Tabla for Android

Tabla is a small Android app providing a touchscreen environment for creating Indian-based music centered on the tabla drum. While the app’s sounds and interface are top notch, Tabla suffers from the dreaded Android latency problem. Ultimately, it serves as an interesting escape instead of being useful for real-time music creation.

Tabla for Android Features

  • Tabla Drums use Play Zones with Different Sounds
  • Other Zones Trigger Gong, Chimes, Gungru, Vibraslap, Crash, and Tanpura Sounds
  • Record Mode with Playback
  • Sitar Drone
  • Free, Ad-supported (Ads can be Removed after Buying a Key)

Since it is a free, ad-supported app, Tabla is definitely worth the download. The app is designed for phones, but still looks great on a Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Tabla Screenshot

Tabla sports an effective and attractive user interface. Screenshot by Author.

Channeling the Indian Spirit

All the sounds in Tabla are top notch and studio quality. Multitouch support allows the triggering of multiple sounds at once, which is definitely useful when playing the included tabla drums. Other zones on the periphery of the interface trigger gong, chimes, and other Indian/Arabic percussion samples — the vibraslap gives you the ability to sit in with a local band covering Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train.

A transport bar at the top of the screen contains the record and playback functionality. You are able to play back anything you’ve previously recorded, while playing over the top. Another button triggers a sitar drone which definitely enhances the Indian spirit.

Tabla is a fun little app, but audio latency issues make using it live in a real music session a frustrating experience. The sound plays a fractional second after each hit. Despite that limitation, the app is responsive; I was able to play fast tabla fills, but with a noticeable delay.

With a little patience in dealing with the latency issues, it is possible to create an interesting Indian style drum loop or drone. That alone makes Tabla worthwhile, especially considering it is a free download.