Rajasthan Wind Instruments


These are the numerous instruments that are played by blowing into them. Rajasthani folk music has many variations of the flute. The Peli of the Meos of Alwar is a short flute, to the music of which the Ratwai is sung in a high pitch. The Algoza common in the Tonk-Ajmer areas, is two such flutes played together. The Satara of the Langas has one long flute and another flute to provide the drone. The Narh or Nad produces music most evocative of the desert. It is a vertical flute with a single long hollow tube, into which the player whistles, at the same time gurgling a song in his throat or actually singing intermittently. The effect is haunting.

The Kathodis use the pawri, a flute of bamboo held vertically. The Bhills use a short flute in some of their dances. Ceremonial music is provided by the Nafeeri and Surnai both rudimentary forms of the shehani. Then there is the Poongi of the snake charmer and its adaptation by the Langas called the Murla. Both have two tubes, one for the notes and the other for the drone. The Mashak or the Been of the Bherun Bhopas is a bagpipe fitted with one opening for blowing air in while another has two tubes fitted to it, one for the notes and the other for the drone.

Rajasthan also has a wide range of trumpets the small singi of the Jogi to the massive Karna and the intriguing looking Nagphani. The Bankia is the most common and interesting instrument which, though crude produces a powerful, eerie sound in dextrous hands. The common man’s orchestra is formed with the Dhol, the Thati and the Bankia, and accompanies the Chari and Kuchhi Ghodi dances.

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