- Patricia Matusky
Drum of Peninsular Malaysia and Muslim areas of Indonesia. The cylindrical wooden body, about 12 cm deep, has two heads about 16 cm in diameter, attached and tightened with rope or nylon cord. In Sumatra the heads were formerly of monkey skin but nowadays goatskin is normal. The drum is held horizontally in one hand (often by means of a thumb loop) and struck on the upper head with the fingers and palm of the other hand in precise locations to achieve specific timbres. The marwas is played in the ensemble that accompanies the Malay zapin dance; usually four players beat out interlocking rhythmic patterns on four drums. It can also accompany another instrument and a singer. The marwas descends from the Arab mirwās, and Arab men in the Malindi district of Kenya call their bass drum marwas.P. Matusky and S.B. Tan: The Music of Malaysia: the Classical, Folk, and Syncretic Traditions...