Chande

Name: Chande.
Type: Barrel Drum > Membranophone.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#:
Country: South India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The chande is a drum used in the traditional and classical music of South India and particularly in Yakshagana theatre art of Karnataka. It follows the Yakshagana Tala system. The rhythms are based on pre-classical music forms and folk grooves, and some rhythms are similar to Karnataka Sangeta and to lesser extent Hindustani Sangeetha.

History: In ancient Hindu sculpture, painting, and mythology, the chande is often depicted as the instrument used to declare war [rana chande – war drum]. This instrument can produce complicated rhythms that can be heard from more than 3 km. However Chande is the relatively recent addition to the Yakshagana orchestra.

It is believed it came to be used since 150 or so years ago. Its body is constructed from wood of the jackfruit tree [Artocarpus heterophyllus] or Kakke / Baine / Jambe. The body is called ‘goodu’ in Kannada. Chande players follow the Yakshagana system of talas (or taalams). There are similarities to the Karnataka Sangeetha talas. The rhythm system itself has pre-classical origins.

Varieties: There are two major varieties being the Badagu Thittu Chande [Northern School] and the Thenku Thittu Chande [Southern School]. The latter can also be spelled chande and is used exclusively in the art forms of southern coastal Karnataka and Kerala. This article deals with Badagu Thittu Chande, used exclusively in Yakshagana of Karnataka. The chande used in Badagu Thittu is structurally and acoustically different from the chande used in Kerala.

Construction: The circular drum head is made of processed cow skin. Usually there are 12 hinges that hold the drum head to the wooden trunk using thick ropes. Typical drum head size is about 32 cm and about 23 cm inner diameter. Playing area of drum head is about 20 cm in diameter. Wedges inserted inside the ropes are twisted to tighten or loosen the drum head while tuning. A tubular wooden wedge is tied to edge of the drum head to roll using dominant hand. Traditionally the chande must be tuned to an octave above singers tonic [Higher Shadja].