Indian Musical Instruments

April 7, 2018 | Author: Ian De La Cruz | Category: Musical Instruments, Percussion Instruments, Hornbostel Sachs, Music Technology, Music Production
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Indian Musical Instruments...


Chimta Chimta literally means a fire tong shaped tool used in traditional Indian kitchens to fetch Rotis from clay ovens and roasting pans. The musical version has brass jingles attached to the tong. It is mostly used in Punjabi folk songs and dances. Punjabi Shabad (an equivalent of hindi Bhajans) is traditionally accompanied with Chimta. Ghatam Next only to Mridangam, Ghatam is also an indispensable percussion instrument in South Indian Classical music. Literally, Ghatam means a fired clay pot, which is traditionally used by Indian households to keep water cool in summers. The musical version has a thicker shell created with special clay mix for superior sound. It is played by closing the mouth of Ghatam with stomach, which is opened as and when required to achieve desired bass, while the round base is struck with palm and fingers. Ghunghroo Ghunghroo has its roots in traditional Indian ornament Payal, which was and is still worn on ankles by ladies, mostly to indicate their presence, or declare their arrival. This was eventually picked up by Kathak dancers to accentuate their dance steps. The traditional form of Ghunghroo has bells woven on a series of strings, but the contemporary models have bells attached to cushioned pads (indicated in illustration). These provide more comform to the dancers. Jal-Tarang Jal Tarang is a unique instrument in that it is both a percussion as well as non-percussion instrument. Basically, it is a series of china clay bowls of descending size layed in a circle, or row or any other convenient configuration. These bowls are tuned to the notes of Raag being played by adjusting the amount of water held. When struck with chop-stick like strikers, these bowls produce very sweet sound and can be used to play solo with accompaniment of Tabla, or as an accompanying persussion instrument, mostly for dances.


Kartal is a pair of wooden blocks with brass jingles. One block has a circular hole where the thumbs fits, and the other has a larger opening for the remaining four fingers. These two are struck to produce a characteristic wooden sound with metal overtones. Although it is seen being used in some folk music forms, Kartal is traditionally used to accompany devotional music like Bhajan and Kirtan. In North-east India, a form of Manjeera is known as Kartal, and is entirely different from the one explained above.

Manjeera Manjeera is a pair of cymbals tied together with a string. Traditionally made from brass, Manjeera has been used to accompany Bhajans and Kirtans ever since the metal percussion instruments were created. A larger form of Manjeera is known as Jhanjhar.

Andelu •

Andelu are hollow, ring-shaped brass instruments that are important in the music and storytelling of the "Burra Katha" tradition. The hollow brass ring is filled with metal balls that rattle together and produce a metallic jingling sound. Andelu are typically between 1.5 and 2 inches in diameter. Andelu are typically played in pairs -- a performer can put both andelu rings over the thumb of one hand and then strike both andelu with his other hand. Alternatively, he can place one andelu on the thumb and another andelu on a different finger of the same hand before striking the two pieces of metal together.

Gol Kathi (Dancing Stick) •

The gol kathi is found in western India. It is a simple long stick with metal jingles attached to the tip. Dancers use the gol kathi to accompany their own dances.

Jal Tarang •

Jal tarang is a set of several water-filled china bowls The performer strikes the jal tarang

Kasht Tarang •

Kasht tarang is a keyboard percussion instrument with wooden notes. It is similar to a small Western xylophone or marimba, although the kasht tarang does not have resonators beneath its notes. It is a relatively rare instrument in India.


Manjira is a set of small cymbals, commonly used in dance music and the Indian devotional songs known as bhajans. The manjira is a very old instrument, as demonstrated by its presence in ancient temple wall paintings.

Nout •

The nout is the northern Indian equivalent to the ghatam. Like the ghatam, the nout is a large clay pot. It is used as a percussion instrument in the Kashmir area of India.

Murchang •

The murchang is a kind of Jew's harp which is traditionally used in south Indian performances. In a musical context, the murchang is often played together with the ghatam and mridangam.

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