Pakhavaj is a barrel-shaped two-headed drum hollowed out of a block of wood. The parchment is prepared from two membranes, the inner complete skin and the outer peripheral ring. The two faces are held by braids and connected by leather straps, which are sixteen in number. The right face, which is smaller than the left, is the tuning face and emits the higher pitch. Set horizontally on a cushion in front of the drummer's crossed leg, the larger bass-skin is played with the left hand, the treble skin by the right hand. The bass face is smeared with wet wheat dough which acts as the kiran and is the cause of the vivid bass sound the pakhavaj produces. In traditional pakhavaj styles a student would learn a number of different strokes which produce a specific sound. These are remembered and practiced with corresponding syllables.
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