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If you have ever visited India for an occasion, it’s very likely for you to come across Pakhavajes (also known as ‘Tablas’ or ‘Mridangam’). These are double sided percussive instruments from India, which are played with hands. There are stretched Goatskin membrane on both the sides. And both the sides are batter sides with unequal width, which enables Pakhavajes to produce both bass and treble sound. The wider side produces bass notes and the narrower side produces treble notes. To play bass and treble notes depend a lot on the palm and finger hits.

To play a Pakhavaj, you need to hold it horizontally in such a way that your left hand plays the Bass. There are multiple formations you can perform with your palm and finger movements along the course of the Pakhavaj’s skin. The sound produced by striking a note gets trapped inside the body of the instrument. Which in return produces sound.

When you plan to learn Pakhavaj, you have to learn a lot of classic theories. Terminologies from your already learned Western Music Theory may be called by some other names. Here are a few basic components of Western music theory, which remains the same for every other 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.