The tabla (or tabl, tabla) (Hindi: तबला, Bengali: তবলা, Urdu: طبلہ, Arabic: طبل، طبلة, Persian: طبل) is a membranophone percussion instrument (similar to their Afro-Cuban/Latin-American drum-based relatives bongos), which are often used in Hindustani classical music, invented by the Indian Sufi saint Amir Khusro. It is still used in the music behind folk and sufi poetry. It later became a part of Hindustani music industry. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres. The term tabla is derived from an Arabic word, tabl, which simply means "drum." The tabla is used in some other Asian musical traditions outside of India, such as in the Indonesian dangdut genre.
Playing technique involves extensive use of the fingers and palms in various configurations to create a wide variety of different sounds, reflected in the mnemonic syllables (bol). The heel of the hand is used to apply pressure or in a sliding motion on the larger drum so that the pitch is changed during the sound's decay