Type: Barrel Drum > Membranophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 211.22
Region: South Asia.
Description: The Dholki [in Marathi: ढोलकी] is a South Asian conical barrel drum. It is also known as a Nal. The dholki is mainly a folk instrument. The drum is pitched, depending on size, with an interval of perhaps a perfect fourth or perfect fifth between the two heads. This is the instrument used for high pitch music. The dholki is very popular in the tamasha [street performance] of Maharashtra. Recently the dholki became absorbed into the Hindi film industry and today it’s very popular in use with filmi music.
There is often some confusion concerning the term “dholki” because, this term literally means, “a small dholak”; as such, the term is often used for smaller dhalaks that structurally are dissimilar to the dholki. The smaller surface of the Dholki is made of skin for sharp notes and the bigger surface is made of other skin for low pitches, which allows a combination of bass and treble with rhythmic high and low pitches.
Construction: The dholki is adjusted by has screw-turnbuckle tensioning on both sides. The left side resembles the bayan [large metal drum of the tabla. Except that it uses dholak masala [oil-based application] on the inner surface of the syahi [permanent black spot]. Goat skin is stitched onto an iron ring. In the centre of this skin is a syahi, similar to tabla except much thinner. The traditional dholki were laced with rope and had sticks to function as turnbuckles.