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Kanjiras are ancient percussive instruments from India. Being used majorly in community prayers, the Kanjiras are made up of Jackfruit tree wood and their skins are made of Monitor Lizard skin. Every Kanjira consists of a body, skin on only one side and a slit in the frame to hold brass rings. The reason behind skin on just one side is that the Kanjiras cannot be tuned. The players have to do it by dampening the skin from the other side.

Kanjiras have to be held in left hand in such a way that the batter side faces the right palm. Fingers from the right hand are used to play beats on the instrument. The left hand is then used for shaking the Kanjiras and dampening the batter. To take a roll on the Kanjira, you need to rotate the Kanjira while playing beats with the right hand. There are a lot of application of a Kanjira. You can strike the membrane, or you can only shake the Kanjira for accents.

If you are learning the Kanjiras, you may require a little knowledge on basic components of Western Percussive Musical theory.

Common Terms related to Drums and Percussions

  • Accents:- They are generally used to enhance the presence of a song by hitting a note harder than the rest, where the music requires. Accents are as important for creating grooves as they are for adding presence. They are very important for every instrument player as it polishes the quality of the music.
  • American Grip:- The rock way of gripping sticks. A perfect American grip is performed with sticks making a 45-degree angle with the beater side. At the same time, elbows must remain at rest sidewards and palm faces downward. Hits are performed with wrists movements.
  • Bass comping:- In percussive instruments, there is only one rule, which is to not play the lowest frequency and the highest frequency strikes together. The rule is breakable in cases when one of the frequencies keeps playing constantly, and the other one is required to maintain the groove. Apart from that, try to practice bass note with every accent.
  • Batter Side/ Resonant Side:- In most of the percussive instruments, there are two sides (a) Batter side:- The side you hit to produce sound; and (b) Resonant Side:- The other layer which produces a sound to give a tone to the strike.
  • Click Track:- Now this is important. Click tracks are time signatures that are arranged in a pattern. They are designed to play for the entire length of the song.