Type: Membranophones > Drums > Barrel > Double Headed >
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 211.222.1
Diameter: Left Side cm ; Right Side cm.
Region: South Asia.
Description: the Pakhavaj is a barrel shaped, double headed drum that originates from the Indian Subcontinent. The pakhavaj is a related variant of the older mrdangam. The kendang of Indonesia is a distant relation to the pakhavaj and other South Asian double headed drums.
The pakhawaj is most commonly played in the dhrupad style of Indian classical music and used as a rhythmic accompaniment for various sub genres of music and dance performances.
Etymology: The word pakhavaj has its roots in the word पखावज – pakhāvaja or pakhavāja who is of Prakrit origin; the Sanskrit equivalent is pakṣavādya as derived from the words [pakṣa; a side] and [vādya; a musical instrument].
During the 14th century, the great mrdangam players experimented with the materials used in mrdangam construction and finally started using wood for the main body as opposed to the original clay. Thus, a new name pakhavaj emerged, whilst the older name, mrdang was still used.
Playing Techniques: The pakhawaj players place the instrument horizontally in front of themselves as they sit on the floor with legs crossed. The players may sometimes place a cushion under the narrower treble face to lift it slightly.
A right-handed person places the larger bass-skin on the left side and the treble skin on the right. The bass face tends to be smeared with some wet wheat dough which acts as the kiran and gives a vivid bass sound to the pakhawaj.
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