Name: Mardal.
Type: Membranophones > Drum > Barrel > Double >
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 211.222.1
Diameter: cm.
Length: cm.
Area: Orissa, southern Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: [mā̃dal, mandar, mandal, mardal, mādal, madal] Double-headed drum, with baked clay body and laced skin heads, found among Austro-Asiatic and Dravidian Ādivāsī groups as well as non-Ādivāsī musicians throughout East-Central India, including the states of Orissa, southern Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and eastern Uttar Pradesh. The size and shape of the mā̃dar vary depending on the group and geographic area. The two most common shapes are barrel-shaped and conical [straight or slightly waisted].

Construction: The hollow shell of the mā̃dar is a thin wall of baked clay whitewashed with white clay or slaked lime. For added strength cowhide lacings about 2 mm wide are pasted around the shell in close parallel bands. Monkey hide is preferred for the right head. Due to the scarcity of monkey hide.

The left head is usually made of calf-hide. The skins are held in place by plaited straw hoops and a strip of skin about 1 cm wide overlapping the outer edge of each head. The skins and hoops are tied in a close network of lacings which runs the length of the drum.

Additional thongs of cowhide running from one head to the other hold the skins permanently at the required tension. The right head is usually treated to within 1 cm or 4 cm of its edge with many layers of a permanent paste of clay and a grain, typically rice. Each layer is rubbed well with a stone and allowed to dry.

A process of applying a paste in the centre of the membrane on ether side, functions as a tuning aide for the drum. Either side can be tuned to higher or lower pitches depending on the diameter and with of the membrane.

After the application fo the paste, onto the centre of the membrane. The paste is allowed to dry. The left head is decorated with painted geometric designs, and the entire drum is wrapped in a colourful cloth.


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