Brienf Notes on the Musical Instruments of Haryana

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Dholak:

It is small percussive instrument often used by women and professional musicians. The main body of the dholak is a shell made of wood and the heads are mounted with skin.

A rope or thread is passed around the shell and over braces to adjust the pitch of sound produced by striking the faces of the skin. Hands are used produce beats. Sometimes, two sticks are tied to a finger or a ring is put around the thumb to produce an additional musical effect.

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Dhol:

An instrument similar to dholak but bigger than it is the dhol. It is played by men by using two sticks. The dhol is slung in the front from the neck using a string. The loud sound of a big dhol can be heard from a great distance.

Damru:

It is small palm-held-drum with strings attached to beads, which strike the sides when shaken with fingers.

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Deru:

Deru is percussive instrument like dholak made of wooden shell and skin-mounted on both of its sides. In fact, it is a large damru, which is struck with sticks to produce rhythmic beats. It is used by folk performers as well as by wandering devotees.

Chimta:

It is tong-like instrument made of two long metallic strips which are joined on one side. The strips are often embellished with rings, which produce tinkling sounds when the chimta is played. To produce percussive sounds, one holds the joint in one hand and plays strips between the fingers by striking one with the other. The chimta is used as an accompaniment in folk musical performances.

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Been:

This wind driven instrument is used primarily by the snake charmers. It is said that the snake charmers charm the snakes using the been’s haunting music. But it has found its permanent place, in Haryanvi dances too. Made from dried pumpkin, it has two joints pipes to produce different notes the player of the been has to produce continuous flow of air by breathing into it. It is difficult to play and requires good breath control.

Manjira:

Manjiras (cymbals) are made of brass and are either flat- shaped or cup-shaped. These are used in pairs of different sizes and shapes. They are played in classical, folk and devotional music performances. Two cymbals are tied together with a long chord and are struck with each other on their front sides to produce very pleasant tinkling sounds.

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Harmonium:

A musical instrument with keys, metal reeds and bellows. It is played by using the bellows to force air through the reeds, which are opened by putting fingers over the keys.

Gharah:

Also called the matka. It is a simple earthen pitcher and is used as an accompaniment to provide rhythm with folk singing. The open mouth is covered with stretched rubber and played with a small stick. Raagni singers often use it with Nagara and Dholak to complement the musical beat.

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Saarangi:

It is a type of string instrument, which is played with a bow.

Khartals:

These are wooden cymbals having two pieces of hard wood, which are made flat on one side and round on the other. Fixed in the fingers of one hand, the flat surfaces are struck with each other to produce, percussive. Sometimes, small bells or metallic rings are also fixed at the back of each khartal to produce a tinkling effect.

Shehnai:

It is flute-like instrument, which is played mainly at weddings.

Bansuri:

It is flute-like wind instrument consisting of a cylindrical bamboo tube. It is played by blowing across a hole near one end. The tune is played by closing the holes and keys along its length with the help of fingers.

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