Musical Instruments of India

Topics: Musical instrument, Flute, South India Pages: 4 (939 words) Published: August 2, 2012
Non-Membranous Percussive (Ghan)


The chimpta is actually a fire tong.  However, it has evolved into a musical instrument by the permanent addition of small brass jingles.  This instrument is especially popular in Punjabi folk music and the Sikh religious music known as shabad.


Traditional ghungaru (left) / padded ghungharu (right)

Ghungharu are the "tinkle bells" or "jingle bells" which are used to adorn the feet of dancers.  When tied to the feet, they are played by the act of dancing.  They may also be played by hand.  This instrument evolved from the payal which are traditional anklets worn by women in India.

GOL KATHI: Dancing Stick

The gol kathi is a stick used by dancers to beat out the time.  It is simply a long stick that has jingles mounted on the top.  It is used by the Kukna, Warli, and Bhil tribes of western India

Blown Air (Sushir)

Bansuri and venu are common Indian flutes.  They are typically made of bamboo or reed.  There are two varieties; transverse and fipple.  The transverse variety is nothing more than a length of bamboo with holes cut into it.  This is the preferred flute for classical music because the embouchure gives added flexibility and control. 


The bommbanshi or Bombashi is a fipple flute found in Bangladesh.  It is used in a variety of folk music, such as the vaoiaya (bhawaia) and the accompaniment of traditional folk theatre.  This special type of flute is a necessary accompaniment for a local folk theatre "Poddopuran". 


The mukhavina is a smaller version of the nadaswaram, usually only about a foot and a half in length.  like the nadaswaram it is played in south India but it is more common in folk music.  Curiously the name "mukhavina" literally translates to "mouth - vina"

Plucked Stringed Instruments (Tat)
Bulbul tarang, also known as the "banjo", is a common instrument in...
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