bayan question

Discussions about the Indian hand-drums known as tabla.

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bayan question

Postby joshuamusih27 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:16 pm

How tight should the head on the bayan be?

In this video it seems to resonate alot and deeply and i was thinking maybe my bayan is too tight..

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Re: bayan question

Postby singhhh_ap » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:35 pm

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Re: bayan question

Postby evening84 » Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:51 pm

Khitchdee is very right. A quote attributed to Ustad Amir Hussain Khan is "daya bolta hai, par baya use bulata hai" (daya speaks but it is the baya the one that actually makes it speak). It is one of those things that no matter how much one can impress upon somebody, it only comes through self-discovery (and of-course, tons of practice and reflection).

As an aside, as to how tight the baya skin needs to be, is largely a personal choice as well. One of Pt. Mulgaonkar's books, I forget which one, relates an incident where Ustad Thirakwa commented on Ustad Amir Hussain Khan's baya - how can you play with it being so loose ? So they both had their own preferences and they could both generate amazing musicality from the baya.
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Re: bayan question

Postby RobertMaya » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:27 pm


I had no clue that my bayan was flat throughout my childhood, so now I have a decent bayan hand :D

I think the feature you need to go for (and this is my opinion) is pliability. When my bayan warms up, it's at a sweetspot where it's low, but not making a "thop" sound when played open or too lose to effectively modulate tone or respond to slight pressure, but not too high were it feels like an oversensitive rock that has no give when I press down and dig in.

Bayan pitch as per the benares gharana should be tuned to the tonic of the dayan, which is why some benares players like Anokhelalji will have a super-high bayan (leading people to call BS on his speed because the audio sounds like it's sped up, but no, he's the only person who had better hands than Anindoda; they have the rare gift of getting clearer as they get faster). This is because benarasi tablachis in all of their playing use bayan more than usual, and in general and in my experiene, it sounds much better when both dayan and bayan are in sync. The bayan is lopsided in weighting so it's much harder to tune and keep in balance, but tuning bayans comes with time. I tune my bayan before concerts, but not for practice.

But as the two above me astutely pointed out: first practice, then you don't need to ask this question because you'll get a feel exactly how you like your bayan - which is what matters, of course. As long as it doesn't sound like a high timpani, you're fine.

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