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  • Chapter 4

    Basic strokes

    This chapter contains a list of the basic strokes with their techniques. The techniques which

    are described here are for right handed people. A left handed person should simply reverse

    the drum and exchange the terms left and right.

    In fig. 4.1 below are reported again the names of the parts of a treble drumhead, as

    they are often referred to in this chapter for the clear illustration of techniques.

    Figure 4.1: Treble head chart

    4.1 Fundamental one–hand strokes

    The following is a description of the fundamental strokes to be played with the right hand

    or with the left hand. An important distintion has to be made for strokes performed Khula,

    “open”, or with resonance, and strokes performed bandh, “closed”, without resonance.

    37

  • 38 Basic strokes

    4.1.1 The right hand open stroke Nā (na;a) The open stroke Nā (pronounced as in “Not”) is a common resonant stroke of the right hand.

    It is produced by holding the last two fingers lightly against the syahi and using the index

    finger to forcefully hit the rim (chat or kinar) of the treble head. It is important to keep the

    middle finger extended so as not to hit the drum.

    Figure 4.2: The open right hand stroke Nā (na;a)

    The correct position may be visualized by an “X” running across the drum. This cross

    pattern is not imaginary but is a reflection of actual resonance characteristics. The position

    of this cross is determined by the ring finger and little finger. Sliding these fingers around

    will cause the position of the cross to vary. Maximum efficiency is produced when one strikes

    the chat at the position where the other leg of the cross passes over the rim. Nā is a resonant

    sound, therefore it is called khula, and is shown in fig. 4.2.

    There are several versions of this stroke, also known as Tā. They are differentiated by

    the exact place of striking and whether the finger is allowed to rebound or not.

    4.1.2 The left hand open stroke Gi (;�a;ga) The open stroke Gi (pronounced as in “Gear”) is a very common resonant stroke of the left

    hand. It is also the easiest to execute. One simply strikes the bass head with the flat fingers.

    Notice that the tips of the fingers extend inside the area of the bass head so that the striking

    hand hits the the rim with the palm. It is a resonant sound, therefore it is called khula, and

    is shown in fig. 4.3(a).

    MRIDANG DRAFT Ver. 1.0

  • 4.1 Fundamental one–hand strokes 39

    4.1.3 The left hand closed stroke Ka (k)

    The closed stroke Ka (pronounced as in “Cup”) is a very common nonresonant stroke of the

    left hand. It is also easy to execute. One simply strikes the bass head with the flat palm

    and fingers. It is a flat slapping sound with no resonance, therefore it is called bandh, and is

    shown in fig. 4.3(b).

    Sometimes Ka is also calledKā, Ke, Ki or Kı̄.

    (a) The left hand open stroke Gi (;�a;ga) (b) The left hand closedstroke Ka (k)

    Figure 4.3: Left hand fundamental strokes

    4.1.4 The right hand closed stroke Te (.tea)

    The closed stroke Te (pronounced as in “Test”) is a common stroke of the right hand. There

    are at least four ways to play this bol. However only two are common: the Dilli (Delhi) style

    and the Purbi style.

    The Dilli (Delhi) way is to strike the center of the syahi with the middle finger of the

    right hand. This is shown in fig. 4.4(a). The approach known as Purbi is different. One

    leads off with the last three fingers of the right hand (i.e. middle, ring, and little fingers).

    This technique is shown in fig. 4.4(b). Te is a bandh sound.

    November 2000 agodemar@unina.it

  • 40 Basic strokes

    4.1.5 The right hand closed stroke Ti (;�a;ta) The closed stroke Ti (pronounced as in “Tea”) is executed by striking the center of the syahi

    with the index finger as in fig. 4.4(c). It is a bandh sound. This stroke may have other

    names when played in longer bol combinations. Another common name for this stroke is the

    bol Re.

    (a) The Dilli (Delhi) style Te (.tea) (b) The Purbi style Te(.tea) (c) The stroke Ti(;�a;ta)

    Figure 4.4: Right hand closed strokes

    4.1.6 The bol TiT. a (;�a;taf) This bol, TiT. a, is made of two closed strokes of the right hand. There are at least five

    techniques for executing this stroke, but here only two shall be described. One Dilli (Delhi)

    and one Purbi.

    The basic Dilli (Delhi) style is simple. Ti is made by striking the center of the syahi with

    the middle finger (like the Dilli style Te). This is a non–resonant (bandh) stroke. T. a is made

    by striking the center of the syahi with the index finger (like Ti). This too is a non–resonant

    (bandh) stroke and should have a sound that is indistinguishable from Ti. This technique is

    shown in fig. 4.5.

    The sequence of strokes in the execution of this bol may also be reversed like in fig. 4.6.

    The bol will be called TiT. a as well, or Reverse TiT. a.

    The execution of the bol TiT. a in Purbi style is a little bit different. Ti is executed by

    MRIDANG DRAFT Ver. 1.0

  • 4.1 Fundamental one–hand strokes 41

    Figure 4.5: The sequence of strokes in the Dilli (Delhi) style TiT. a (;�a;taf)

    Figure 4.6: The sequence of strokes in the Dilli (Delhi) style Reverse TiT. a

    striking sharply with the last three fingers of the right hand (i.e. middle, ring, and little

    fingers, like in Purbi style Te). T. a is executed by striking the center of the syahi with the

    index finger (like Ti).

    Figure 4.7: The sequence of strokes in the Purbi style TiT. a

    November 2000 agodemar@unina.it

  • 42 Basic strokes

    The sequence of strokes in the execution of this bol may also be reversed like in fig. 4.8.

    The bol will be called (Purbi style) TiT. a as well, or (Purbi style) Reverse TiT. a.

    Figure 4.8: The sequence of strokes in the Purbi style Reverse TiT. a

    There are several variations in the bol. It is also common to find this sequence called

    TeT. e, TeT. a, TiT. e.

    4.1.7 The right hand open stroke Tin (;�a;tMa)

    The open stroke Tin (pronounced as in “Tin can”) is a common resonant stroke of the right

    hand. Its hand position is very similar to Nā, but it is much softer and more delicate. This

    stroke is produced by placing the last two fingers of the right hand lightly against the syahi

    and striking on the border between the syahi and the maidan. As with Nā, the middle finger

    is extended and does not strike the drum. Great care must be taken so that the stroke is

    resonant. This resonance will only come if it is a light ricochet. The exact striking position

    is determined by the construction of the drum but it is usually at the border of the syahi

    and maidan. This technique is shown in fig. 4.9.

    Beginners often have a difficult time making Tin sound different from Nā. There are

    two points to keep in mind. First, the stroke must be resonant (khula). Second, it must be

    played very softly.

    MRIDANG DRAFT Ver. 1.0

  • 4.2 Combined strokes 43

    Figure 4.9: The open right hand stroke Tin (;�a;tMa)

    4.1.8 The right hand open stroke Tun (tMua)

    The open stroke Tun (pronounced as in “Tune”) is a common resonant stroke of the right

    hand. The head is not muted at all but allowed to resonate freely. The head is struck in the

    center of the syahi with the index finger of the right hand. This technique is shown in fig.

    4.10.

    Figure 4.10: The open right hand stroke Tun (tMua)

    There are several variations in pronunciation. Some common examples are Tu (as in “Two”),

    Thu, Thun, etc.

    November 2000 agodemar@unina.it

  • 44 Basic strokes

    Figure 4.11: Obtaining a combined stroke striking the drumheads with both hands together

    4.2 Combined strokes

    Combined strokes are listed nn the following sections. They are played with both hands

    together, see fig. 4.11.

    4.2.1 The bol Dhā (;Da;a) The bol Dhā (pronounced as in “Ad hoc”) is a combination of Nā and Gi, see fig. 4.12.

    Figure 4.12: The bol Dhā (;Da;a) = Nā (na;a) + Gi (;�a;ga)

    4.2.2 The bol Dhin (;�a;DMa) The bol Dhin (pronounced as in “And hinder”) is a combination of Tin and Gi, see fig. 4.13.

    MRIDANG DRAFT Ver. 1.0

  • 4.2 Combined strokes 45

    Figure 4.13: The bol Dhin (;�a;DMa) =Tin (;�a;tMa) + Gi (;�a;ga)

    4.2.3 The bol Kha (Ka) The bol Kha (pronounced as in “knock house”) is a combination of Nā and Ka, see fig. 4.14.

    Figure 4.14: The bol Kha (Ka) = Nā (na;a) + Ka (k)

    4.2.4 The bol Dhi (;�a;Da) The bol Dhi is a combination of Ti and Gi, see fig. 4.15.

    4.2.5 The bol Dhe (;Dea) The bol Dhe is a combination of Te and Gi, see fig. 4.16.

    4.2.6 The bol Dhun (;DMua) The bol Dhun is a combination of Tun and Gi, see fig. 4.17.

    November 2000 agodemar@unina.it

  • 46 Basic strokes

    Figure 4.15: The bol Dhi (;�a;Da) = Ti (;�a;ta) + Gi (;�a;ga)

    Figure 4.16: The bol Dhe (;Dea) = Te (.tea) + Gi (;�a;ga)

    Figure 4.17: The bol Dhun (;DMua) = Tun (tMua) + Gi (;�a;ga)

    4.2.7 The bol Khun (KMua)

    The b