Music has been an integral part of the Indian civilization. Various musical forms, rather, classical forms have found their origin from the sub continent itself. Instruments thus are vital elements which assists the whole process.
Indian musical instruments are not supplementary to the music. In fact they are the essence of the whole musical journey
Carnatic Music and Instruments
Mridangam: A percussion instrument widely used in Carnatic music, Mridangam is a vital instrument in every south Indian musical concert. It is a double sided drum which was originally made of clay, but, presently these Mridangams are constructed from a single wood block. Jackwood is the most common wood which is used. The unique fibrous structure, less number of pores and the wood density is the prime reason for the use of Jackwood. The left side of the Mridangam, the thoppi, is made of two layers of goat-skin while the right side has three layers of goat-skin. Unlike the Tabla, Mridangam is a single resonator and the tension on both sided is inseparable. The instrument is played with fingers, palms and hands and produces the largest acoustic bass by any instrument.
Veena: As the national instrument of India, Veena or Vina has a prominent place in both Carnatic and Hindustani music. Carnatic music uses Saraswati Veena (with frets) and Chitra Veena (without frets) while Hindustani music uses Rudra Veena (with frets) and Vichitra Veena (without frets). This most ancient wooden, string instrument has a resonator attached to its neck. Saraswati Veena has 24 metal frets under 4 principle metal strings which brings desired frequencies. Playing a Veena is not a child’s play; one has to have proper syncing of both hands which simultaneously work on both frets and strings.
Venu: The side windblown, keyless transverse flute of bamboo has found its importance in the South Indian music from years. A more sophisticated instrument as compared to Bansuri (similar instrument used in North Indian music with 6/7 holes). Venu has 8 holes which are capable of producing 2 ½ octaves (just like human voice) when wind is overblown or fingers are crossed on the holes.
Ghatam: Made from clay/mud, Ghatam is one of the versatile south Indian musical tools. It uses clay, copper, brass and iron filings while its production. The playing of the instrument uses both hands, fingers, nails wrists and even heels to create bass on the inner surface. The mouth of the instrument is pressed against the stomach which helps in controlling the vibrations created while striking. The resonance created while striking is the soul of the instrument.
Harmonium: It is the used in almost all forms of Indian music. The reed organ instrument has a keyboard attached to it and mainly fork on the air sucked or blown through the free reeds. Played in the similar manner like that of piano, Harmonium consist of 2 ½ octaves and a bellow. One hand works on the keyboard while the other operates the bellow to create sounds of desired pitch, note and frequency.