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date: 13 December 2019


  • Alastair Dick


Old south Indian Tamil name for a wooden barrel drum, equated with mattalam and found in texts of the 1st millennium ce. It had two skin-covered heads, the right being tuned with a paste (mārcanai, i.e. Sanskrit mārjanā) of powdered charcoal and cooked rice. It was the leading instrument of the dance orchestra, controlling the level of the other instruments and filling in for continuity (as does the ...

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