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date: 11 December 2019

Māḍal [mā̃dal, madal, magaḥkhĩ]locked

  • Alastair Dick,
  • Mireille Helffer,
  • Gert-Matthias Wegner
  •  and Simonne Bailey


[mā̃dal, madal, magaḥkhĩ]

Double-headed barrel drum of eastern India and Nepal, known by various regional names. Although primarily a tribal instrument, the mādal is used to accompany secular song and dance by Hindu villagers in border areas, such as in the chau dance of Purulia district, West Bengal, and in the dalkhai and rasarkali songs of Sambalpur, Orissa. The name derives from the medieval Sanskrit ‘mardala’. In Nepal the instrument is of variable size, about 55 cm long with heads 18 and 23 cm in diameter. Tuning paste almost entirely covers the larger head but covers only one-third of the smaller head. The drum is held horizontally and struck with the hands. During a visit to Nepal in the 1980s, Bollywood film music director R.D. Burman discovered a set of tuned māḍals in a Kathmandu restaurant and was inspired to include this ensemble of ‘Māḍal-taraṅg’ in his compositions.

See also Mā̃dar ; Mṛdaṅga ...

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