Indian Percussion Instrument Types


Budbudke Hourglass drum of Mysore beaten with a knocked string by shaking the drum

Budbudke: Hourglass drum of Mysore beaten with a knocked string by shaking the drum

 

Chenda: Cylindrical drum of Kerala, usually heard as accompaniment to the Kathakali dance, made of wood, it is suspended from the shoulders of the player almost vertically and only upper face is beaten with sticks.  

 

Chameli: This instrument is Indian equivalent of the African instrument Djembe. It has membrane on only one side and has a typical torch shaped body. It is used for accompanying certain folk dances.

 

Chimta literally means a fire tong shaped tool used in traditional Indian kitchens to fetch Rotis from clay ovens and roasting pans. The musical version has brass jingles attached to the tong. It is mostly used in Punjabi folk songs and dances. Punjabi Shabad (an equivalent of hindi Bhajans) is traditionally accompanied with Chimta.

Daff: A large circular open drum usually played with drumsticks. This word itself has been imported into India from Persia.

 

Dumroo is probably the oldest form of percussion instrument in India. It is the only remaining form of hour-glass drums which are so commonly seen in ancient Indian statues. Its musical role is minimal and it is most commonly known for its association with Lord Shiva and monkey charmers. It is historically important in that it is considered the forefather of all two sided membranous instruments.

Danda: This is a pair of sticks, with or without jingles, beaten together, used in folk dances.

 

Dholak: Folk instrument known throughout the Indian continent, made of wood in the form of barrel, the two mouths are fixed with hide and beaten with sticks or hands.

 

Gajjai: Dancers ankle bells of south India

 

Ghatam: Found in south India it is an earthen pot and it is held with its mouth to the belly of the player and stuck with palms and fingers.

 

Ghumat: Goblet drum of Goa

 

Ghungroo: Dancers ankle bells of north India

 

Gilabada: Small shells of dried fruit tied in a garland and round the waist found in Chenchus of Andhra.

 

Gna: Two-faced frame drum of inhabitants of Himalayan hills, performing in their Lamaic dances.

 

Idakka: Hourglass of Kerala

 

Jaltarang: Which literally means water-waves is a series of porcelain cups filled to various levels with water is arranged in a semicircular manner. The choice of the size, thickness and material of the bowl, and the amount of water in it determines its pitch. The cups are laid out and the player, squatting in the center of the semicircle, beats them with thin bamboo sticks. Its Persian version is called kasat.

 

Jamuku: Goblet drum of south India

 

Kal-chilampu: A hollow ring filled with small pellets or balls worn on the feet

 

Kai-chilampu:  A hollow ring filled with small pellets or balls held in the hands

 

Khanjari: Small sized frame drum struck with hands found in northern villages and may have jingles.

 

Khanjeera: Small and slightly deep frame drum found in southern India has no jingles and is covered with crocodile or iguana skin.

 

Kolu: This is a pair of sticks, with or without jingles, beaten together, used in folk dances.

 

Mridangam: South Indian cylindrical drum

 

Nagara: Kettledrums often in pairs, the smaller female and the larger male, made of earth, wood or metal, beaten with sticks vary in size from a few inches to feet in diameter. It should be of Persian origin.

 

Noot: It is an earthen pot, used by Kashmiri singers of the rauf or soofiyana kalam, and is stuck on the sides and the open mouth.

 

Pakhawaj: North Indian barrel or cylindrical drum and accompaniment of the dhrupad (the ancient style of Indian singing)

 

Pataha: Ancient Indian frame drum

 

Pianjan: A hollow ring filled with small pellets or balls worn on the feet

 

Pung: Barrel drum of Assam

 

Tabla: A pair of bowl-shaped drums and typically a north Indian instrument, the right one is called dayan and of the form of a large coffee-cup and made of wood, while the left one is called bayan and like an oversized tea-cup and of metal or burnt clay.

 

Tammatai: South Indian version of Daff

 

Tamukku: small sized nagara

 

Tappatai: Another name of Tammatai

 

Tasha: medium sized nagara accompaniment of shehnai (Indian oboe). Its Persian version is called tas.

 

Tumbaknari: Goblet drum of Kashmir, similar to Persian tombak.

 

Tumda: Hourglass drum of Orissa beaten with hands

 

Inputs From the book: B. Chaintanya Deva, Indian Music, New Delhi, 1974.

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