by David Courtney working tools


The katho (a.k.a. khamak, khomok, gub-gubi, anand lahari or gholtong) is a folk instrument found in various places in India.  It is a most unusual instrument with an even more peculiar sound.  This instrument is basically a small drum.  however it is penetrated with a small string or cord that is attached to a handle.  This handle is used to pull the string tight.  The string is then plucked while the force exerted on the handle is used to change the pitch.

It is curious how broadly this instrument is dispersed across India.  But there are small differences in construction.  In the North-East part of India (i.e., Bengal), the chord is played while it passes through the drum shell; This is known as the khamak or khomok.  However in Maharashtra it is played with the cord pulled from the outside; this is known as the katho.

Khamak, notice the string passes through the inside of the resonator
Katho, notice the string passes from the outside of the resonator


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