This South Indian mridangam tenor goatskin head is lace tuned and its playing surface is 6.5 inches. There is a braid attached all around the edge that is made out of rawhide. Including the braid, the head measures 8 inches in diameter. Compared to the Northern Indian mridangam, the Southern mridangam tenor head has a wider outer tonal layer, known as karani. Sliver-thin reeds are inserted between the two layers of the tenor head to create a distinct, buzzed snare sound.
The mridangam is the principal percussion instrument in South Indian classical Carnatic music. It functions as a solo instrument, as well as an accompaniment for vocals and ensembles. When played, the drum is held horizontally, and played with the fingers and palms of the hands.