Tongue Teasers for Students in World Music

If you’re taking a world music course, you may have had to learn the names of lots of musical instruments. (And, as likely as not, you may have learned all those lovely Hornbostel-Sachs designations as well. Oy.) One that offers no end of trouble to English-speakers is the mrdangam.

So, here’s something to practice: say “mrdangam” five times fast.

(It has three syllables: the mrd combination actually creates a bit of its own syllable, which is uncommon in English but helps a lot with the pronunciation.)

. . .

Got it? Now you’ve got your five-beat meter and divided into triplets to boot!

By the way, that instrument is a double-headed wooden hand-drum common to the Karnatak music played in the south of India (lots more detail, including photos and sound clips, here).


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