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Pakhawaj is essentially a north Indian version of the mridangam and is the most common north Indian representative of the class of barrel shaped drums known as mridang. It was once common throughout north India, but in the last few generations tabla has usurped its position of importance.

It has a right head which is identical to tabla except it is somewhat larger. The left head is similar to the tabla bayan except that there is a temporary application of flour and water instead of the black permanent spot.

There are several styles of pakhawaj playing. The most well known and important is for the accompaniment of dhrupad and dhammar singers; this however, is falling out of fashion. Pakhawaj is also very much used for Orissi dancers and occasionally for kathak. It is also found in a classical form from Rajasthan known as Haveli Sangeet.

The playing position is easy. For the right-handed person, the smaller end is placed on the right hand and the larger side is placed on the left side.

Lastly, a trainer can help impart the right technique and knowledge for playing this delicate art of the Pakhawaj.

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