Mridangam

Mridangam

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Mridangam

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Description:
The mridangam ( , , , , , ) is a percussion instrument from India of ancient origin. It is the primary rhythmic accompaniment in a Carnatic music ensemble. Alternate spellings include "mrudangam", "mrdangam", "mrithangam", "miruthangam", and "mirudhangam".

The mridangam is also played in Carnatic concerts in countries outside of India, including Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. During a percussion ensemble, the mridangam is often accompanied by the ghatam, kanjira, and the morsing.

History

In ancient Hindu sculpture, painting, and mythology, the mridangam is often depicted as the instrument of choice for a number of deities including Ganesha (the remover of obstacles) and Nandi, who is the vehicle and companion of Lord Shiva. Nandi is said to have played the mridangam during Shiva's arcane Tandava dance, causing a divine rhythm to resound across the heavens. The miruthangam is thus also known as "Deva Vaadyam," or "Instrument of the Gods."

The word "mridangam" is derived from the two Sanskrit words mŗda (clay or earth) and anga (body). Early mridangams were indeed made of hardened clay. Over the years, the mridangam evolved to be made of different kinds of wood due to its increased durability, and today, its body is constructed from wood of the jackfruit tree. It is widely believed that the tabla, the mridangam's North Indian musical...
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