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There is a story about a great Tabla maestro (the great father of my Guru Ustad Keramatulla Khan) who – as the story goes - in the presence of great maestros of his time played Tabla solo for 17 days 3 to 4 hours daily without repeating himself even once!

In India all forms of art have been considered religiously. There is a saying, "no music will be considered pure if it is not in adoration or praise of God". Singers could always sing and praise God through lyrics but the skin covered instrument players had no language to speak prayers with.

So the old Sanskrit Pandits (SHASTRAKARS) thought about inventing meaningful words and thus created four respective basic sounds which could be played on those instruments like a prayer.

 

These four sounds named BOLS are:

TA….LORD SIVA (also a name for Siva: SHANKAR)
DETT….GIVE/ASKING (in Sanskrit: DEHI)
THUN….INFINITE
NAN….BLESSINGS


The mentioned four sounds could be a prayer like,
LORD (SIVA) BLESS US - YOUR BLESSINGS MAY BE WITH US INFINITELY.

The old maestros thought mainly about techniques to playing the Tabla independently, so there are thousands of compositions named as, KAIDA, RELA, GAT, TUKRA, PARAN, CHAKRADAR, LAGGI, PESHKAR etc. These are like poetry in rhythm and emphasize the speciality and brilliance of Tabla as a wonderful instrument.
                                                      Sankha Chatterjee