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INDIAN INSTRUMENTS

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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.

 

Blown Air (Sushir)

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

 

Plucked Stringed Instruments (Tat)

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

 

Membranous Percussive (Avanaddh)

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

 

Electronic

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

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.

 


 

Selected Video

DAVID COURTNEY ( TABLA ) Part 01 (Introduction to Musical instruments)

 

DAVID COURTNEY ( TABLA ) Part 02(Introduction to Musical instruments)

 

DAVID COURTNEY ( TABLA ) Part 03 (Introduction to Musical instruments)

 

 

 

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For comments, corrections, and suggestions, kindly contact David Courtney at david@chandrakantha.com