Percussion Instruments

Percussion instruments are those which produce sound on being struck. They mat be hit with an implement, shaken, rubbed, scraped or they may produce sounds by any other action which sets the object into vibration. The most common way of differentiating the various percussion instruments are the idiophones and membranophones. The idiophones are those which produce sound by means of vibration of their entire body while the membranophones produce sound when their head or membrane is struck.

Ghana Vadya, Idiophones
Idiophpones, known as Ghana Vadya in Indian Musicology, are the earliest known instruments. These do not require any special kind of tuning and can be played as they are made. The Danda is perhaps a more peaceful use of the hunting rod and the sword. The Ghatam and the Noot are cooking pots serving musical purposes. By the very nature of their construction, the sound emitted by most idiophones is noisy. That is, they do not give out a sound of definite pitch; also the sound so produced is of indefinite quality and of short duration. Hence these instruments are eminently suited for rhythmic purposes. Due to their acoustic properties they have also remained comparatively ill-developed.

Avanaddha Vadya, Mebranophones
The origins of drums of various kinds are not definitely known. The oldest form was, most probably, derived from the stamped pit. This was a hollow in the ground covered with barks or planks on which men and women stamped or beat with sticks. Eventually, the bark might have been substituted by the hide of animals. Such a one was the Bhoomi Dundubhi mentioned in the Vedas. Another line of development was the employment of cooking and storage pots and pans. Even today we come across the Ghumat, the Ghumera, the mate and so on which are nothing more than vessels used for cooking and storing water (Surahi, Kooja) covered with animal skin. Whereas the mebranophones were earlier made mostly of mud, they gradually came to be replaced by wood due to the fragility of the former and better tonal quality of the latter. Thus there is seen the Tabla, Pakhavaj, Mrindaga etc. To know more reads:

 

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