Tuning the Mrdanga part II

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uddhavadasa
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#1 Tuning the Mrdanga part II

Post by uddhavadasa » 13 Aug 2011, 20:12

Hi!

So I recently got a South Indian mrdanga. Its a 24" drum but when it arrived home (Coimbatore) from Chennai, the right head was producing the note E (western tuning).
So I thought it would be easy to tune by releasing the tension with the straps... oh boy! What a challenge.

So now I've got the drum tuned to C but the tensions on the head are changing dramatically, I've tried using the method of hitting with the rock and wood but I just
can't get the tuning to work. There must be a more precise method...

I went downtown and there is only one person in Coimbatore who tunes drums. He's out of town, so not my lucky day.

So here I am looking for help.

With Love,
Uddhava dāsa
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vasanthakokilam
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#2 Re: Tuning the Mrdanga part II

Post by vasanthakokilam » 13 Aug 2011, 20:42

In case you have not seen this already: http://www.mridangams.com/2007/09/mrida ... ssion.html

Your other options are to ask any music schools for references. A quick search showed this: "Isai Mudhra
Avaram Palayam, 96, A, 3rd Street, Kamaraj Nagar,, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641006, India +91 98 43 338683 " but google for 'music school coimbatore'
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Nick H
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#3 Re: Tuning the Mrdanga part II

Post by Nick H » 15 Aug 2011, 10:36

Each mridangam is made to play at a specific pitch, or may be plus/minus one. To get it to play substantially higher or lower is not just a matter of loosening/tightening the straps.

You can, relatively easily, increase the pitch (or maintain it if the straps have slackened) by inserting sticks under the straps. Loosening the strap is really not to be recommended: you will probably upset the balance of the tension and it will become impossible to tune evenly all around.

It is very tough to get that tension correct and even. Best leave well alone.
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uddhavadasa
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#4 Re: Tuning the Mrdanga part II

Post by uddhavadasa » 18 Aug 2011, 11:04

Hello Nick and Vasanthakokilam

Thank you for your help!

So as you said Nick, the drum was tuned to E. There was no way to bring it down to C by just loosening the tension. After realizing that, I was able to find the only drum artisan in Coimbatore. In the RS Puram Colony, his shop "Appu Mrdangam". He said the black stone/rice mix has to be remade to tune to C. So I left the drum with him and it will be ready in three days.

Also, I saw the actual rock to use for tuning and the nice dowel for adjusting the tension. I'm going to get one next time I visit him.

So after all the struggle I'll be able to get the C key on the 24" drum body.

With Love,
Uddhava dāsa
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mridhangam
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#5 Re: Tuning the Mrdanga part II

Post by mridhangam » 09 Sep 2011, 11:48

A mridangam for the size of 24" on a sruthi of E is absolutely normal in the first Moottu and first Sadam due to a process called good Poy Vaar Pidi. this is absolutely normal for a mridangam to be tuned to 2 1/2 or 3 (d# or E) if it is a fresh moottu. It is difficult to bring the mridangam to C sruthi on the first black patch stage itself. It requires constant practice for sometime until the black patch wears off, what we call "Thattu Murithal". After the first black patch is gone you have to take it to the artisan and cut the centre circle a bit more and ask him to put sadam with more gum (Pasai azuthamaaga vaithu saadam podudal). Even then it might come to 1 1/2 or a shade higher. AFter the 3rd saadam only the mridangam can be used for C sruthi and it has been my experience and as of many other senior mridanga vidwans.

Hari OM
Mannarkoil J Balaji
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sathreya
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#6 Re: Tuning the Mrdanga part II

Post by sathreya » 11 Feb 2019, 03:28

So when the mridangam is tuned correctly, does the frequency of the dhin an integer multiple of Sa enanating from the sruthi box. In other words its not about absolute frequency matching, as much as it is about matching overtones or multiples, right ?
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Nick H
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#7 Re: Tuning the Mrdanga part II

Post by Nick H » 11 Feb 2019, 13:55

Wrong.

Get a tuning app for your phone. Chappu should be the same frequency as Sa.

(If I remember my limited experience right. I have not even attempted to tune a morsing, which was more my instrument, let alone a Mridangam, for quite a few years now)
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sathreya
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#8 Re: Tuning the Mrdanga part II

Post by sathreya » 14 Feb 2019, 07:28

Not quite sure what the abrupt wrong meant. Assuming it was a correction for the dhin (as in Chapu corresponds to Sa, not dhin) , the original question about the overtone remains. I will install a tuner app and see what it does. Hoping it displays both the absolute frequency of the chapu and the difference in Hz between the sruthi box and the chapu
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Nick H
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#9 Re: Tuning the Mrdanga part II

Post by Nick H » 14 Feb 2019, 14:22

Your question was "right?"
My answer was "wrong."

Nothing further meant or implied! Please don't take offence: none was intended.

In so far as I understood your question, and I might have got that wrong.

According to my understanding, Dhin is same frequency as chappu. Ie, the note played on the edge of the black circle with Index finger is the same as that played across the black with the little finger... Which is Sa.

Come to think of it, I don't know what the "open" note is?
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