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The kanjira, a South Indian frame drum, is an instrument of the tambourine family. It is used primarily in concerts of South Indian classical music as a supporting instrument for the mridangam.
The kanjira consists of a circular frame made of the wood of the jackfruit tree, between 7 and 9 inches in diameter and 2 to 4 inches in depth. It is covered on one side with a drumhead made of monitor lizard skin, while the other side is left open. The frame has a single slit which contain three to four small metal discs that jingle when the kanjira is played.
The kanjira is normally played with the palm and fingers of the right hand, while the left hand supports the drum. The fingertips of the left hand can be used to bend the pitch by applying pressure near the outer rim. It is not tuned to any particular pitch, unlike the mridangam or the ghatam.
Normally, without tuning, it has a very high pitched sound. To get a good bass sound, the performer reduces the tension of the drumhead by moistening the skin with water.