History And Method Of Playing Dholak Musical Instrument In English

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Dholak Musical Instrument
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History And Method Of Playing Dholak Musical Instrument

History

  • Dholak is a two-headed hand drum, which is a folk percussion instrument. The instrument is about 45 cm long and 27 cm wide and is widely used in Qawwali, Kirtan, Lavani and Bhangra.
  • Drums have two different sizes of drumheads. The small drumhead is made of goat skin for sharp notes while the large drumhead is made of buffalo skin for low pitch.
  • Two drumheads allow combination of bass and treble with rhythmic high and low pitches. The body or shell of the dholak is made of rosewood or mango wood.
  • A compound (ink) is applied to the larger membrane which helps in lowering the pitch and producing the sound. The smaller drumhead is played with the left hand which produces a higher pitch. A cotton rope lace and screw-turnbuckle are used to release the tension while playing.
  • Steel rings / pegs are rotated inside the laces to achieve fine tuning.

Construction

  • The smaller surface of the dholak is made of goat skin for sharp tones and the larger surface is made of buffalo skin for low pitches, allowing the combination of bass and treble with rhythmic high and low pitches.
  • The shell is sometimes made from rosewood (Dalbergia sissu), but the cheaper dholak can be made from any wood, such as mango. In Sri Lanka, the dholak has been borrowed from India and has only seen some popularity there in recent times.

Use

  • It is widely used in Qawwali, Kirtan, Lavani and Bhangra. It was formerly used in classical dance.
  • Indian children sing and dance to it during pre-wedding festivities. It is often used in Filmi Sangeet (Indian film music), Chutney Sangeet, Chutney-soka, Baitak Gana, Taan Gayan, Bhajan and in Jamaica, Suriname, Guyana, Caribbean, South Africa, Mauritius and local Indian folk music.
  • Trinidad and Tobago, where it was introduced by indentured immigrants. Dholak is widely used in the Fiji Islands for Indian folk music, bhajans and kirtans.

How to play –

  • The dholak can be played in three ways – on the player’s lap, standing, or sitting on the floor with one knee pressed against it.
  • In some styles of strumming, iron thumb rings are used to produce the distinctive “chuck” rim sound. In other styles, all fingers are commonly used.
  • Dholak masters are often skilled in singing or chanting and may provide the primary entertainment or drumming for a dance troupe.
  • On larger drums known as dhol, the high-pitched head is played using a thin (1/4″ / 6 mm or less) stick of rattan or bamboo can be made (rattan is preferred for its flexibility) and a low-pitched drum head using some thick, angled stick.

Type

  • The dholki is often slightly narrower in diameter and uses a tabla-style ink pick on its treble skin. This instrument is also known as Naal.
  • Its triple skin is stitched onto an iron ring, similar to an East Asian janggu or shim-daeko drum, to which the head is tensioned before being fitted.
  • Bass skins often have the same structure as that of a simple dholak, mounted on a bamboo ring, but sometimes they have a sheer and pleated gajra to withstand the extra tension, as in the tabla is seen. Similar drums with similar names are found elsewhere in western Asia.

Material

  • Cotton, Metal, Steel, Goat Skin, Buffalo Skin, Rosewood, Mango Wood, Ink.

Dholak’s Question Answer

What metal is the drum made of?

Dholak is an instrument made of cotton, metal, steel, goat skin, buffalo skin, rosewood, mango wood, ink.

When to use Dholak?

Dholak is widely used in Qawwali, Kirtan, Lavani and Bhangra.

What is the length and width of the drum?

The Dholak is approximately 45 cm long and 27 cm wide.

How many ways are there to play the dholak?

The dholak can be played in three ways – on the player’s lap, standing up, or sitting on the floor with one knee pressed against it.

Who is the famous player of Dholak?

Girish Vishwa is a famous player of Dholak.

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