RaagTime Episode 5 – Instruments of India (Part 2)

The veena is one of the oldest musical instruments of India. It is a plucked stringed instrument. There are several types of veena – Saraswathi veena (heard in Carnatic music)Rudra veena (heard in Hindustani music) both of which are fretted instruments and the Chitravina (Carnatic music) sometimes referred to as gottuvadyam and Vichitravina (Hindustani music) which are fretless. The sound of the veena is one of the sweetest melodies of music. The instrument is also adaptable when playing other genres of music other than Indian classical music. Dr. Chittibabu, the well known exponent of the veena highlighted this point when he remarked, “Veena is as old as the Vedas and yet as modern as tomorrow”. Episode 5 begins with a rendition of Marivere Gathi, a composition of Shyama Shastri in raga Anandabhairavi by one of the best vainikas (veena player) of the instrument Jayanthi Kumaresh.

The santoor is another plucked stringed instrument heard in Hindustani music. Native to Jammu and Kashmir it is in the shape of a trapezoid and a type of dulcimer. It is played by striking the strings using spoon shaped hammers. Pandit Shivkumar Sharma from Jammu was the first Indian musician to play this instrument and in this episode he plays raag Ahir Bhairav.

When you walk into any south Indian wedding the sound of the nadhaswaram can be heard in the background. It is considered an auspicious instrument and played at all important events in south India. The nadhaswaram is a double reed wind instrument and in this episode Sheikh Chinna Moulana plays the delightful Tyagaraja kriti Nagumomu Ganaleni in raga Abheri.

The last two tracks feature two percussion instruments – one that is unusual and the other that is heard in all Hindustani concerts. The jaltarang consists of a set of ceramic or metal bowls tuned with water. The bowls are played by striking the edge with beaters, one in each hand. Milind Tulankar shows how the jaltarang is played in the Hindustani style.

The episode concludes with a mesmerizing performance by Ustad Zakir Hussain playing the tabla. The tabla is a pair of hand drums that comes in different sizes and is similar to the bongos.

Click here to listen to Episode 5 RaagTime – Instruments of India(Part 2)



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