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iTablaPro: A Look at The Tabla and Tanpura App for iOS

iTablaProiTablaPro is an electronic Tabla and Tanpura (universal) app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, which supports all of the common taals used in Hindustani music. It is meant as a study tool or accompaniment for practicing. I’ve found it a wonderful means to practice harmonic concepts against a drone, rhythmic concepts on my bass by interacting with or mimicking the table and also as a great tool for use with my students.

Let me start off by saying that I absolutely love this app. Many might cringe at the $24.99 price tag but if you compare that price to the price of just a Tanpura machine (which typically runs a few hundred dollars) and consider that you are also getting a myriad of Tabla accompaniment, I find it a small price to pay. In addition, I’ve had many friends with Tanpura machines and this app sounds far superior to most of the affordable machines out there.

iTablaPro Features (from their website):

  • Six instruments in one: Tabla, two 5-string Tanpuras, a Sur-Peti (Shruti-Box), a Swar Mandal, plus a Manjira (Bhajani taal only) all controlled by a single set of pitch controls
  • Uses sound samples from actual instruments for the most realistic sound
  • 30 taals including Ada Chautaal(14), Ashta Jhaptaal (8.5), Bhajani(8), Chartal-ki-Sawari(11), Chautaal(12), Dadra(6), Deepchandi(14), Dhamar(14), Ektaal(12), Farodust/Firdost(14), Jai Taal(13), Jat Taal(8), Jhaptaal(10), Jhoomra(14), Keherva(8), Matta Taal(9), Moghuli(7), Neel Taal (7.5), Pancham Sawari(15), Pashto(7), Punjabi / Sitarkhani(16), Rudra Taal(11), Rupak(7), Shashanka taal (5.5), Shiva Taal(9), Soolfakhta(5), Sooltaal(10), Teentaal(16), Teevra(7), and Tilwada(16)
  • Multiple variations for most taals
  • Integrated Auto-Tuner: Tune iTablaPro to your instrument such as harmonium, or use it to tune other instruments (microphone capability required such as iPhone built-in mic or 2nd/3rd generation iPod Touch with external microphone)
  • Metronome: Now includes a built-in metronome with the most common time signatures
  • Tap Tempo: tap out a beat on the lower display and watch the app sync the tempo
  • Presets: Save your frequently-used combinations of pitch, tanpura & swar mandal tuning, taal & tempo as named presets. Includes presets for the 81 most popular raags plus you can create unlimited custom presets.
  • Background Play: Start playing the music and switch to another app (iOS4 only), or play along with iPod music
  • Full-featured mixer to adjust volume and panning of each instrument independently
  • Includes an option for “Sur” tabla for a more bass tabla sound suitable for vocal music
  • Extremely accurate tempo tested to within 1 milli-second
  • Wide range of pitch from lower A (A2) through upper E (E4) for one and a half octaves of tuning
  • Each taal has different thekas for slow, medium & fast tempos for more natural-sounding accompaniment (actual range of tempos depends on the taal)
  • Wide range of tempo from 10bpm to 600bpm (depending on the taal)
  • Automatic range selection (ati-vilambit, vilambit, madhya, drut & ati-drut) based on tempo slider. The slider range auto-adjusts to the taal.
  • Extremely precise control of fine-tuning and tempo by clicking on the slider endpoints (- or +). Every click changes the tempo by 1 cent or 1 bpm
  • For even easier control, simply double-tap on any slider (including the tempo slider) to get a popup picker wheel
  • Displays current matra being played as well as the current divisions (Sam, Taali, Khaali, etc.)

I would recommend this app to anyone interested in exploring or studying Indian music. Even more, I’d recommend this to any musician who is looking for a way to explore their own voice in a new way. This will help to get you “out of your box” and will encourage you to explore new rhythmic concepts as well as providing a means to practice harmonic concepts against a droning tonality.

iTablaPro Demo: