lesson 1

As a general rule, your strong hand goes on the small head always.

We will need to learn only four strokes: ta, ki, ge, dha

ta

“Ta” is a resonant note made on the small head with the index finger (the finger rebounds after the strike, and the head is allowed to vibrate freely).

To make the “Ta” sound, the finger should be stiff, and strike the drum at a slight angle (the finger should not be parallel to the head). The base of the fingers strikes the rim of the head and automatically the finger will hit the head and rebound. After striking the head, the finger should not be resting on the head.

The strike should be made just below the center of the head.

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ki

“Ki” is made by spreading the fingers apart, and bringing the hand down on the big head of the drum so that the side of the thumb strikes first. The hand then flattens out on the head, one finger at a time, in rapid succession. After striking the head, the hand remains on the head and the head is not allowed to continue to vibrate (hear sound above this explanation).

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ge

“Ge” is a resonant note made on the big end of the drum (the bayan).

The fingers are kept apart and stiff. The hand strikes the rim of the drum just below the base of the fingers (the upper part of the palm). The force of the strike against the rim will bounce the fingers momentarily off the head, allowing the head to make a loud “Boom” sound. This is the loudest sound the mrdanga makes.

After striking the head, the fingers do not remain on the head, and the head is allowed to vibrate freely. All you have to do is just strike the edge of the rim, and automatically the fingers will rebound off the head.

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dha

DHA is a combination of Ge plus Ta played at precisely the same time. It’s played by slapping the big end of the drum and making a big resonant BOOM, and by bouncing your index finger off the rim of the small end of the drum.

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