Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala


The tabla is a percussion instrument used in the Hindustani classical music. It consists of a pair of hand drums of different sizes and timbres. The smaller drum known as ‘karna’ is made by stretching skin over a conical piece of wood (teak or rosewood).

For the larger drum known as ‘dakka’, the skin is stretched over brass or copper shells. Cylindrical wooden pieces are inserted between the strap and the shell of the drums to adjust the tension. Goat or cow skin is used for the membranes of both the shells.

Though originated as an accompanying percussion instrument, solo concerts on Tabla too became common in the later period. In Kerala, table is mainly used in ganamela and katha prasangam and in Hindustani musical concerts.

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