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date: 10 December 2019


  • Alastair Dick
  • , revised by Andrew Alter


Common term in northern areas of the Indian subcontinent for round struck metallophones with raised edges. They are usually of brass or bronze and the instrument is, as its name denotes, the traditional Indian plate or eating ‘tray’. Steel plates may also be used, though these are not believed to have the same spiritual power as brass or bronze. They are often called ‘gongs’, but the definition for the latter in the Hornbostel–Sachs system as percussion vessels might not apply here, as the rim can be so shallow as only dubiously to form a ‘vessel’. In any case, they must be distinguished from the flat metallophones and the true gongs of South Asia, both specifically made as musical instruments. The sizes of thālī vary, but a diameter of about 22 cm is common. They may be suspended by a cord and struck with a wooden stick (sometimes both held in the same hand), or laid upside-down on the ground or on the player’s leg and beaten with two sticks. In the Uttarakhand area ...

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