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date: 22 February 2020


  • Alastair Dick


Indian drum name that occurs in Sanskrit texts from the epic to the medieval period. The term has often been translated as ‘kettledrum’, but there appears to be no evidence for this type of drum in India before the Middle Ages. The bherī is described in medieval sources as a double-headed drum, probably barrel-shaped, about 72 cm long and 48 cm in diameter at the heads. The body was made of copper, the heads stretched on creeper hoops laced by rope, with a central cross-lacing. The drum was beaten on the right head by a stick and on the left by the hand. It was described as a battle drum with a majestic sound. Drums of this type are found in ancient Indian sculpture, sometimes borne on a pole carried on the shoulders of two men.

See also Ḍhol.

C. Marcel-Dubois: Les instruments de musique de l’Inde ancienne (Paris, 1941)...

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