New Mridangam

Rohan patented a new drumhead tuning system that is more user-friendly and durable. Supported by the Eastman School of Music's New Venture Challenge entrepreneurship prize, the design combines traditional strapping with a modern nut-and-bolt system of fastening. The design can be applied to any drum that needs to be fine-tuned, such as mridangam, tabla, dholak, djembe, bongo, and conga. Awarded a research grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Rohan conducted and presented research on his new design at international conferences, including the Society for Ethnomusicology and the Acoustical Society of America, where he twice received the "Best Student Paper Award."

When applied to the mridangam, the design has many advantages over the traditional design:

  • Easy tuning with a wrench
  • Pitch range of up to five whole steps (C to A) compared to +/- 1 whole step with the traditional instrument
  • Easy head replacement in a matter of minutes by the practitioner 
  • Independent tuning of the drumheads
  • Weaved rope retains traditional elegance of the through-and-through leather strapping
  • No sharp hooks that impede performance, as in the nut-and-bolt mridangam design
  • Traditional mridangams can be retrofitted with the new design