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Strange musical instruments of India

Updated on November 21, 2011
The second one is 'Vrischika Veena' i.e. veena in the shape of a scorpion. Note the strings are tied longitudinally.
The second one is 'Vrischika Veena' i.e. veena in the shape of a scorpion. Note the strings are tied longitudinally. | Source
Mathsya veenas.(Mathsya=fish)
Mathsya veenas.(Mathsya=fish) | Source
Makara veena placed right side in the show case, at Raja Dinakar Kelkar museum,Pune
Makara veena placed right side in the show case, at Raja Dinakar Kelkar museum,Pune | Source
Special type of Sarangi,fixed with a horn.(usually used by north Indian singers.(using of horn is rare)
Special type of Sarangi,fixed with a horn.(usually used by north Indian singers.(using of horn is rare) | Source
Tanbura-(Tamboora)-The singe armed tanbura sen at the extreme left is common. The second one is Dwidandi Tanbura(with two arms) and the right one is Tridandi tanbura(with three arms)
Tanbura-(Tamboora)-The singe armed tanbura sen at the extreme left is common. The second one is Dwidandi Tanbura(with two arms) and the right one is Tridandi tanbura(with three arms) | Source
Mayura veenas,See other instruments at the backside cases.
Mayura veenas,See other instruments at the backside cases. | Source
Mayura veena(bottom, right)
Mayura veena(bottom, right) | Source
Mridangams.Observe two glass mridangams in the show case.
Mridangams.Observe two glass mridangams in the show case. | Source

Music-the divine nector

Music is loved by all. Different human communities in the world have developed their own music styles.To add to the effect of music, people have invented different musical instruments.From tribal people to educated one-they have devoted their time and efforts to design various musical instruments to suit their vocal music.

Strange Indian instruments

The world knows about some common Musical instruments invented and used by Indians. But there are many other such instruments that are peculiar in design used by less number of musicians, as they are very sensitive, and playing them needs special skill and dedication.

Some such instruments are introduced here.

Makara Veena

This is one type of veena that could be played only by those who arespecially trained in it. 'Makara' means crocodile.Front of the instrument has the shape of the crocodile face.(third photo from top, on the right side)This is a stringed instrument.

Vrischika veena

This is also a stringed instrument, another type of veena,with a scorpion face.(first and second photoes alongside).See the strings are are tied longitudinally, instead of horizontally which is the characteristic of Normal veena.

Sarangi

This is a dwarf instrument with melodious sound production. This is usually used for Hindustani music style.Sometimes( as seen in the photograph) a small horn is fixed to its bottom to amplify the sound.This came into use during Mughal period

Tanbura

A stringed instrument used to maintain 'shruthi' in a music consort.It has 4 strings. But here you are seeing rare tanburas which have two and three longitudinal arms. they are called 'Dwi dandi tanbura' and ' Tridandi tanbura' respectively.Those who play these are very rare now a days.

Mayura veena

Face of this veena resembles that of a peacock. Hence this name. This is played keeping horizontally just like a normal veena.

Glass mridangam

Mridangam is a percussion instrument used by musicians both in south and north India.That is made up of a sort of wood at the end of which usually goat skin is tanned at fixed.Center part of the body is wider and the ends are little narrower.

But, there is a mridangam at' Raja Dinakar Kelkar museum'Pune(Maharashtra state,India)whose body is made of glass.The quality of sound naturally differs when the material is changed. It is not known (as it is not much used) what kind of sound it produces and how it is used.

There are many other such instruments which appear strange to western sight. Sitar, Santoor(Shatatantri veena ) etc, are among such instruments.

Music is a fine art. But, producing musical instruments is a science. Presence of hundreds of such worthy musical instruments show how intelligent were Indians in designing these instruments. One can appreciate them only on seeing them in action.

Photographs here are taken at 'Raja Dinakar Kelkar museum ' Pine, with permission during my visit there in April, 2011.



There are many such musical instruments for display at various museums in India.But one at Kelkar museum is extraordinaryIt is wirth seing.It is quite educative..

At the bottom is another wonderful and rare instrument.It is "Panch Tabla' or 'Five Tablas' attached to a single base.Experts who could play this instrument are also rarely found in the country now.

Five headed Tabla
Five headed Tabla | Source

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    • profile image

      Tharishanah 5 years ago

      Wow strange...

    • prasadjain profile image
      Author

      Dr.S.P.PADMA PRASAD 5 years ago from Tumkur

      Thank you. There are many such strange things

    • karthikkash profile image

      Karthik Kashyap 5 years ago from India

      very interesting hub. I had heard about a few instruments here, but never knew that many of them are rare and strange looking.

    • prasadjain profile image
      Author

      Dr.S.P.PADMA PRASAD 5 years ago from Tumkur

      Thank you Mr.dohoglund,for appreciating and tweeting.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      This is interesting as I knew nothing about musical instruments of India. Thanks for the information. voted up and interesting. Tweeted.

    • prasadjain profile image
      Author

      Dr.S.P.PADMA PRASAD 5 years ago from Tumkur

      No. I have said in the article that all these instruments are present at Kelkar museum, Pune

    • profile image

      perumallu 5 years ago

      i think this photographs are ttd musium tirumala.is it right???

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 5 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Loved hearing about these instruments. Great hub. Bob.

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