The Carnatic sangeet of southern India prefers a drum called
Mridangam. It is the principal drum used in the performance of classical South
Indian music and dance. This instrument is a single piece of wood that is
hollowed out and has playing heads on both sides. The Mridangam is a south
Indian representative of a class of instrument known as Mridang.
Mridangam forms the basis for carnatic classical percussion in India. One major winning point in Carnatic music is the rhythm management which admits of any amount of innovation and growth. In Western music, the rhythm instrument is the drum. The drum just maintains the pulse rate of the music and it calls for more of brawn than brain.
When on a solo turn, the variety and patterns and mode of rhythmic travel is a genuine feast to both the learned and the laity. There is hardly any acclaimed expert in any percussion instrument anywhere on earth who does not venerate the Mridangam as the king in the rhythmic realm. The artists mostly tune the instrument by varying the tension in the leather straps spanning the hull of the instrument, this is a complex procedure and requires the right guidance of a trainer.
A professional trainer can help achieve this by inculcating the correct placing of the mridangam upright with its larger side facing down, and then striking the tension-bearing straps located along of circumference of the right membrane with a heavy object (such as a stone).