Unique to India, these instruments are fading into the oblivious
As unique and rich as the culture and tradition of India, the unique is its art forms and instruments. Amidst the vast range of Indian classical instruments that we most often see, hear being played and talk about are like the Tabla, Harmonium, Sitar, Flute and so on. But this same reservoir of traditional musical instruments is filled with gems that have long been part of the Indian art and culture but have been forgotten over time. With their origin in ancient India when music was worshipped from a mythological perspective as most were played in reverence of the gods. Here we take a look at few such Indian classical musical instruments of the yore.
It is a bowl string instrument with a bowl made of a cut coconut shell and is covered with the goat hide. To the shell is attached a stick, commonly called dandi, made from Bamboo and has two principal strings – one made of steel and the other made of horsehair. The instrument also has jingle bells attached. Still played in Rajasthan, as per mythology it was brought to North India by Lord Hanuman after the victory of Rama.
Carved in the head of the mythological creature, Yali, it is a harp that was used in ancient Tamil music. The word yali refers to any structure, particularly front, that resembles the way the tip of the stem of this instrument was carved into. It is an open-stringed polyphonous instrument, with gut strings (narambu) attached to a wooden boat-shaped skin-covered resonator and an ebony stem.
Carved out of wood, attached with actual peacock bill and feathers, this bowed instrument resembles a peacock, hence the name. It is built with 16 frets, four melody strings, and 15 sympathetic strings. The roots of this instrument strongly originate from Punjab as it said to have been invented by the sixth Guru of Sikhs, HarGobin. It produces rich mellow music.
Similar to Jew’s harp, Morchang or morsing is the Indian Jaw harp. It is a small wind percussion instrument that is played using the mouth and left hand. The instrument consists of a metal ring in the shape of a horseshoe with two parallel forks which form the frame; a metal tongue is in the middle, between the forks, that is fixed to the ring at one end and is free to vibrate at the other. It was widely popular in Rajasthan, in Carnatic music, and in Sindh, Pakistan, in the20th century, but is now hard to find.
Few other instruments are Pepa, Algoza, Nagfani and Sursingar.