Using the Tabla

I’m curious to know how to use all the different hits/strokes the tabla set has.
When I gave the instrument to a player, it only gives me two sounds out of the total sounds it have available.
Tried to “add” them with no success.
I searched on this forum with “tabla”, “using tabla”, but only got stuff for tablature use.
Anyone know something about this?
Screen Shot 2021-08-17 at 7.20.09 PM

I suppose the best way to know would be to check the tabla percussion map — there must be one, if there are multiple sounds available through different playing techniques.

There are indeed seven different sounds in the Keda tabla patch – as Marc suggests, take a look at the Keda Tabla percussion map in Play > Percussion Maps.

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OK. I see the tabla percussion map with the 7 playing techniques.


  1. How do I access these 7 in the score I’m writing, since the player has only 2 lines and doesn’t seem to accept more than 2 notes, one per line.
  2. When I go to Setup>Tabla Player>Edit Percussion Kit and choose each of the tabla drum’s Edit Percussion Playing Techniques, they have a total of 9 Playing Techniques (5 for Tabla Data & 4 for Tabla Baya). How do I access all of them in the score?

I am not a Tabla Player, but I would guess you would add lines to your Tabla Kit. The various techniques for each you would specify in the expression map by associating specific noteheads with the MIDI code or the like for each different technique. Keep an eye on which techniques would be mutually exclusive (on each instrument) and configure your exclusion maps/sets appropriately.

You have to use alt-up/down-arrow (or shift/alt/arrow when changing existing entries) to navigate between the various playing techniques. The percussion map will take care of the rest.

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Fratveno: Thank you for the info. It solved how to access the 7 stroke types.
I’m still curious as to how to get the 2 missing ones. Weird how they don’t seem to be included as part of the Tabla instrument set up.

Looking at the Tabla instrument provided with Dorico, there are no sampled rolls, so those are not included in the Percussion Map either. If you were to use a different Tabla instrument (VST) with more techniques, it would be easy to modify the Percussion map to handle it. Just ask here again…

OK. I rechecked and you are correct: no rolls, even though the score symbol exists.
I also discovered that out of the 7 sounds/strokes available in the instrument, only 5 can actually be scored:
Here’s a chart:

Tabla (Smaller)
C4=Te (closed): scorable :smiley:
D4=Ta (muted open): scorable :smiley:
E4= not scorable :frowning_face:
F4=Na (open): scorable :smiley:

Tabla (Large)
C3=Ke (closed): scorable :smiley:
D3=Ge (open): scorable :smiley:
E3= Not scorable :frowning_face:

Anyone know how to “fix” this?

The correspondence between the percussion map and the instrument techniques (edit percussion kit) is off. According to the latter, what you refer to as E4 above should be Ti (muted closed). I’m no expert on the tabla, so can only suggest that you do PLAY>Percussion Maps… and verify that the entries’ playing techniques are correct… you can change them at the bottom right. (don’t forget to click apply… :slight_smile: )

Well I’ve gone into the percussion map and found that all 7 sounds/strokes are assigned to a midi note/note name. Only difference is that the note names are an octave higher, which I’m guessing has to do with which “C” they chose to use as the starting point. (Roland vs Yamaha?)
Anyway, I can play the sounds from my keyboard, but can’t write these missing notes into my score.
Here’s the map:

You can see that all 7 seem to be assigned. I’ve also read the sections on Percussion Maps in the Dorico Manual. The Universal Indian Drum Notation section didn’t clarify/help in any way.
Any other ideas?
I appreciate your help fraterno. I also am very ignorant about Tablas. Just know that this instrument has 7 sounds I can use and would like to know how to.
Maybe someone from the people that created the Keda Tabla could chip in here, and give some guidance? :thinking:

Take a look at the attached project, in which I’ve made a couple of small adjustments in the Edit Percussion Playing Techniques dialog to make sure that the playing techniques mapped to noteheads correspond to the seven sounds in the percussion map.

tabla-sounds.dorico (219.6 KB)

OK, I opened up your file and went to set up > player > Edit Percussion Map; then chose one of the tabla drums (small size) and opened Playing Techniques. Did the same with my file. Here are the screenshots for both:
your screenshot

My screenshot

They look almost the same, except yours doesn’t show “Default” in the bottom left window, you don’t have “tremolo strokes” chosen and “Playback playing technique” is blank.
The same happens for the other drum.
Are these the adjustments you’re talking about?
If so, I tried them and nothing changed.
(Should your file have pulled up the Keda Tabla instrument patches when the file was opened?)
What else am I missing?

There are no sampled rolls in the Keda Tabla patch, so there’s nothing much to be gained by setting up playback techniques for tremolos etc.

If you have a look at the three playback techniques defined for the larger drum and the four playback techniques for the smaller drum, you will see that those match the sounds shown in the percussion map.

I understand the instrument doesn’t have rolls. (That roll option came with the original Dorico set up)
I can’t figure out why, but in my project, using the default setting of the tabla that Dorico provides for playback, it doesn’t trigger the appropriate sample sounds. Even though what you say seems true, I’m finding a disconnect between what I can see is set up, and what is played back.
I played around with the percussion kit and came up with this:

I followed the suggested note position for each stroke, that KEDA suggests in the videos I watched from their website.
When I wrote the seven notes on the score, they individually triggered the appropriate samples of the Tabla. But when I had it playback it did not recognize the same sounds and only played some sounds.

You’ll need to attach your project here if you’d like me to troubleshoot this for you.

Here’s the file.
When you click individually each note, it triggers the right sample stroke.
When having the program play it back, it only plays some of the sample strokes.
Hindu # 1 v4.dorico (808.9 KB)

I would like to know what I’m doing wrong, and how the different variables connect and interact with each other.
I understand, so far, that the EndPoint seems to receive all sound choices, map information & playback/technique/articulation info.

I think the problem is that you have accents on the notes. You will have to edit the percussion kit to include those accents as well…

Thank you fratveno.
I did take off the accents and the playback seems to work well now.
My question is:
How do I include the accent and other articulations? I read the manual on Percussion kits, playback techniques, overrides, etc. and it’s too confusing still for me.
I’m also noticing that basic dynamics don’t seem to work. Is this how it is for this particular sampler instrument?
I tried to add playing technique combinations, but it didn’t work.

The relationship between Percussion maps and Expression maps isn’t totally obvious, but in this scenario the expression map (default) determines what kind of dynamic response the Tabla sounds require (Key velocity). So, dynamics works here.

What I had to do in order to accommodate the accents, was to add an accent technique to each of the 7 tabla techniques, thus:

click the + sign lower left …

This won’t get you much of an accent feel, because the dynamic range is pretty limited. You may, however, want to increase the default accent playback level under Playback Options/Dynamics… (or use the override in the Expression map)