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Percussion instrumentKanjira_header_cell_0_0_0
Other namesKanjira_header_cell_0_1_0 ganjiraKanjira_cell_0_1_1
ClassificationKanjira_header_cell_0_2_0 Frame drumKanjira_cell_0_2_1
Hornbostel–Sachs classificationKanjira_header_cell_0_3_0 211.311

(Directly struck membranophone)Kanjira_cell_0_3_1

The kanjira, khanjira, khanjiri or ganjira, a South Indian frame drum, is an instrument of the tambourine family. Kanjira_sentence_0

As a folk and bhajan instrument, it has been used in India for many centuries. Kanjira_sentence_1

It was modified to a frame drum with a single pair of jingles by Manpoondia Pillai in the 1880s, who is credited with bringing the instrument to the classical stage. Kanjira_sentence_2

It is used primarily in concerts of Carnatic music (South Indian classical music) as a supporting instrument for the mridangam. Kanjira_sentence_3

Construction Kanjira_section_0

Similar to the Western tambourine, it consists of a circular frame made of the wood of the jackfruit tree, between 7 and 9 inches in width and 2 to 4 inches in depth. Kanjira_sentence_4

It is covered on one side with a drumhead made of monitor lizard skin (specifically the Bengal monitor, Varanus bengalensis, now an endangered species in India), while the other side is left open. Kanjira_sentence_5

The traditional lizard skin is prohibited worldwide due to protection of species regulations. Kanjira_sentence_6

Even well-known Kanjira players, however, attest to the great advantages of using goat skin as an alternative. Kanjira_sentence_7

After playing for a while, the goat skin gets more and more flexible and offers a wider range of possible modulations. Kanjira_sentence_8

frame has a single slit which contain three to four small metal discs (often old coins) that jingle when the kanjira is played. Kanjira_sentence_9

Play Kanjira_section_1

The kanjira is a relatively difficult Indian drum to play, especially in South Indian Carnatic music, for reasons including the complexity of the percussion patterns used in Indian music. Kanjira_sentence_10

It is normally played with the palm and fingers of the right hand, while the left hand supports the drum. Kanjira_sentence_11

The fingertips of the left hand can be used to bend the pitch by applying pressure near the outer rim. Kanjira_sentence_12

It is not tuned to any particular pitch, unlike the mridangam or the ghatam. Kanjira_sentence_13

Normally, without tuning, it has a very high pitched sound. Kanjira_sentence_14

To get a good bass sound, the performer reduces the tension of the drumhead by sprinkling water on the inside of the instrument. Kanjira_sentence_15

This process may have to be repeated during a concert to maintain a good sound. Kanjira_sentence_16

However, if the instrument is too moist, it will have a dead tone, requiring 5–10 minutes to dry. Kanjira_sentence_17

Tone is also affected by external temperature and moisture conditions. Kanjira_sentence_18

Performers typically carry a couple of kanjiras so that they can keep at least one in perfectly tuned condition at any given time. Kanjira_sentence_19

Depending on dexterity, surprising glissando effects like on the Tabla are possible. Kanjira_sentence_20

Nepal Kanjira_section_2

In Nepal the Kanjira is called Khaijadi (खैंजडी). Kanjira_sentence_21

The country has a variety of tambourines besides the Khaijadi, including the Daanf, Damphu (डम्फू) and Hring. Kanjira_sentence_22

The instrument is used in dances and chants at festivals. Kanjira_sentence_23

One example are the Khanjadi bhajan (खैंजडी भजन), hymns sung in the Chhetri-Brahmin society. Kanjira_sentence_24

It is customary to sing this khanjadi bhajan in the Kathmandu Valley as well as in most parts of the eastern hills. Kanjira_sentence_25

Most of the performers are from the regional Brahmin community, but all castes are entertained as spectators and listeners. Kanjira_sentence_26

The event includes dancers dancing in pairs while Chudka humns are sung by the musicans and audience. Kanjira_sentence_27

The event uses Puranic Hindu scriptures. Kanjira_sentence_28

This type of hymn uses a mixture of both verse and prose. Kanjira_sentence_29

At the beginning, part of the story is presented in prose. Kanjira_sentence_30

Then the lyrical hymn begins. Kanjira_sentence_31

To sing a hymn, one has to study the religious texts extensively and be able to give it its original form. Kanjira_sentence_32

The voice of the psalmist should also be such that it can attract everyone. Kanjira_sentence_33

In the same way, there should be singers who can play the khanjadi used in the psalms skillfully and know how to dance. Kanjira_sentence_34

Players Kanjira_section_3


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanjira.