7 Indian Musical Instruments that are on the verge of oblivion

“Hurrian Hymn No.6” is the oldest known written music piece, discovered so far. This origin of this piece dates back to 3400 years back in Bronze Age. It was engraved by Syrians on a clay slab. Even the origins of Indian classical music dates back to 1500 BCE, which was one of the earliest flourishing civilisations in terms of art, music and literature. Indians have been creating, enjoying, learning and exploring music since ages. None of the concern, which dynasty is ruling whether Mughals or Marathas, the influence of music has always been strong in our day to day life.

Presently the influence of westernisation has upgraded the Indian music Industry in terms of production systems, instruments, techniques and other aesthetics. And we Indians have certainly preserved our ancestral chords even in this modern era of change. The heirloom musical skills of our forefathers like Tabla, Sitar, Bansuri and other well known classical instruments are still passed, but there are few instruments which knowingly or unknowingly are losing their existence in people’s heart.

Team Creative Yatra wants to draw an attention towards these ancient instruments that we as Indians should definitely preserve by learning its skill.

1.Pungi: Remember the snake charmers who play a wind instrument in front of the snake to control it, that instrument is known as Pungi/been. We were really happy to see these charmers playing Pungi atleast as a street music, but unfortunately we are losing even that charm too.

2. Shankha: A seashell originally found at the shores of Indian Ocean is an Indian Trumpet that declares prosperity, fame and longevity in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Unfortunately this musical instrument is now only used in sacred Bhajans and the Shankha has lost its name from contemporary musical instrument.

3. Ektara: A single string musical instrument that is usually played by the index finger is one of the oldest musical instrument used in traditional music from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Egypt. The instrument is so user-friendly that it can even be played while dancing. There are different types of iktara like the two stringed ektara with a bass.
4. Damaru: An ancient instrument that is made out of tying leather skin on both the ends of a wooden base and a striker with two ends in the middle of it. Twisting it makes the striker hit aggressively on the leather skin and give you a spectacular independent sound. It can actually be played by anyone without any lessons as the Damaru does have a transcendent rhythm but not a pre-fixed tone.
5. Chimta: It literally means tongs. When the sides of the steel/iron tong collide with each other the jingle gives a metallic chiming sound, which totally sets with the beat any and every time. It is usually combined with Dhol (Indian Drum) while playing Sikh and Islamic mythological songs. There are very few recitalists, who still perform this forgotten art of music.
6. Manjira: The Manjira are long lost cousins of the existing cymbal of the drum kit. Born in ancient south India, the mystical sound of Manjira is said to have mesmerizing healing power for your brain, according to the mythology. A seriously simple instrument that contains 2 brass/bronze or metallic lids tied up at the end of a single string making high pitch percussive sound when struck together. One of the fabulous instruments that was so much part of the devotional music of this land.
7. Jal tarang: The simplest form from all the musical instrument family, which gives you a melody by just striking the edge of water filled ceramic bowls. A sweet rhythm that makes you fall in love with music is unfortunately today played by only 4 or 5 prominent artists. The only ancient instrument, where water is used to tune the melody. Wish we could actually prolong this art to the next generation, but this echoing sound is literally falling into oblivion due to the lack of interest in learners.

This list is not exhaustive, and one can add many other traditional folk instruments in the dying list. The Indie Music scene is on an upsurge, and we at CY urge this new breed of musicians to embrace this instruments and give them a life in contemporary music.


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