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Folk musical instruments of Rajasthan

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Folk Musical Instruments of Rajasthan

The vast array of Rajasthani folk instruments are made ingeniously from a variety of materials available in Rajasthan that give them peculiar sound. Both percussion instruments and stringed instruments have been used in Rajasthani folk songs. Shells of dried gourds of all shapes and sizes are used for gorse stems or bamboos segments for flutes and baked clay pots for drums. The folk music instruments are classified into following major types:

1. String Music Instruments: Sarangi, Ravanhathha, Kamayacha, Ektara, Morchang.

2. Wind Instruments: Pungi, Satara, Algoza, Murla, Nad and Shehnai

3. Auto phonic Instruments: Ghanti, Ghungroo, Manjeera, Khartal & Jhalar

4. Percussion Instruments: Dhol, Chang, Moisang and Nagara

Tatya Vadya – String Music Instruments of Rajasthan

  • Instruments having strings fall under this category.
  • Sound is produced by the vibration of a string or chord.
  • Vibrations are caused by plucking or by bowing on the string which has been pulled taut.
  • Length of string/wire, degree to which it has been tightened, determines the pitch of the note and also to some extent the duration of the sound.

Sarangi

  • Most well-known string instrument of Rajasthan.
  • Multi-stringed instrument that is played by using a bow drawn across the strings and running of fingers on the strings.
  • Langas of Jaisalmer, Barmer and Jogis of Marwar use Sarangi.

Jantar

  • Jantar resembles Veena in form and has two tumbas.
  • Its Dand is made up of Bamboo with 5-6 wires.
  • This instrument is used by Bhopas of Gurhars when singing story of Bagadawats.

Ravanhathha

  • Ravanhatta is also a kind of sarangi.
  • The Instrument is made from a belly of half coconut shell and has a body of bamboo.
  • It has two main strings(horse hairs) and a variable number of supporting strings
  • The Ravanhathha of the Thori or Nayak Bhopas is probably the earliest instrument played with a bow, and this humble instrument could well be the precursor of the violin.
  • The bow has ghungroos (bells) attached to it.
  • Ravanhathha is main instrument used while reciting Phad of Pabuji.

Kamayacha: Kamachya has three main strings of gut, besides nine supplementary and four sympathetic steel strings all passing through a broad bridge.

The long wooden curved bow of horse-tail hair moving on all the strings is characteristic of this instrument. It is used exclusively by the Manganiyars in the Jaisalmer-Barmer region.

Iktara: Iktara is generally played by Nath, Kalbelia saints and it is a single string instrument, mounted on the belly of a gourd attached to a body made of bamboo.

Versions: The Galaleng Jogis of Dungarpur and Banswara have twin guarded Kendru appears akin to the ancient Kinnari Veena, and it has often been called the Keengri in Rajasthan literature. The Chautara, also called the Tandoora or Nissan, is also a popular five stringed drones and beat instrument used as an accompaniment to devotional music and for the Terahtali dance.

Rawaj: This instrument is similar to Sarangi and it is played by using nails and had 12 strings.It is usually played by Raos and Bhats of Mewar

Bhapang: Bhapang is a single stringed instrument & is also known as ‘talking drum’.

  • Bhapang is mainly played by Jogis of Alwar region.
  • The instrument is made up of tumbas made out of long gourd. The lower part of tumbas is covered by animal skin while upper part is empty.

SUSHIRA VADYA – Wind Music Instruments of Rajasthan

  • Instruments where the air is blown by mouth for music. Sound is produced by blowing air into a hollow column. Pitch of the note is determined by controlling the air passage and the melody is played by using the fingers to open and close the in the instrument.
  • The simplest of these instruments is the flute. Generally flutes are made of bamboo or wood and the Indian musician prefers these due to the tonal and musical attributes of these materials.
  • Excavations of the Indus civilizations have shown bird whistles of clay, and seals which show wind and percussion instruments.

There is reference in the Vedas to an instrument-the Venu which was used as an accompaniment to chanting and recitation. There is also mention of a kind of a flute called the Nadi.

Pungi: Pungi or Poongi is made of gourd or Tumba and Pungi is generally played by Snake charmers (Kalbelia & Jogis.)

Algoza: Algoza is a flute made of Bamboo tube and Algoza are favourite instrument of Bheels & Kalbelia

Satara: Satara is an integrated form of Algoza, Flute and Shehnai and It has two long tubes and has six holes like shehnai.

Shehnai: Shehnai is made out of wood, with a double reed at one end and a metal or wooden flared bell at the other end.It usually has between six and nine holes.By controlling the breath, various tunes can be played on it.

GHANA VADYA – Auto phonic Music Instruments of Rajasthan

Earliest instruments invented by man are said to be the Ghana Vadya. Once constructed, this variety of instrument does not need special tuning prior to playing.

These are principally rhythmic in function and are best suited as accompaniment to folk and tribal music and dance. Instruments made of metal.

Manjeera: It is round in shape and made of brass & bronze mixed together.The shape of hemispherical metal cups struck against each other. They have different kinds likejhanit and the taala.Manjeera is the main instrument in Terahtali dance.

Khartal: Khartal is made of small cymbals incrustated into wood blocks.

Jhalar: Jhalar is another variety of musical instrument, which is formed by a single metal plate, the Thali.This is struck in various ways producing different kind’s tones and rhythms.

Ghungroo: Ghungroo is one of many small metallic bells strung together to form ghungroos.

AVANADDHA VADYA – Percussion Music Instrument of Rajasthan

A percussion instrument produces a sound by being hit with an object. Sound is produced by striking the animal skin which has been stretched across an earthern or metal pot or a wooden barrel or frame.

The earliest references to such instruments have been found in the Vedas where there is mention of Bhumi Dundhubhi; this was a hollow pit dug in the ground and covered with the hide of a buffalo or ox which was stretched across the pit.

Nagara: The Nagara is a folk drum played with the Surnai and Nafeeri (the two sticks).During ancient times, they were usually played during important ceremonies.The Tasha and Shehnai usually accompany this instrument.

Matkas: The Matkas of Pabuji and the Ghada is a pair of huge earthenware pots, their mouths covered with membrane.One player plays each Matka, and the Bhopas use it to accompany their singing. The whole effect is heightened by the graceful dance of the player.

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