The dhol (Punjabi: ਢੋਲ, ڈھول; Hindi: ढोल; Pashto: ډهول; Urdu: ڈھول; Armenian: դհոլ), is a drum (a percussion musical instrument) widely used in the Indian subcontinent, especially the Punjab region, and especially among the Sikhs of East Punjab. Apart from Punjab, Dhol has been adapted into the music of other regions throughout South Asia and abroad including the Assam Valley (during Assam’s Bihu festival), Gujarat, Rajasthan, Sindh and Maharashtra. It is very popular in modern Punjabi music.
The dhol is a drum that dates back to the 15th century. It was probably introduced to the Indian subcontinent via the Persian drum type dohol (duhul). The evidence for this is found in Ain-i-Akbari, which describes the use of duhul in the orchestra of the Mogul emperor Akbar. The Indo-Aryan word “dhol” appears in print around 1800 in the treatise Sangitasara. The dhol is most commonly associated with Punjabi music and dance. It was used in war by the Sikhs and later to celebrate successful harvests by Jatt landowners. This drum became the ground roots of modern Bhangra music. From North India, the Dhol spread to other parts of the Indian subcontinent as well.
The drum is played using two wooden sticks, 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 measure. The stick used to play the bass side of the 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 drum, the dagga. The other stick is much thinner and flexible and used to play the higher note end of the drum, the thili. The 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.
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