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The Incredible Variety Of Percussion Instruments From India

One who aims at examining the role of percussion instruments would require a broad distinction of the practiced instruments in Indian and Western music. While western culture has its own share of percussion instruments’ influence in the music world, there’s no denying the importance of Indian instruments in today’s world of percussion music. Needless to say, India encompasses a diversifying musical history imbued with richness concerning its styles, forms, and how they are played.

Indian percussive art is one of the most complex and sophisticated ones in the world. Hence, calling them of paramount importance in the musical world is nowhere an exaggeration. From the evident source of India’s rich musical history, it is justifiable to say that its own forms of percussive art have reached to its fans in a number of ways. For the ones who pay special attention to the percussive art of India, both pitched and unpitched ones have equal importance. Some of the instruments are mentioned right below.

tabla music photo
“Photo of The Pantheon of Indian Musical Instruments” by Michael Coghlan under CC BY-SA 2.0

1. Dholak

A double-headed drum, a dholak, happens to be a drum with bass head on one side and treble on another side. It happens to be one of the best-pitched percussion instruments widely utilized in the folk music of this country. Being a popular instrument, it is prominent in the field of recording and the broadcast environments.

2. Tabla

One of the most prominent forms of Indian percussive art, a table is an intriguing two-piece percussion instrument. As far as the sources claim, it has been evidently originated from the two-faced Indian drum in the name of mridangam and pakhawaj. The bass drum is the male drum played with one’s left hand and is better known as bayan or duggi or dhaga. On the other hand, the treble, i.e. the female drum is played with one’s right hand and is better known as table or Dayan.

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3. Mridangam

A rhythm instrument, Mridangam is used maintaining the recital’s thala in Carnatic music. The word Mridangam means the clay’s body. It happens to be one of the most ancient of all the percussion instruments originated in India. Being similar to Pakhawaj, it happens to be a double-sided drum whereby the body is made of the piece of wood. The instrument’s shape is like the barrel with bulges to one side. On the contrary, the right face is a bit smaller. The two faces are joined and then held together tightly. The outer layer of this instrument features leather’s flat ring which is attached to the plait called pinnal. Thus, calling it one of the best pitched percussion instruments wouldn’t be an understatement. So, if you’re wondering about buying this, then you can get the percussion instruments for sale on the online market.

4. Pakhawaj

In the range of the simple percussion instruments, Pakhwaj happens to be one of the best Indian percussive arts which have garnered immense prominence in the universe of folk music. Being an ancient barrel-shaped percussion instrument, it features two playing heads. The right head is pretty similar to tabla. On the contrary, the left head would be similar to the tabla bayan. If you are about to buy this, then you can get percussion instruments for sale on the Internet.

5. Khol

It happens to be a terracotta-based percussion which is a two-sided instrument. Utilized in the accompaniment of spiritual, devotional, folk music, and folk dance, it has been an integral part of rural Bengal. Smaller to Mridangam, it happens to be one of the simple percussion instruments, which resembles Pakhwaj as well as dholak. Its body is made of clay and is joined together with two truncated cones.

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After Everything Else

Indian percussive art is versatile, and hence picking up all of them was just impossible to complete this post. If you think that you have missed out read other percussion instruments, then these might be Madal, Damroo, Dhol, and Ghatam.

Featured “Photo of Festival des Musiques Sacrées du Monde – Fès” by Fulvio Spada under CC BY-SA 2.0

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