ta·​bla ˈtä-blə How to pronounce tabla (audio)
: a pair of small different-sized hand drums used especially in music of India

Illustration of tabla

Illustration of tabla

Examples of tabla in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her grandmother was a concert producer for major Indian classical musicians like sitarist Ravi Shankar and tabla player Zakir Hussain. Vrinda Jagota, SPIN, 11 Mar. 2024 The expressive tabla player Sharma never speaks a word in the play, but his contribution is significant. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Sep. 2023 Recorded with live instruments and vocals, Venba’s soundtrack bursts with energy by way of tabla, harpsichord, and synth. Nina Corcoran, Pitchfork, 18 Dec. 2023 They are complemented by Indian tabla player Sandeep Das (also a long-time Silkroad member), Sicilian accordionist and percussionist Francesco Turrisi (who is also Giddens’ life partner), cellist Karen Ouzounian and double bassist Shawn Conley. Steve Hochman, SPIN, 20 Nov. 2023 Somewhere in this profusion, dancers are shown executing all 108 poses of the ancient tradition Bharatanatyam, and 151 musicians are playing sitars, sarods, tablas, and an orchestra’s worth of other instruments. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 9 Nov. 2023 Accompanied on tabla by Avirodh Sharma, Ullah riffs for many of the 90 minutes on the immigrant experience: his parents’ and his own. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Oct. 2023 The 2018 play, which Ullah performs with the accompaniment of talented and charming tabla drummer Avirodh Sharma, opened Thursday in its West Coast premiere at the Old Globe. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Sep. 2023 Himalayan Highway features Shyam Nepali on sarangi, Pramod Upadhyaya on tabla, Zoe Levitt on mandolin, and Alex Formento on guitar. Globe Staff,, 23 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tabla.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Hindi & Urdu tablā, from Arabic ṭabla

First Known Use

1865, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tabla was in 1865

Dictionary Entries Near tabla

Cite this Entry

“Tabla.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

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