad Alla Rakha | Interview with Zakir Hussain (Alla Rakha’s son) | Miles Shrewsbery Tabla Solo

Learn more about Teaching Artist Miles Shrewsbery and his music at tablamiles.com.

Ten Fun Facts About the Irish Fiddle

Even Google is featuring the Irish fiddle on its home page today!  As a modest contribution to your St. Patrick’s Day revels, an interesting article about the instrument . . .

The fiddle has survived generational changes from its start as a low-class instrument popular among the poor. Now, the Irish fiddle is playing an instrumental role in preserving traditional Irish music and culture.

Read on at the OUPblog.

Kourosh Taghavi

Spotlight: Persian Classical Musician, Kourosh Taghavi

San Diego Participant Observer, March 12, 2015

Kourosh Taghavi, master of Persian classical music and pillar of the CWM’s World Music in the Schools program, is featured in an article by Amanda Kelly.

Kourosh Taghavi, instrumentalist, vocalist and Persian classical musician boasts a passionate approach to music that has impacted audiences around the world. His collaborative projects with master musicians and local cultural organizations work to fulfill his lifelong dream to promote Persian classical music. . . .  “It is a very holistic approach to music instead of just notation and sounds,” he says. “Your daily life is so attached to your music and your music is so attached to your daily life they are almost inseparable.”

Read the full article here.

The San Diego Participant Observer is published online by the Worldview Project.  It is a great source for keep up-to-date on cultural goings on in San Diego and environs. Thanks to Tom Johnston-O’Neill and the dedicated crew at the Worldview Project for their support of World Music in the Schools and other Center for World Music projects!