That’s because Mozart did not know what a tabla was


Tabla virtuosos Zakir Hussain is seen playing with the Symphony Orchestra Of India, and the photo comes from a well-informed article titled 'Alaap in C minor' in the Indian online magazine Live Mint. A very useful perspective on the artificial borders imposed on art music is provided by this story in the article:
Last year, Hussain’s brother Fazal Qureshi played the tabla along with a string quartet in a rendition of Mozart’s Divertimento in D, perhaps the first time an Indian instrument had been used in a canonical Western classical piece. “The Western musicians I was playing with were concerned because they said Mozart did not write this with tabla in mind. I told them that’s because Mozart did not know what a tabla was,” Qureshi says.
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