INDIAN INSTRUMENTS

by David Courtney working tools



Indian musical instruments

There are many musical instruments in India.  Some instruments are used primarily in north Indian music (Hindustani sangeet), some are used in the south Indian music (Carnatic sangeet), while others are found in folk musicInstrumental music is usually similar to vocal music but sometimes there are distinctive instrumental styles.

There is a traditional system for the classification of instruments.  This system is based upon; non-membranous percussion (ghan), membranous percussion (avanaddh), wind blown (sushir), plucked string (tat), bowed string (vitat).  In addition to these traditional five classes we have been forced to create a sixth class to accommodate purely electronic instruments.


Non-Membranous Percussive (Ghan)

This is one of the oldest classes of instruments in India.  This class is based upon percussive instruments which do not have membranes, specifically those which have solid resonators.  These may be either melodic instruments or instruments to keep tal.

thumbnail image of Indian Andelu
Andelu
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Chimpta
Chimpta
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Ghatam
Ghatam
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Ghungharu
Ghungharu
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Dancing Stick
Gol Kathi
(Dancing
Stick)
thumbnail image of Indian Jal Tarang
Jal Tarang
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Kartal
Kartal
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Kasht Tarang
Kasht
Tarang
 
thumbnail image of Indian Manjira
Manjira
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Murchang
Murchang
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Nout
Nout
 
 

 

Blown Air (Sushir)

This class of instrument is characterised by the use of air to excite the various resonators.

thumbnail image of algoza
Algoza
 
 
thumbnail image of bansuri
Bansuri
 
 
thumbnail image of bombashi
Bombashi
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian harmonium
Harmonium
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Mukhavina
Mukhavina
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Nadaswaram
Nadaswaram
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Ottu
Ottu
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Pungi
Pungi
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Shankh
Shankh
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Shehnai
Shehnai
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Surpeti
Surpeti
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Tarpa
Tarpa
 
 

 

Plucked Stringed Instruments (Tat)

This class of instruments is characterised by plucked strings.  In ancient times virtually all instruments of this class were referred to as vina.

thumbnail image of Indian Bulbul Tarang
Bulbul
Tarang
 
thumbnail image of Indian Dotar
Dotar #1
 
 
thumbnail image of Bengali Dotora
Dotar #2
(Dotora)
 
thumbnail image of Indian Dramyen
Dramyen
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Ektar
Ektar
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Gettuvadyam
Getchu
Vadyam
(Gettuvadyam)
thumbnail image of Indian Gopichand
Gopichand
(Ektar)
 
thumbnail image of Indian Gotuvadyam
Gotuvadyam
 
 
thumbnail image of Kabuli Rababt
Rabab
(Kabuli
Rabab)
thumbnail image of Indian Khomok
Katho
(Khomok)
 
thumbnail image of Indian Magadi Vina
Magadi
Vina
 
thumbnail image of Indian Nakula Vina
Nakula
Vina
 
thumbnail image of Indian Rudra Vina
Rudra Vina
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Santur
Santur
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Vina
Saraswati
Vina
 
thumbnail image of Indian Sarod
Sarod
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Seni Rabab
Seni
Rabab
 
thumbnail image of Indian Sitar
Sitar
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Surbahar
Surbahar
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Surmandal
Surmandal
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Sursringar
Sursringar
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Swarabat
Swarabat
(Swaragat)
 
thumbnail image of Indian Tanpura
Tanpura
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Tuntuna
Tuntuna
(Chohokhode)
 
thumbnail image of Indian Vichitra Vina
Vichitra
Vina
 

 

Bowed-Stringed Instruments (Vitat)

This is a class of stringed instruments which are bowed.  This class appears to be quite old, yet these instruments did not occupy a place in classical music until the last few centuries.  The entire class of instruments has a certain stigma attached to it.  Even today only the Western violin is free of this stigma.

thumbnail image of Indian Banam
Banam
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Chikara
Chikara
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Dilruba
Dilruba
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Esraj
Esraj
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Kamakshi Vina
Kamakshi
Vina
 
thumbnail image of Indian Kamancha
Kamancha
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Kenda
Kenda
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Mayuri Vina
Mayuri
Vina
 
thumbnail image of Indian Pena
Pena
(Bana)
 
thumbnail image of Indian Ravanhasta
Ravanhasta
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Sarangi
Sarangi
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Saringda
Saringda
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Tar Shehnai
Tar
Shehnai
 
thumbnail image of Violin
Violin
 
 

 

Membranous Percussive (Avanaddh)

This is a class of instruments which have struck membranes.  These typically comprise the drums.

thumbnail image of Indian Charchari
Charchari
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Chenda
Chenda
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Daf
Daf (Duf,
Daphu,
Daffali)
thumbnail image of Indian Damaru
Damaru
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Dhad
Dhad
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Dhak
Dhak
(Daklu)
 
thumbnail image of Indian Dhol
Dhol
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Dholak
Dholak
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Dholki
Dholki
(Nal)
 
thumbnail image of Indian Diggi
Diggi
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Idakka
Idakka
and
Udaku
(Udakai)
thumbnail image of Indian Goga Dhol
Goga
Dhol
 
thumbnail image of Indian Gummeta
Gummeta
(Dakki,
Budike)
thumbnail image of Indian Jaspuria
Jaspuria
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Jhorka
Jhorka
&
Korka
thumbnail image of Indian Kanjira
Kanjira
 
 
thumbnail image of Bengali Khol
Khol
(Mridang)
 
thumbnail image of Indian Madar
Madar
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Maddal
Maddal
 
 
thumbnail image of mizhavu drum
Mizhavu
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Mridangam
Mridangam
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Nagada
Nagada
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Lohati
Nissan,
Mawaloti,
or
Lohati
thumbnail image of Indian Pakhawaj
Pakhawaj
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Pancha Mukha Vadhyam
Pancha
Mukha
Vadyam
thumbnail image of Indian Phara
Phara
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Pung
Pung
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Sambal
Sambal
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Shuddha Madalam
Shuddha
Madalam
 
thumbnail image of Indian Tabla
Tabla
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian tabla Tarang
Tabla
Tarang
 
thumbnail image of Indian Tamak
Tamak
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Tasha
Tasha
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Tavil
Tavil
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Thanthi Panai
Thanthi
Panai
 
thumbnail image of Indian Timki
Timki
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Tumbak
Tumbak
 
 
thumbnail image of Indian Urumili
Urumili
 
 

 

Electronic

This is a class of instruments which are electronic in their operation.

thumbnail image of Indian Surpeti
Surpeti /
Electronic
Tanpura
thumbnail image of Lahera Peti
Lahera
Peti
 
thumbnail image of Indian Tabla Peti
Tabla
Peti
 
thumbnail image of Indian Mridangam Peti
Mridangam
Peti
 

We have given a brief overview of the Indian instruments.  We mentioned that the instruments fall into six categories: ghan (non-membranous percussion), sushir (wind blown), tat (plucked stringed), vitat (bowed stringed) and avanaddh (membranous percussion).  Tradition says that there are only five classes, but we have been forced to create a sixth class to accommodate purely electronic instruments.

 


 

 

© 1998 - 2017 David and Chandrakantha Courtney

For comments, corrections, and suggestions, kindly contact David Courtney at [email protected]