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Software Re: Looping Drummers who play tabla

A software version of this would be really cool. (I used to write 
music software, but I'm way too busy with video software these days, 
so don't ask me.) Someone who knew Max and Indian music theory could 
probably cook one up.

At 8:00 PM -0400 6/21/01, James Pokorny wrote:
>>I also have a "tabla machine"
>more info please.....michael
>Sure.  Tabla machines have been discussed on-list before, and the 
>archives contain some pointers for sites to listen to some of these 
>devices, as well as places to purchase them.  
>Basically, the "tabla machine" is an electronic device preprogrammed 
>to play the "theka" or basic pattern of beats in a "taal" (rhythmic 
>cycle) of Indian music.   I've worked with two different machines, 
>the Taal Mala and the Riyaz Master Pro.  Each of these has a 
>selection of preset taals, most of which are in common use in Indian 
>music, some more obscure or lesser-heard taals are represented as 
>well.  There are controls for volume, pitch (since the smaller drum 
>of the tabla pair is tuned to the tonic of the vocalist or 
>instrumentalist), and tempo.  There are also controls for "speed" 
>(as opposed to tempo) since the theka usually changes when playing 
>at different speeds.  This control varies the theka for "vilambit" 
>(slow), "madhya" (medium) and "drut" (fast) speeds.  Within each of 
>these speeds you can also accelerate/decelerate the tempo.  
>From my experience with the two machines I've used, I prefer the 
>Riyaz Master Pro.  However, to be fair, the version of Taal Mala I 
>had was from about 10 years ago -- in fact, it was the first 
>"electronic tabla."  It used very plinky/thuddy synthetic tones that 
>tried to replicate the high and low drum sounds of the tabla, and 
>had a very tinny speaker that only seemed to function properly at 
>distoring volumes.  But I've heard an updated version of the Taal 
>Mala which uses sampled tabla and sounds very good.  The Riyaz 
>Master Pro also uses sampled tabla sounds and has a good speaker.
>One major caveat, though - none of these machines are going to sound 
>anything like a live tabla player.  They were designed as a practice 
>tool for vocalists and instrumentalists.  In India you generally pay 
>a tabla accompanist a fee to come over and practice with you, 
>particularly if the tabla player is senior to you in terms of age or 
>experience.  While practicing, perhaps 95% of the time the tabla 
>player will play a steady "theka" while the vocalist or 
>instrumentalist practices rhythmic improvisations within the 
>framework of a composition.  So the tabla machine serves this same 
>purpose - to give that "theka" to practice over.  
>My advice if you're interested in a tabla machine (or any other 
>Indian instrument) is to see if someone you know is going to India, 
>then ask them to bring one back for you since the markup in the West 
>tends to be shockingly extreme. 


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man 
persists in adapting the world to himself. Therefore, all progress 
depends on the unreasonable man.

--  George Bernard Shaw

                Emile Tobenfeld, Ph. D.
Video Producer                  Image Processing Specialist
Video for your HEAD!                    Boris FX
http://www.foryourhead.com              http://www.borisfx.com