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Pure Indian Classical Music
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The FIRST AND MOST interesting fact about the instruments of this country is that the extremely primitive, to the highly sophisticated ones are found near to each other.

Instruments (vadya) are considered to be of four types-

1. tat vadya (stringed instruments),
2. sushir vadya (wind),
3. avanaddh vadya (drums) and
4. ghan vadya (bells,plates,rods etc.)

Among the tat vadya are the Veena, Sitar, Sarod, Tamboora, santoor, swaramandal etc. (plucked), the Sarangi, the Dilruba (bowed);
The wind instruments are the Flutes, Shehnai, Naferi, Harmonium and the Nagasvaram(Indian obes);
The drums comprise the Tabla, the Pakhwaj,the Mridang and so on;
Bells, rods, etc., are common, though not generally used in concert music.




The most ancient and widespread sushira vadya (wind instrument) is the flute. The oldest mention is in the Veds wherein it is called venu and nadi. The format was perhaps of bamboo and the latter of marsh reed. Holes at fixed distances are kept in a bamboo stick for producing sound of all the swaras in indian scale. Today there are of two types, known as the horizontal and the vertical. The former is typically Indian : a companion to every village herdsman and the divine instrument of Lord Krishna, calling all Maids unto Him. The advantage of flute over other instrument is easy portability and sweet sound. Pandit Hari Prasad Chourasia has given new dimensions to live concerts of flute.




The santoor and the svaramandal are both wooden boxes, the former slightly larger. The santoor has stretched on its three strings for every note and there is a bridge at each set of three wires. The instrument is played with a pair of curved sticks. The Svaramandal, on the other hand, has about forty strings, one for each note, covering about three octaves. This is plucked with fingers.

Tamboor, a concert instrument, is essentially made of a large sound box (pumpkin or wood) to which is attached a neck and a long finger board. There are four strings tuned to Pa1 Sa Sa Sa1 (G1 C C C1) The peculiar structure of the bridge has given this simple instrument a rare tonal quality which has been of excellent musical and aesthetic function.

There are usually four strings (three of steel and the lowest of brass or copper) tuned to the fifth or fourth or leading note, the middle tonic (middle two strings in unison), and the tonic an octave below. The strings pass over a bone bridge (the javari) with a flat surface, the front of which is filed into a smooth curve so that the string leaves it at a fine angle. This helps to create the characteristic buzzing sound, which is greatly enhanced by the silk threads (known as jiva, Hindi, "life") that are pulled between the strings and the bridge to give "life" to the sound by enriching the harmonic spectrum and prolonging it. Tuning beads are fixed to the strings below the bridge to facilitate accurate tuning. The neck of the instrument is usually held against the shoulder with the resonator cradled in the lap. The strings are never stopped, but are plucked by the first and second fingers of one hand throughout the performance in a steady rhythm to maintain an even sound, usually allowing twice as much duration to the lowest and most resonant string. The Tamboora was incorporated into Indian classical music during the last millennium primarily for vocal accompaniment, but during the 20th century it has become almost universally used to accompany instrumental performances as well.
Veena/Sarswati Veena
The Veena of south India- the Sarasvati Veena- is the queen of instruments. Both in tone quality and amenability to complicated technique it has few equals. Yet in many ways it is simpler-atleast in structure than the sitar. Its resonator is wooden bowl, stretching into a neck and danda. Usually, these are separate pieces joined together. But in rare cases, the whole instrument is scooped out of a log of jack wood: the ekanda Veena. Such a lute is highly valued for its quality of sound. The bowl as well as the danda have a wooden cover. The bridge is wide and is covered at the top with a plate of metal. Over this run four metal strings which go on to four pegs at the farther end which is in the shape of the mythical animals, yali.

Bowed instruments have presented a curious problem in Indian organology. For, almost every tribe has its own variety. Yet none of these have ever been developed into a highly sophisticated instrument except the Sarangi, unless of course, we admit that the violin has its origin in the ravanhasta Veena, still found in northwest India.

The Sarangi, though having folk roots, has become the main accompanying instrument in classical Hindustani music. It is short in structure, with a pinched or waisted sound box. This and the fingerboard
are made of one piece of wood. However, the resonator is covered with thin leather and the upper part with smooth wood. There is a slender bridge on the membrane and three to four guts are strung over this, passing into pegs. These are the melody strings. There is of course the inevitable tarab. The technique of playing this instrument is peculiar. the bow is held palm outward, unlike as in violin, and the strings are stopped with nails- the sides- and not pressed down. Interestingly enough this manner of playing is met with in distant Slavi