INSTRUMENTS & TECHNIQUES
It is the main percussion instrument in South Indian music, also called Carnatic music, and for South Indian Classical Dance performances as well. Its name comes from the Sanskrit words “Mrid” and “Ang”, which literally means “Clay Body”. Over the years, it started being made of different types of wood as the sound changed over time. The two 'mouths' are covered with goatskin, and each side has a different size, so you can get bass and treble sounds from one drum. The rhythm patterns in South Indian music are complex and mathematical, so mridangam players have to be really good with their numbers, combining them together to make some really fascinating combinations.
It is also an ancient percussion instrument used in Carnatic classical music. The ghatam consists of a clay pot reinforced with brass, copper and iron fillings. The pitch of the ghatam is unique and can only be slightly modified by water and additional clay. It is played with the hands, fingers, wrists and even the belly... can produce a large variety of sounds right from the neck to the body of the ghatam. Normally it is played together with the mridangam in Carnatic music.
The kanjira is a small handheld drum that resembles a tambourine. It consists of a circular wooden frame of jack wood with a couple of small metal discs attached to it. One face of the frame is stretched over with a thin layer of leather. The drum is played by striking the leather face with the fingers. It is a very versatile instrument that is used as the secondary percussion accompaniment.
It is the art of recitation of the vocal syllables of the mridangam. The word comes from Koni (to recite) in Telugu. This word was adopted in the Tamil language and joined to ‘Kol’ (to rule). Konnakol is used as a reference for all Carnatic music. Konnakol is closely allied with the sounds of the mridangam, being an integral part of the training for a mridangist. It is also used extensively in dance music of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. It is interspersed in the songs used in the performance and often leads the mridangam.