What facts should I consider before buying Mridanga?
That it is beautiful in form & appearance having a classy look, that it is of the finest quality, offers superior functionality, and durable – not in that order though.
How many types of Mridangas are there?
Mridangam can be of two kinds. One is “Kutchi” and the other is “kappi”.
In Kutchi mridangam small strips are made from a type of tree plant. These increase the dampening effect that acts as a snare, which helps one to produce a unique sound with great vibration. Where as in Kappi mridangam crushed stones from a variety called ‘Kittam’ or ‘Chittam’ is used and placed to produce a sound similar to tabla but with great vibration.
How is Mridanga different from Tabla
Some of the most prominent differences between the two are as follows:
Mridangam uses single resonator. Tabla uses two.
In Tabla, the tension of the right and left heads is separate where as in Mridangam, the left head and the right head are inseparably linked and also the tentison of right and left sides are is inseparable.
Since Mridangam uses single resonator, it produces an acoustic coupling between the two heads. Instead of using straps (leather or Rope) to fix the right and the left heads, bolt and nuts are used to fix the right and the left head. The tension of both sides becomes separate, but there is an acoustic coupling of both sides in terms of sound produced because, Mridangam body is made of single block of wood with Arada at the center where as Tabla uses two separate bodies for right and left heads of the drums.
How to tune a Mridangam?
Tuning Mridanga is an art that can be mastered by a systematic practice. Things required for tuning the Mridangam include Chromatic Pitch Pipe, small stone, small wooden Stick of the size of an index finger of an adult.
The player wanting to tune the Mridanga should play the pitch pipe after selecting the pitch needed and playing the chapu in the mean time. He should observe whether the Mridangam matches with the pitch pipe. If Mridanga pitch is less, then player should hold the wooden stick on that particular point on the between the leather straps and beat it on the top of the stick with the stone.
And if the pitch of the mridangam is higher than the pitch pipe, player should hold the wooden stick at the bottom between the leather straps and beat it with the stone from below upwards on the stick. HE should repeat the process on all sides of the karanai till the time the pitch matches with the pitch pipe.
With practice and experience the player learns to accurately tune the mridangam.
How about the wood used in crafting Mridanga. Is there any wood that is excellent in its structure and economical?
Yes, there is a wood known as “Kottukapulli Wood”, which is available in plenty. Not very popular but the texture of this wood is excellent. It has a fine-grained texture. It can be carved and shaped when raw and no seasoning is required before making the barrel. It seasons itself in six months to one year without distortion and changes its color from whitish grey to a beautiful brown hue. This wood is slightly heavier than jack fruit wood therefore the sound pitch and vibration tone is excellent. With this wood the rims maintain shape better and longest than other woods. Plus it is economical.
If you have questions about Mridanga that do not appear above, please write to us, we will get back to you shortly with answers and solutions along with publishing them on this blog with your name.