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Ghan - non-membranous percussive

This is one of the oldest classes of instruments in India. This class is based upon percussive instruments which do not have membranes, specifically those which have solid resonators. These may be either melodic instruments or instruments to keep tala.

MANJIRAManjira is known by many names. It is also called jhanj, tala or a host of other names. It is basically a set of small cymbals. It is a ubiquitous component of dance music and bhajans. It is a very ancient instrument; examples may be seen on temple walls going back to the earliest of times.

Ghungharu are the "tinklebells" or "jingle bells" which are used to adorn the feet of dancers. When tied to the feet, they are played by the act of dancing. They may also be played by hand. This instrument evolved from the payal which are traditional anklets worn by women in India.

The terms payal and ghungharu are nearly interchangeable; there is but a slight difference in the colour of the word. Whereas the term ghungharu evokes an image of the musical or dance performance, the term payal evokes the image of a mere adornment of the feet. The term payal shows up repeatedly in song and poetry in northern India where it is said to be an indication of a girl's comings and goings, her dancing, and a general joyous mood of the wearer.


Ghatam is nothing more than a large clay pot. It is very commonly played in South Indian classical performances. There are two actions of resonance. The primary one is the ringing of the pot caused by striking. A very low resonance is also produced by the cavity. This pitch is raised or lowered by opening or closing the hole with the stomach.

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