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Dhimay ( Nepali िधमय), also dhime (धिमे), is a double-skinned tubular drum that is widespread in the Kathmandu Valley and is traditionally made of wood and now mostly made of brass or tinplate and is played by the Newar ethnic group .


The dhimay is about the size of an oil barrel (is sometimes made from one) and is covered on both sides with water buffalo skin. Traditionally made wooden dhimay are somewhat smaller and have goat skin membranes. A voice paste is attached to the inside of the left head, which lowers the basic frequency . The voice paste consists of mustard oil mixed with crushed castor and apple seeds. As a result, both heads produce different high notes, although they are the same size. The deep skin is beaten by hand, the high-sounding one with a spiral-shaped stick.

Style of play

A dhimay ensemble ( dhimaybaja ) consists of several dhimay and large brass basins , which are called buchyah and in Bhaktapur sichyah . The dhimay is a processional instrument that is played almost exclusively while walking or dancing, which can be very exhausting in the long run due to its weight. It is deeply embedded in the Newar religious beliefs. The two skins are seen as the seat of two opposing aspects of the musical deity: Nasah sits on the right, who is supposed to be responsible for inspiration, and Haima on the left, who tries to distract the musician and throw him off his concept. For this reason, the dhimay is always placed or hung with the Haima side (left) facing down or facing the wall.

Until 1995 dhimay drummers were exclusively Newar men. Since then, drumming on the dhimay has also expanded to include other castes and women. Smaller two-headed drums of the Newar are madal and pashchima . The general name for drums, which also occurs in compound words, is khim.


  • Frank Bernède: Music and Identity Among Maharjan Farmers: The Dhimay Senegu of Kathmandu. In: European Bulletin of Himalayan Research, No. 12-13, 1997, pp. 21-56
  • Mireille Helffer, Gert-Matthias Wegner: Dhimay. In: Laurence Libin (Ed.): The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. Vol. 2, Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 2014, p. 39
  • Gert-Matthias Wegner: The Dhimaybaja of Bhaktapur. Studies in Newar drumming. (Nepal Research Center Publications, No. 12) Commission publisher Franz Steiner, Wiesbaden 1986
  • Ulrike Kölver, Gert-Matthias Wegner: Newarian drum “language.” In: Rüdiger Schumacher (ed.): From the diversity of musical culture. Festschrift for Josef Kuckertz . Ursula Müller-Speiser, Anif / Salzburg 1992, pp. 261-268

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