Faculty Advisor

Ram-Mohan, L. Ramdas.

Faculty Advisor

Sullivan, John M.


It has been shown that two Indian drums, the Mridanga and the Tabla, have a most desirable musical quality of harmonic overtones. It was first observed by C.V. Raman that not only do the drums have overtones in a harmonic ratio, but also that the higher overtones are degenerate. This degeneracy gives the Indian drums a more pronounced musical tone. The cause of this remarkable quality is the symmetrical weighting of the drumhead. The Finite Element Method (FEM) was used to numerically explore how a changing density profile affects the eigenvalues of the drum. The use of the Newton-Raphson multi-dimensional root finding technique was explored to find an optimal density profile that will yield the desired harmonic ratios of the frequencies of the drum.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2000



Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department


Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering