An overview of the differences between the Traditional and S.R.I Mrudangas

S.No. Conventional Mrudanga S.R.I. Mrudanga Advantage of the S.R.I. Mrudanga
01 The drum heads use skins of goat, cow, and buffalo No animal skins are used as the drum heads are synthetic Ethical, as no animals are harmed
02 Shells are made of wood Shells are made of fiberglass Environmentally friendly, as no trees are required to be cut
03 Weight is typically more than 10 kgs Weight is typically 4.5 to 5 kgs Light weight and highly travel friendly. At the same time it is not too light so as to cause the Mrudanga to move and roll during playing.
04 Pitch may sometimes change suddenly due to variation in temperature and humidity Pitch does not vary appreciably with temperature and humidity No need for frequent retuning during a performance
05 Tonal qualities vary from instrument to instrument Excellent tonal clarity, sustain, and resonance Consistent tonal quality
06 Difficult to tune over a wide tuning range Can be tuned over a range unachievable in the traditional Mrudanga Wide tuning range
07 Karane is made of boiled rice and other materials like iron powder. The adhesion of the Karane to the skin is through the starch which acts like a glue. This necessitates the frequent replacement of the Karane. The Karane is chemically bonded to the drum head membrane so that it does not fall off or wither away with time This eliminates the need for Karane replacement. The head is also impervious to hand sweat.
08 Heads are fixed to the shell permanently. So re-heading the shell has to be done only by a Mrudanga craftsman. Heads are detachable and assembling the drum heads is very simple If the heads get worn out they can be easily replaced by the users themselves
09 In case of the nut bolt Mrudanga, the hooks project out of the shell; they may hurt the fingers while playing The nuts and bolts are placed in a way that they are completely non obstructive. Furthermore, the tuning hardware, except the tuning nut that needs access, is completely covered and protected. Aesthetic appearance with complete protection for hands while playing
10 For the left side, a semolina paste needs to be applied at the centre of the head. This limits the playing area and may stick to the fingers and become messy The loading of the left head is done from within, thereby providing a larger playing area and without the mess of semolina paste sticking to the fingers. As the semolina paste is completely eliminated, it: a. Provides larger playing area b. Provides protection from messing up with the sticky paste c. Saves time
11 Heads cannot be cleaned easily Heads can be cleaned with a moist cloth Heads can be cleaned with a moist cloth, which is unthinkable in the case of the animal skin heads