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10 Popular, Traditional Indian Musical Instruments, for Folk and Classical Music!
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.~~~ Victor Hugo
Traditional Indian Musical Instrument!
© Chitrangada Sharan, August 2015
All Rights Reserved.
- Music has no language. Its a form of expression, which can be felt by Heart and enjoyed even by those who do not understand the lyrics.
- Besides God, it is the art of music which is the greatest treasure of mankind.
- Soulful music can help you to build spiritual powers and you can connect to the supreme Almighty.
- Music has immense and incredible power to unite people irrespective of their language or geographical boundaries.
Here I want to highlight some of my favourite Indian musical instruments.
India is a land of music and dance. In various parts of the country, different musical instruments are used. Broadly they can be listed as Sitar, Sarod, Tanpura, Shahnai and Tabla which is used in Hindustani classical music instruments. Whereas Veeina, MrIdangam, Kanjira, and Violin are used in Carnatac classical music.
1. The Sitar:
Sitar is one of the most popular North Indian classical instrument. Sitar has neck crafted from teak wood and a resonator carved from a large seasoned gourd. It has normally seven main strings. The gourd acts as a resonator for the strings.
The Sitar has a long neck with twenty metal frets and seven main cords at the lower end of the neck of the Sitar. The frets are moved up and down to adjust the notes.
2. The Veena:
Veena is the most popular musical instrument of South India and is synonymous with Carnatac music. Its melodious tunes have the power to invoke spirituality and one feels close to God by listening to it.
It is a plucked string instrument and has many variations in sound, shapes and sizes.It is considered to be an ancient musical instrument and has a glorious history of being played at temples.
3. The Harmonium:
A traditional musical instrument of Northern India played along by vocal artists when they sing. It is very commonly used by the Ghazal and the classical singers.
The harmonium has a keyboard of over two and one-half octaves.
It works on a system of bellows. The keyboard is played with the right hand while the left hand is used to operate the bellows.
4. The Tabla:
One of the most popular musical instrument which is used in Sangat, that is along with Sitar, Veena and other instruments for beats is the Tabla.
It consists of a pair of drums- the Tabla and the Bayan and is made of wood. Its top is made of stretched animal skin. The drums have round black spot on the top centre which produces the sound or the beats. It is made of iron dust/ manganese.The bayan has a metal outer cover. Tuning of Tabla is done by striking the rim of the Tabla with a small hammer.
5. The Sarod:
Sarod is another wonderful musical instrument which has a small wooden body covered with skin. It has a fingerboard that is covered with steel. It does not have a fret, instead it has 25 strings among which 15 are sympathetic strings. A metal gourd acts as a resonator. The strings are plucked with a triangular plectrum.
6. The Shehnai:
If you had the opportunity to attend an Indian wedding, you must have heard the Shehnai. The auspicious and melodious sound of Shehnai is synonymous with North Indian weddings and in temples.
Shehnai is a double reed instrument with a tapering bore which progressively increases towards the lower side. The Shehnai has finger-holes to produce semi, quarter and micro-tones. It is played by blowing wind into the holes with lips in a coordinated way.
The Dholak or the Pakhawaj
7. The Dholak or the Pakhawaj:
The Dholak or the Pakhawaj is a very popular musical instrument and can be found in many homes. It is easy to play and sing along especially the folk or traditional songs.
It is believed that the Tabla was derived from the Dholak or Pakhawaj.
It usually accompanies Dhrupad style of singing. It is a barrel-shaped drum with two heads on opposite sides that are made of layers of skin. The heads are expanded by leather straps that run along the sides of the body over small cylindrical wooden blocks that are used for tuning.
8. The Mridangam:
The Mridangam is one of the most popular classical musical instruments of South India.
It accompanies vocal artists, instrumental artists and dance artists.
Mridangam is a barrel-shaped double-headed drum, made of single block of wood.
The right head is smaller than the left and they are made of layers of skin. It is played palms and fingers.
9. The Santoor:
The Santoor produces the music of the hills or so it sounds. It is a trapezoid-shaped musical instrument, made of walnut, with many strings. It is believed to be related to the shata-tantri veena of earlier times.
A lightweight wooden hammer is used to play the santoor known as Mezrab. To play the Santoor, these mallets (mezrab) are held between the index and middle fingers.
10. The Sarangi:
One of the most popular and oldest bowed musical instruments of India, Sarangi has 40 strings among which 37 are sympathetic.
The Sarangi has a hollow body and it is made of teak wood adorned with ivory inlays. It is held in a vertical position while played with a bow. The artist has to press the fingernails of the left hand against the strings to produce the melodious music.
Which is your favourite Indian Musical Instrument?
- All of us get attracted to music as music is an expression of heart.
- Musical instruments are used to produce melodious music and are moderated by the artist so as to get desired audio effects.
- The instrumental music artists play an extremely important role in the field of music.
- The music created by the instruments when played is unconditionally harmonious and musical.
- It relaxes the mind and the senses and you feel very positive which is good for your physical and mental health.
- In this age of electronic musical instruments, we must take great care to preserve our traditional and classical musical heritage .
© Chitrangada Sharan 25th August, 2015
All Rights Reserved.
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I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music.