The kanjira similar looking and in structure to the tambourine but has Fewer jingles or bells. This instrument was created by the late Laya Brahmam SriLaSri Pudukotai Manpundia Pillai who gave it its classical status on the concert platform the one side of this instrument is covered with parchment and this helps to create the different bass and treble sounds. It has two coins and occasionally a cluster of dance bells attached to the side of the instrument. The player has to wet the parchment in order to get the bass sounds. This instrument is widely used in vocal and instrumental music and has the status of a solo instrument par excellence.
A very high degree of speed is attained on the kanjira. Great kanjira players of the past were Guru Manpundia Pillai. Guru Dakshinamurthi Pillai and Guru Palani Subramaniam Pillai. Ramanathapuram M N Kandaswami, V Nagarajan and G Harishanker.