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Source: The Print


Context: Karaikudi R Rani, also known as Karaikudi Mani, a legendary mridangam vidwan, who dominated the Carnatic music scene for half a century passed away recently.


About the Mridangam:



OriginIt originated 2,000 years ago in various parts of South India
UsageIt is a popular bifacial drum used as an accompaniment in South Indian Classical music, particularly Carnatic music
Playing MethodIt is held across the lap and played on both ends with the hands and fingers
Similar InstrumentMrdanga, Pakhawaj, and Tannumai. The Pakhavaj is a similar instrument played in the Hindustani tradition of northern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh
Making ProcessThe body is scooped out of a single block of wood, preferably Jack Wood or Redwood. It is shaped like a barrel with the right head slightly smaller than the left.


Comparison of Carnatic music and Hindustani music on the basis of instruments used:

AspectCarnatic MusicHindustani Music
Melodic InstrumentsVeena, Violin, Flute, Nadaswaram, Gottuvadyam, Mandolin, etc.Sitar, Sarod, Santoor, Bansuri, Shehnai, Harmonium, etc.
PercussionMridangam, Ghatam, Kanjira, Thavil, Morsing, etc.Tabla, Pakhawaj, Dholak, Khol, Naal, etc.
Drone InstrumentTamburaTanpura, Swarmandal
Vocalization StyleSyllabic, has a fixed tonic and scale, complex rhythmic structuresFree-flowing, improvisational, and emphasis on ragas
Music StructureKriti is the basic structure of Carnatic musicRaga is the basic structure of Hindustani music