One of the most popular forms of music in India is Carnatic music instruments like the Veena, Mridangam, and Kanjira are typically play this type of music. Each instrument has a unique sound that can add complexity and flavor to any performance.
You might be interested in the numerous Carnatic instruments employed in this music style, as a musician. Keep reading if have an interest in learning more about Carnatic music or trying to play one of these instruments! We’ll discuss a brief overview of each instrument. By the end of this blog post, you’ll have a better understanding of what makes Carnatic music so special.
Carnatic music instruments include both bowed and plucked strings and wind and percussion instruments.
1. Bowed Strings
The violin is a wooden stringed musical instrument from the same family as the viola. The most prevalent form of a violin is one with a hollow wooden body and four strings. The strings may also be plucked with the fingers or struck with the wooden side of the bow.
The violin was first utilized in 16th-century Italy, but it has undergone modifications over the 18th and 19th centuries to give it a stronger sound.
A violin’s components are typically constructed of several types of wood, and the instrument may be played with gut, Perlon, or other synthetic or steel strings.
Lalgudi Gopala Iyer Jayaraman was an acclaimed Indian Carnatic violinist, vocalist and composer. He is usually regarded as part of the violin trinity of Carnatic music, along with M.S. Gopalakrishnan and T.N. Krishnan.
2. Plucked Strings
The veena (Sanskrit: vina) is a South Asian chordophone with origins in India. Veenas come in many regional designs, including the Rudra veena, the Saraswati veena, and the Vichitra veena.
It is a pear-shaped lute with a wooden component that is long-necked and pear-shaped. However, it also has 24 frets, four melody strings, and three drone strings and is played similarly.
Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer (1908 – 1978) was an Indian classical musician and Veena player who became famous in his day.
The guitar is a musical instrument that typically has six strings. The player holds the guitar flat against their body while playing. The player plucks or strums the strings with the dominant hand and simultaneously presses selected notes against frets with the opposite hand.
The tuning of carnatic guitar is different from that of the western style. R. Prasanna (Guitar Prasanna), a pioneer in the Carnatic music genre, is a guitar player. Check out how he tunes the guitar for playing carnatic music.
3. Wind Instuments
The venu is an ancient transverse flute in Indian classical music. It’s a bamboo-based flute that produces sound when the player blows into it. It is still utilized in South Indian Carnatic music.
The venu is about the thickness of a thumb and has six holes. The longest murali is four holes long and two hands long. The vamsika is a small, elongated insect with eight holes and a length of twelve to seventeen fingers.
The venu is an instrument that is sacred to the Hindu god Krishna.
Palladam Sanjiva Rao was an Indian flautist and carnatic musician from Tamil Nadu. He was widely renowned for his exceptional skills with the venu.
The nadaswaram is a significant musical instrument in South Indian culture, frequently used at Hindu weddings and temples. The instrument is called Mangala vadyam and belongs to a group of musical instruments.
The nadaswaram is a double reed instrument with a conical bore that gets bigger toward the bottom. The metal staple at the top holds a small metallic cylinder in place. This, in turn, carries the mouthpiece made of reed material.
Thirumarugal Natesapillai Rajarathinam Pillai, popular as “Nadaswara Chakravarthi” or TNR, was an Indian Carnatic musician, nadaswaram maestro, vocalist and film actor. He is also the guru of Karukurichi Arunachalam.
The mridangam, an ancient percussion instrument of South India’s Tamil culture, is often accompanied by other instruments such as the ghatam and kanjira during performances. It has been said that this unique drum was created to be used in temple rituals.
Its two membranes would resonate when struck because they were made from different materials – one covered with goatskin leather. In contrast, another had tight overlapping straps along its length, which put tension on these round pieces so they could produce sound waves specific for each note played upon them through striking actions near either end.
Mridangamela was conceptualized by Korambu Subrahmanian Namboodiri and is currently being propagated by Korambu Vikraman Namboodiri.
The ghaṭam is a percussion instrument used throughout India in various genres of music. It’s a variant of shatranj that originated in Punjab and is known as gharha since it is part of Punjabi folk customs. It has a tiny mouth and is made of clay.
The mouth slants outwards to form a ridge. The pitch of the ghatam varies depending on its size, with most constructed out of clay backed by brass or copper filings and a trace amount of iron filings. Plasticine clay or water may be used to modify the pitch.
Vikku Vinayakram is an Indian percussionist who has gained international recognition. He is also known as the God of ghatams. He plays Carnatic music with a ghatam, an earthen pot, and is credited with popularising the instrument.
Manpoondia Pillai, a South Indian Carnatic musician, is credited with creating the kanjira. The instrument is most often used in Carnatic music concerts as an accompaniment to the mridangam. The frame is crafted from jackfruit wood, measures between 7 and 9 inches wide, and is 2 to 4 inches deep. It’s also circular.
The kanjira is a relatively difficult Indian drum to play, especially in South Indian Carnatic music. This is due to various reasons: the complexity of the percussion patterns used in Indian music. It is usually played with the palm and fingers of the right hand while the left hand supports the drum. By pressing near the outer rim, you may bend the pitch of the left hand’s fingertips. It is not tuned to a specific note, as is the mridangam or ghatam.
Govinda Rao Harishankar was an Indian player of the kanjira. He is the only kanjira player to be awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, given to performers who have significantly contributed to the performing arts in India.
The thavil is a Tamil Nadu percussion instrument shaped like a barrel. In South India, it is popular in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana. It’s employed in temple music, folk music, and Carnatic music. Most of it is produced in Thanjavur and Valayapatti.
The thavil is a cylindrical shell created by hollowing out a block of jackfruit wood. Water buffalo fur covers the two sides of the shell (from right to left, goat on the left). Hemp hoops are attached to the shell and stretched across the two surfaces. The instrument’s right side is broader than the left, its right drum head is very tight, and the left is loose to enable pitch changing. The larger face produces a higher pitch than the smaller face. The Modern Thavil’s steel ring is coated in plastic and bordered by two skins fixed by metal straps. Both skins can be tuned to different pitches.
Valayapatti A. R. Subramaniam is an Indian classical musician and percussionist recognized for his mastery of Thavil, a traditional percussion instrument in Carnatic music, which he plays with windpipe instruments such as nadaswaram, saxophone, clarinet, and violin, among other things.
Though not as popular or widespread, the idakka is a unique percussion instrument from south India. The hourglass-shaped drum has been used in temples and performances such as the Kathakali dance, where it offers an important role in varying tempos for Mohiniattam classical dances.
The Idakka consists of two circular drum heads, each mounted within a ring. It is similar to the talking drum. The hourglass-shaped body is sandwiched between the two heads, and the two rings are drawn together through the lacing. Natural fiber snare-like strings are stretched along the open ends of the drum body, under each drum head.
M.A. Krishnadas, more commonly known as Tripunithura Krishnadas, is an Indian musician from Kerala. He specializes in the edaykkya and chenda and is quite popular in his home state. He is the best edaykkya player in modern Kerala.
If you want to purchase Carnatic music instruments, visit our music master online stores. The experts at the store will help you find the perfect instrument for your needs and provide you with all the information regarding the instruments .
Moreover, If you have an interest in learning more about Carnatic music, we recommend enrolling in Music Master online class. In this class, you’ll learn about the history and origins of Carnatic music and how to play some basic Carnatic instruments.