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Alastair Dick

Variable tension waisted drum of ancient India, important in the theatre orchestra. It is described in the Nāṭyaśāstra as 16 fingers (perhaps 32 cm) long with a narrow waist. The shell at the heads is 8 fingers wide externally, but as the shell here is 1½ fingers thick the internal diameter of the opening is 5 fingers; the diameter of the waist is 4 fingers. Elsewhere in the same text the drum is said to be bound all around with strings. Its playing technique is also described: the fingers of one hand or the armpit are used to tension and release the heads, producing low, high, and portamento (...