This authoritative work deals comprehensively with Tabla rhythm, focusing on the performed at with an eye to it history and aesthetics. It is aimed at the Tabla student the Tabla performer, as well as the inquiring listener of Hindustani music, for whom it encapsulates a Tabla practitioner's knowledge in these matters acquired over a lifetime of learning and teaching.
Beginning with the evolution of the Tabla, the book explains the technique of producing the basic bols. It further describes the way to do reyaz on the Tabla, to maintain the instrument through changing seasons, and to raise and moderate its pitch, besides other practical directions. The author explains the principal compositions that make up a standard Tabla recital, and how they may be played in solo and sangat contexts. The major gharanas of Table are discussed critically, and their notated compositions are provided in both Roman and Devanagari scripts. The CD accompanying the book carries samples of the tabla of these gharanas recorded under the author's direction, as well as demonstrations of compositions used as illustrations in the book.
Grounded in traditional learning in tabla rhythm, the book is written with a rational, empirical mind, and in a lucid manner all along which makes it accessible; to a side range of musicians and listener.
The first drummer in Indian to have worked as Professor of Tabla at a centre of higher learning, Sudhir Kumar Saxena (b. 1923) retired from Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, in 1983 as head of its music department, after serving the institution for thirty-three years. Besides teaching Tabla to generations of students, a lifetime work which he lovingly continues in retirement at his residence, Professor Saxena had, in his younger days (1945-1995), participated in most of the major music conferences of the country as a Tabla accompanist to almost every front-ranking musician and Kathak dancer.
His pupils abound. Some of them are themselves distinguished teachers in India and other countries. Many more are serving All India Radio; and some of them, the very university where he has worked as a teacher. All of them are proud of the authentic training they have received - authentic because Professor Saxena himself had the privilege of learning the art for years from Ustad Habeebuddin Khan, the doyen of the Ajrada gharana of Tabla.
As an accompanist, Professor Saxena has always delighted not only audiences, but the main artiste as well, be it a musician or a Kathak dancer. As a teacher, he is analytic, and therefore easy to follow. This book should bear it our.
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