Acoustic-Prosodic Features of Tabla Bol Recitation and Correspondence with the Tabla Imitation

Rohit M A, Preeti Rao


In the Indian classical drumming tradition, the different strokes on the tabla are named by spoken syllables(bols) in a case of onomatopoeia. The recitation of a tabla composition using vocalic syllables(bols) plays an important role in the oral tradition of pedagogy in North Indian classical music. Previous studies have considered the phonetic features of isolated bol utterances with the corresponding isolated strokes produced on the tabla. In this work, we investigate the acoustic properties of bol recitation beyond the segmental measurements related to the phones or syllables. The recitation of a tabla composition, apart from conveying the basic “score” in terms of the sequence of stroke name and onset times, is typically quite expressive in nature, being marked by pitch variations, loudness dynamics and voice quality variations across a sequence or phrase. Given the distinct spaces of acoustic variation of the voice and tabla, we study acoustic-prosodic variations in the recitation and investigate the corresponding (time-aligned) supra-segmental acoustic variations in the drumming. An available large dataset of recordings of selected tabla compositions by an expert tabla player, each aligned with the corresponding bol recitation, is employed in the analyses. We find that while the recitation reliably encodes intensity variations across bols in a cycle, the observed pitch variations are meaningful only for the pitch-varying drum strokes of the left drum.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2018-1692

Cite as: M A, R., Rao, P. (2018) Acoustic-Prosodic Features of Tabla Bol Recitation and Correspondence with the Tabla Imitation. Proc. Interspeech 2018, 1229-1233, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2018-1692.


@inproceedings{M A2018,
  author={Rohit {M A} and Preeti Rao},
  title={Acoustic-Prosodic Features of Tabla Bol Recitation and Correspondence with the Tabla Imitation},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2018},
  pages={1229--1233},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2018-1692},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2018-1692}
}