The Sounds of India

(click on the links provided to listen to sound samples in Real Media or Windows Media Player format)

Sarangi - Fiddle

Santoor - Xylophone

Dilruba / Esraj

Sarod - Lute

 

Traditional gut-stringed fiddle that is carved in a single piece of tun wood. The Sarangi's neck is fretless and the bridge is seated on a skin stretched over the body of the instrument. It is played by the light touch of a heavy bow. A great instrument for the sounds of tragedy. When played by a master, it is capable of closely imitating the nuances of the human voice. There are 3 main playing strings and 30 to 40 sympathetic strings.

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Delightful stringed percussion instrument. Made of a trapezoid box of wood with thirty bridges, arranged in fifteen rows, two in each row. A set of four strings of metal tuned to the same note is stretched over each pair of bridges, thus the total number of wires is sixty. The dimensions of strings vary according to the octave, being thickest in the lower octave. It is played with a pair of flat wood or metal forks curved at the striking end

Sound

A cross between a sitar and a violin. This rosewood instrument is 43" long and has movable frets. It is held upright in your lap and played with a bow like a small bass fiddle. With frets like a sitar and sympathetic strings, the dilruba has a shimmering, bright sound. (The frets are simply to let you know where the notes are located and are not pressed as in a sitar or guitar - you simply slide up and down to create the characteristic portamento of Indian music

Sound
 

Stringed fretless traditional Indian Lute. Made from seasoned teak, the sarod features a goatskin surface, a brass tumba (resonator) and 25 steel strings. Four of the strings are melody or playing strings; three are rhythm strings, and the rest are sympathetic and jawari strings. Instead of the conventional fretboard, this metal plate helps in sliding the fingers faster and enables the musician to get a wonderfully deep gamak.

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Dhol/Pakhwaj

 Tabla

 Bansuri - Side Flute

 Shehnai  - Oboe

The dhol is a double ended barrel shaped drum held around the neck and played with two sticks, one thin cane stick and a larger bent wooden stick for the bass end. Both heads are made from goat skin laced together over the shell by one piece of rope which is threaded through the edge of both skins. One head is tuned to generate the bass tones while the other head is tuned to generate the treble tones. For this purpose one skin is made slightly thicker than the other.

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Tthe most important Indian percussion - consists of a high pitched treble drum, made of tun wood and or teak. The lower pitched drum, the bass dagga is most often made of brass. The tabla is usually tuned to the tonic of the raga.  The heads of tablas, the puddi, are the most critical part of the tablas. These heads are more complex than any other drum head. The actual playing area of the puddi consists of three separate pieces. These different parts contribute to the tabla's very distinct sounds.

Sound

The North Indian bansuri is a side-blown flute imade of single jointed, thin-walled bamboo and is tuned to an untempered chromatic scale. Bansuris have a range of approximately three octaves. The best Bansuris are made of rare Sunderbans bamboo reeds and are almost invariably hand made by proificient artistes themselves. The 7-hole bansuri featured here is the closest Indian equivalent of the western Silver Flute. 

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The Shehnai is the Indian reed oboe that has traditionally been played at weddings and festivals but has been brought o the fore of classical music over the past few decades through the untiring efforts of Ustad Bismillah Khan. It is a low puff instrument that features a carved rose wood neck and a nickeled or brass sole that is engraved through creating a two-tone floral pattern. While the reeds are called double reeds, they are actually four layers thick instead of two.

 
Sound

Sitar (Single Tumba)

Vichitra Veena

Tanpura/Tambura

Sitar (Double Tumba)

The Sitar, a stringed fretboard instrument is undoubtedly the most popular of all Indian instruments. It has a body made of tun wood and a huge round tumba or resonator made of a seasoned pumpkin gourd. There are usually seven main playing strings above the arched frets, and eleven to thirteen sympathetic strings below the frets. These sympathetic strings give a magical shimmer to the melody when they resonate in tune with the main playing strings. There are two bridges on the sitar made of bone or ivory that give the sitar its exhilarating buzz.

Sound
 

The Veena is a complete instrument and provides the basic components: sruti, laya and sahitya. Its main attraction is the mellow tonal quality which is capable of evoking a meditative atmosphere. There are people who swear by this instrument and there are people who hate some versions of this instrtument. The rudraveena and the saraswati veena are very popular, whereas the vichitra veena is fast becoming a rarity withn its complex dissonance and rough sliding sounds.

Sound

The Tanpura or Tambura is a stringed drone instrument. The four strings are plucked continuously to provide a prolonged and resonant drone of the octave and fifth, to which the musicians constantly refer throughout the concert. It usually accompanies a vocalist or a sitar player and is seldom used as a solo instrument. Nowdays it is being fast replaced by pre-recorded and remote controlled drones that can be used both in practice and in concert. 

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The double tumba sitar is huge instrument characterised by an additional resonator on the tail end off the sitar. The double tumba is preferred by many to both the single tumba sitar and the surbahar. The resonance of these professional grade 20-stringed instruments is quite marvellous and these are the instruments used by almost of the great virtuosos of the sitar.

Sound

Swarmandal - Harp

Carnatic Violin

Shahi Baja with Swarmandal

Hawaiian Steel Guitar

The Swarmandal is a 30 to 42 string finger harp that is used primnarily for vocal accompaniment. It is often played by khayal singers. Itl is tuned to the 3 octaves on a specific raga. The singers plays arpeggio of notes with its right thumb. The sound was featured famously as a solo instrument in the Beatles' track Strawberry Fields Forever.

Sound Recording
Coming Soon 

The Carnatic Violin is only a slightly modified and retuned version the Western violin., In Carnatic music, the violin is placed firmly between foot and chest of the performer. This enables rapid hand movements that are necessary for the innumerable slides, oscillations, grace notes and other types of note -orna mentations that are so intrinsic to (and typical of ) Carnatic music

Sound

The Electric Shahi Baaja combines the best of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar, the Swarmandal (Indian harp) and has many similar characteristics to the Electric Bulbul Tarang. It belongs to the Tat Vadya family of plucked string instruments. This is a very long instrument, over 36-inches and has a double pick up and solid body.

Sound
 

Slack key steel guitar that is usually played with a slide on the lap of the player. It was developed through people who really loved the guitar and found its mellowness to be compatible to that of Indian ragas. A great instrument for fusion music between hindustani classical and Western music. This is more popular as a modified acoustic guitar.

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Nagaswaram

 Harmonium- Organ 

Tasha - Copper Kettle 

Gopichand 

The Nagaswaram is a temple or outdoors wind instrument that requires great skill and strenght to master. It has a range of two and a half octaves like the flute. The system of fingering is similar to that of the flute. But unlike the flute, where semi and quarter tones are produced by the partial opening and closing of the finger holes, here they are produced by adjusting the pressure and strength of the air-flow into the pipe

Sound

A reed organ with hand pumped bellows. The keyboard is European, but it has a number of drone reeds which are distinctly Indian. The drone stops are the distinguishing feature of harmoniums. These control the flow of air over un-keyed reeds. There may be any number of drones set to any pitch; however they tend toward, A sharp, C sharp, D sharp, F sharp, and G shar. Scale changer, an elaborate mechanical arrangement whereby the entire keyboard may be shifted up or down, is provided in some models. This allows a musician to transpose the performance into any key without having to learn new fingerings.

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A very rare kettledrum that can give the most amazing depth of sound for any kettledrum. Many pro-drummers in the West replace their regular kettledrums with a tasha when it comes to solo acts. The 12" diameter copper kettledrum is played with two beaters and tuned by 9 brass keys.

Sound

It consists of a length of bamboo that is split through most of the length. The two ends are pried apart and attached to a resonator. This resonator may be a coconut, gourd, metal container or a hollowed out cylindrical section of wood.

The open end of the resonator is covered with taught skin and a string penetrates the centre. This string is attached to a reinforced section in the centre. This string then passes through the hollow of the resonator and attaches to a tuning peg located in the bamboo.

 Sound

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