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History of Dhol


Dhol is a very popular folk drum of Northern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is a barrel shaped, sometimes cylindrical drum, with skins on both sides. It has one side which has a high pitch and another side which has a lower pitch. It is very popular in folk music. The dhol is essentially nothing more than a larger version of the dholak.
The term "Dhol" has a generic quality about it. Virtually any large barrel shaped or cylindrical drum may be called a dhol. Therefore, whenever one wishes to be more specific one generally attaches a descriptive term to make things clear (e.g."Bhangra Dhol").
The history of the Dhol is not clear. One source of confusion may be that the origin of the term "Dhol" may be different from the origin of the instrument itself. The word "dhol" is probably of Persian origin. It is probably derived from the Persian "dohol" or "duhul". However images of dhol players appear to be present in the bas relief carvings on Indian temple walls from the earliest times. It is possible that both the instrument as well as the name have some deep Indo-European connection. However, at this point it is just really difficult to make any firm statement as to the origin of the instrument.


Playing the Dhol

The Dhol(drum) is played using two wooden sticks dagga and tilli, usually made out of bamboo and cane wood. The most common rhythm played on the dhol is the Chaal, which consists of 8 beats per bar.
The stick used to play the bass side of the dhol(drum) is a bit thicker (roughly about 10 mm in diameter) and is bent in a quarter-circular arc on the end that strikes the dhol(drum), the dagga.
The other stick is much thinner and flexible and used to play the higher note end of the dhol(drum), the thili. The dhol(drum) is slung over the neck of the player with a strap usually made up of ropes or woven cloth. The surface of the wooden barrel is in some cases decorated with engraved or painted patterns.Someone who plays the dhol is known as Dholi/Dholplayer.


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