Idiophones or Solid Instruments

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Ghana Vadya or Idiophones are solid instruments that do not need any further tuning. ‘Manjira’, ‘Jaltarang’, ‘Kanch-tarang’, ‘Kasht-tarang’, ‘Jhanj’, ‘Khartal’, ‘Piccolo’, ‘Tic-Toc’, ‘Tong’, ‘Tasha’, ‘Kartal’, ‘Stirdrum’, ‘Kabbas’, ‘Moracus’, ‘Talam’, ‘Agogo’ and ‘Chimta’ are some examples of the Ghana Vadyas.



‘Manjiras’ are small brass cymbals, which are generally used in temple prayers. Excavations give evidence of the use of Manjiras even during the Harappan Civilization. Vedas described Manjiras by the term ‘aghati’. Some of the smaller types of manjira are ‘jalra’, ‘jalar’, ‘jhallari’, ‘kartal’, ‘tali’, ‘talam’, ‘kuzhittalam’, while ‘jhanj’, ‘brahmatalam’ and ‘bortal’ are the larger ones. Manjiras are played in pairs with each cymbal tuned to a different note. A variety of effects can be achieved by striking different parts of the Manjira together.

Jal Tarang


Jal Tarang is essentially a water-xylophone. It is made up of a series of porcelain bowls of varying sizes that are filled with varying levels of water and are then played with two light sticks.




‘Ghatam’ is an earthenware pot with two centimetres thick walls, made of clay mixed with metal. It is played with brass rings worn around the fingers, which are used to bring out the most amazing sounds from the belly of the earthen pot.

It is a popular folk instrument in Jammu & Kashmir, where it is known by the name ‘Noot’. Nowadays, it is also becoming popular as an accompanying instrument in Carnatic music concerts. Thetakudi Harihara Vinayakram is the most renowned name among contemporary Ghatam players.




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