Madal

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

Description: The Madal (Nepali: मादल), is used mainly for rhythm-keeping in Nepalese folk music, is the most popular and widely used as hand drum in Nepal and also considered a national instrument. The medal originated in the Magar community in Nepal. There is also a madal drum among certain Adivasi groups. The ancient name of Madal was Mardal (मर्दल in Nepali). It is usually played horizontally in a seated position, with both heads played simultaneously.

The well-known Nepali musician Ranjit Gazmer introduced this instrument to Bollywood music, when he started working under Rahul Dev Burman, and has used it in numerous Bollywood songs such as ‘Hum dono do premi duniya chhod chale’, ‘Kanchhi re kanchhi re’ and many others.

Construction: Typically, a wooden log is carved so as to form a hollow cavity, called Ghar (घर). The heads of the drum are made of double-layered goat skins, and a black paste made of flour, iron filings, and egg is burned in to a circular area in the centre of each head. This circle adds weight to the head and significantly alters the sound of the drum, giving it a bell-like quality.

The heads are fixed to the body of the drum by leather strips running the length of the body, and an additional loose strip of leather which can be looped behind the performer’s knees while playing. The larger and smaller heads are often referred to as male and female respectively.