Indian folk musical instrument dholak is a two-headed hand-drum. It may have traditional cotton rope lacing, screw-turnbuckle tensioning or both combined: in the first case steel rings are used for tuning or pegs a twisted inside the laces. The dholak is mainly a folk instrument, lacking the exact tuning and playing techniques of the tabla or the pakhawaj. The drum is pitched, depending on size, with an interval of perhaps a perfect fourth or perfect fifth between the two heads. It is related to the larger Punjabi dhol and the smaller dholki.
It is widely used in qawwali, kirtan, Marathi(laavani) and bhangra. It was formerly used in classical dance. Indian children sing and dance to it during pre-wedding festivities. It is often used in Filmi Sangeet – Indian film music – in chutney music, baithak gana, tan singing and the local Indian music of Jamaica, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, where it was brought by indentured immigrants. In the Fiji Islands the dholak is widely used for bhajan and kirtan. Also it is mostly used in India.
The drum is either played on the player’s lap or, while standing, slung from the shoulder or waist or pressed down with one knee while sitting on the floor. The shell is sometimes made from sheesham wood but dholaks may be made from any wood.