Dholki, also called nal, is an drum with a barrel shaped shell. The left side resembles the bayan (large metal drum of the tabla) except that it uses dholak masala (oil based application) on the inner surface instead of a syahi (permanent black spot). The right head is unique in its construction. Goat-skin is stitched onto an iron ring. In the centre of this skin is a syahi, similar to tabla except much thinner. The traditional nals were laced with rope and had sticks to function as turnbuckles. Today, metal turnbuckles have replaced the rope lacing in most models. The nal is very popular in the tamasha (street performance) of Maharashtra. It has been absorbed into the Hindi film industry and today the nal is very popular for filmi music. There is often some confusion concerning the term “dholki” because, this term literally means, “a small dholak”; as such, the term is often used for smaller dhalaks that structurally are disimilar to the nal

Musical Styles That Use Dholki

Bhajan – Hindu religious Songs
Filmi Sangeet – Indian film music
Folk Music – Indian folk songs
Geet – Light songs
Kirtan and Dhun – Hindu religious chanting