Mridanga, a percussion instrument, is the chief Laya Vaadya accompaniment in Karnatic Music.
Musical instruments can be classified into four kinds.
- Thantri (Stringed) Instruments: These instruments are played
completely based on strings. Ex: Veena, Gotu, Violin, Sitar,
- Wind (Sushira) Instruments: These instruments are played by
blowing the wind into instruments. Ex: Flute, Nadaswaram,
Shahanai, Zaxaphone etc.
- Percussion (Avanaddha) Instruments: These instruments are
manufactured with the skin or leather of animals.
Ex: Mridangam, Kanjira, Dolu (Thavil), Dolak, Tabla,
Pakhavadyam, Dappu, Dhamarukam etc.
- Metal (Ghana) Instruments: These instruments are manufactured
with metal (loha) Ex: Bhajan Taalas, Morsing etc.
Laya Vadyas (Rhythmical Instruments)
These instruments are played purely based on Laya or Thaala. Ex: Mridangam, Ghatam,
Kanjira, Morsing, Dolu, Dolak, Suddha Madhalam, Kole, etc.
In the above Laya Vadyas, Mridangam is the important and ancient instrument. In this
instrument "OMKAARA" sound can be produced. Hence this instrument is called as the Chief
Instrument among the above other instruments. Rest of the instruments can be used
for Mridangam as Upa Vadyas (accompanying instruments).