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Dholak

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Introduction Of Dholak

Dholak is a very popular folk drum of northern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as well.  It is barrel shaped, at times a cylindrical drum, with skins on both sides.  Dholak has one side which has a high pitch and another side which has a lower pitch and is very popular in folk music.  Images of dhol players appear to be present in the bas relief carvings on Indian temple walls from the earliest times.

It may have traditional cotton rope lacing, screw-turnbuckle tensioning or both combined: in the first case steel rings are used for tuning or pegs are twisted inside the laces.

The dholak is mainly a folk instrument, lacking the exact tuning and playing techniques of the tabla or the pakhawaj. The drum is pitched, depending on size, with an interval of perhaps a perfect fourth or perfect fifth between the two heads.

It is related to the larger Punjabi dhol and the smaller dholki.

 

Construction

The smaller surface of the dholak is made of goat skin for sharp notes and the bigger surface is made of buffalo skin for low pitches, which allows a combination of bass and treble with rhythmic high and low pitches.

The shell is sometimes made from sheesham wood but cheaper dholaks may be made from any wood, such as mango. Sri Lankan dholaks and dholkis are made from hollowed coconut palm stems.

 

dholak2 image

 

Playing style

The drum is either played on the player's lap or, while standing, slung from the shoulder or waist or pressed down with one knee while sitting on the floor.

In some styles of playing (such as Punjab) an iron thumb ring is used to produce a distinctive "chak" rim sound. In other styles (such as Rajasthani), all fingers are generally used.

Dholak masters are often adept at singing or chanting and may provide a primary entertainment or lead drumming for a dance troupe.

On large dholaks, known as dhols, the high-pitched head may be played using a thin (1/4" / 6 mm or less) long (over 14" / 30 cm) stick of rattan or bamboo (rattan is preferred for its flexibility) and the low-pitched drum head using a somewhat thicker, angled stick.

 

 

dholak3 image

 

How to Play Dholak

 

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