The Indian instrument database was generated from our larger database we have been building for 20 years, with over 3500 instruments from around the world. Here are 162 short definitions of Asian Indian instruments. Many instruments have a variety of names and spellings, as well as looking very similar. We welcome any help on making this index better and more complete.

alghoza; algoza; algozey; alogoza. aka: jorhi; jori; do nally; satara; ngoze

Asian Indian folk double duct flute (woodwind) each pipe having three holes, one for a drone and one melody. Used in traditional Punjabi, Baloch, Rajasthani and Sindhi music, including bhangra in both India, Pakistan and the UK.


Folk fiddle from Rajasthan, India with a tin can resonator and one string.

baja. aka: peti; bajakhana

Name used by Sufi Muslim musicians in India and Pakistan for the portable harmonium. Literally the term means 'instrument' and it was also used to decribe early gramaphones. Because of it's Western origin, banned from All-India Radio 1940 -1971. Used in Parsi and Marathi theatrical music, and Hindu and Sikh devotional music. This is the dominant instrument you hear in Qawwali music.


Asian Indian brass trumpet played during feasts and ceremonies in Rajasthan.

bansuri; bansari; bansi; bansli, bansri; bansali. aka: vanjhali

Generic term for the Asian Indian flute traditionally made of bamboo, but also hollow sugar cane or metal, with six or seven finger holes. Originally a simple folk instrument, bansari have a limited range of about two octaves. Can be side blown (transverse) or end blown (fipple). It is claimed that South Indian players have more synchopation and Northern playing is sweetly melancholic. This is the flute you see Krishna playing in Indian paintings. Banse' or 'bans' in Sanscrit means bamboo, 'swar' is a musical note.


North Asian Indian drum.

been; bin. aka: rudra veena

North Indian fretted veena, somewhat archaic, largely replaced by the surbahar. Two gourd resonators at each end of a long hollow tubular body (approx 50-65) having two bridges and 24 moveable frets. The strings (Plucked Rudra veena lit; the veena dear to Shiva. Been can also refer to a snake charmer's reeded pipe - see punji.


Rare, primarily Rajasthani single tension stringed percussion instrument made by fixing a gut string to the center of the skin covering a dry hollow Tumbi gourd. Goued is held under the armpit, the string tensioned with the other hand by gripping a wooen handle at its end. Sometime hourgalss shaped, similar to an African talking drum, the sound and playing technique more like the Brazilian cuica.


A simple instrument made from beads and coconut which is used in film and folk music.


Percussion instrument of Rajasthan, a shallow wooden circular and sometimes starshaped frame drum, one side open the other skin covered, played with the palms and thin drumsticks at festive occassions. Gives its name to Chang Nritya music.


Three stringed (two horse-tail and one steel) bowed unfretted spiked folk fiddle with a gourd resonator, played by pressing fingernails against the strings rather than depressing then to contact the fingerboard. Can desccribe a variety of stringed instruments in India.


Drone. chikari strings are the drone strings that are a part of many of the stringed instruments of India.

chimta; chimpta

Fire tongs used in household baking or a heavier blacksmithing tong used as a percussion instrument, often with discs, bells, jingles or scap metal attached. one of many Ghan' instruments - solid percussive instruments without membranes. Common to Punjabi folk musics, Bhangra and Gurbani Kirtan, Sikh religious music.

chitra vina; chitra veena; chitra vina, chitravina; chitraveena. aka: gotuvadhyam; gottuvadhyam; gottuvadyam; gotu vadyam; kottuvadyam; hanumad vina or mahanataka vina.

South Indian fretless lute, with 20-21 strings - six melody, three drone, 11-12 sympathetic. Played with a cylindrical slide (hardwood, often ebony, buffalo horn, glass, steel, or teflon) along the neck and plucked, one of the oldest slide instruments in the world.


Small bells strung on a string or ribbon, used to accompany religious songs and dances in India.

dafli; daf; dap; def; tef; defi; duf; duff. aka:gaval

Asian Indian version of a tambourine consisting of a circular hardwood fame, commonly 10 in diameter, usually covered in goatskin, with a double row of small circlular metal resonators mounted in the frame.


Small double-headed leather covered sacred hourglass 'talking' drum of the Paradhies used in religious rituals.

damaru; damru. aka: monkey drum; devanagari

Small double-headed hourglass drum in Northern India and Nepal, with a wooden body and cowhide drumheads, struck with a leather strip with a bead on the end. Outer braces along the sides can be squeezed to alter pitch like an African talking drum. One delightful version from Nepal made from a human skull.


Small cymbal from Southern India.


Fretted Indian fiddle, also common in Afghanistan.


A large damru (double-headed hourglass drum) most common in the folk music of Haryana, Punjab and Northern Rajasthan.

dhadh; dhadd; dhad

A double-headed hourglass drum played with the hands in Sikh Dhadhi music and also used in Sufi ritual.

dhamaru, damaru

Legendary hourglass drum of the Indian God Shiva, who taught the philosopher Panini sanskrit using drum rhythms.

dhamtal; dhantal

An rod shaped length of iron (idiophone) sounded with a U shaped striker, derived and sometimes an axle and horseshoe. Used in East and West Asian Indian devotional music, found in the Indian state of Bihar, Fiji, Guyana, Surinam and Trinidad.

dhodro banam

Solid one=piece wooden one stringed verticle fiddle, often the body ornately carved, the bowl resonator covered in skin. Played by the Santal people of India.

dhol; dholl; dhola

A drum referencing many different percussion instruments from all parts of India in a variety of sizes, most associated with Punjabi Bhangra folk and pop music, now common around the world. Hollow two-headed skin covered barrel drum made from Mango or Sheesham wood, played with a heavy curved stick (Acacia tree root) on one head, and a lighter switch/stick (cane wood or bamboo) on the other. Usually played standing, held by a chord around the players neck.

dholak. aka: dhola; matalon

Smaller than the dhol, larger than the dholki, the dholak is a similar two-headed hollow wooden barrel drum, wider in the center and tapered at the ends, both skin covered heads the same size. Primarily used in folk music, most associated with the Punjab and Bhangra music. Trinidadian name 'dhola', 'matalon' in South Indian communities of Guadeloupe.


A small folk drum played in Maharashtra.


Long neck lute, with a skin covered box resonator, fretted (moveable) with 4 bowed and 19-24 sympathetic metal strings. Lighter and derived from the taus. Common to the Punjab and the Sikh community. 'Dilruba' means 'robber of the heart.'


Double end-blown flute from Balutcyistan, Rajasthan and Sind. Right pipe (male) has seven holes to play the melpdy, left pipe (female or maiden) has eight holes and creates the drone. Some performers plug the drone holes with wax to intensify the sound.


Two stringed version of the ektar that provides both rhythmic accompaniment as well as a drone for folk music. zin Bengal there is an unrelated instrument also called dotar which is very similar to the Kabuli rabab.


Circular drum from Haryana, played by men to accompany the Dhamyal dance, which is also called 'duph.'

ektara (one string); ektal; ektar; iktar; ekatantri vina (one stringed lute). Aka; yaktaro gopichand; dotara; tumbi; tuntun; katho; anand lahari; gopichand; dudumah; dung-dungi.

Asian Indian folk single-stringed fiddle common also to the Near and Middle East. The resonater is clay or gourd (sometimes pumpkin), wood or coconut bowl, the pitch moduladed by squeezing the split bamboo fretless cane neck that pierces the resonator. Sized: small (soprano), medium (tenor) and large (bass), the bass ektara also called 'dotara' with two strings. Can describe any number of one stringed instruments, Ancient Sanskrit name, 'ekatantri vina' (one stringed lute), Punjabi name, 'tumbi,' in Orissa, 'dudumah' and 'dung-dungi.'

esraj. aka: Indian harp

North Asian Indian (Bengali) bowed long necked lute with 19 or 20 movable metal frets, one melody string, three drone strings, and 12 to 15 sympathetic strings. Wooden body, the resonater covered with parchment. Best descrivbed as between a sarangi and a sitar, played seated.

gabusi. aka: twarab.

North Indian wooden bodied lute, with a parchment covered belly, and 20 metal frets and 1 melody, 3 drone and 12-15 sympathetic strings. Common to Bengal and the Comores islands in the Indian Ocean. Similar/same as the Arabian 'qanbūs' or 'gambus.'


One term for an Asian Indian bow


Musical pot from the North, common to Punjabi fold music, usually clay, but can be metal. About a foot high, with a small mouth opening, played with ringed fingers, and sound adjusted by covering the mouth with the hands. Similar/same as the ghatam.

ghan; ghan-vadya

Any percussion instrument without a membrane, like bells. Ghan-vadya is described in the medieval musical treatise Sangeet Parijaat as any idiophonic instruments in which sound is produced by striking a surface.


The overhead bells that you see and smack with your hand as you enter a Hinu temple or shrine.


Asian Indian hand-held metal bell.

ghatam; ghatum; ghatan; gharha; ghara; ghaghar. aka: ka_am; madga; maika; pani mataqa (water jug)

Narrow mouthed terra cotta (clay/earthenware) pot drum/percussion instrument used in Asian Indian classical music. Name varies throughout the country, usually tone is controlled by placing one hand over the opening and striking the side with a stick or fingers wearing rings. Made to be played the clay often contains high percentage of metal powder/filings. Ghatam is the South Indian name.

ghungharu; ghunghroo; ghungroo; ghungru; ghungur. aka:salangal

Group of small metal bells, strapped above the ankles in clusters of from 50-200 bells usually worn on the feet of a Classical dancer. Ankle bells. In Kutch the ghada ghamela is an instrument made up of a sring of ghunghroos worn on the wrist.

gopi-jantra; gopichand; gopiyantra. Aka:khamak

Bengali short barrel drum with a chord or wire attached to a skin head that is plucked.

gottuvadyam; gotuvadhyam; gottuvadyam; gottuvadhyam; gotu vadyam; kottuvadyam

Tamil (South Indian) name for the vina-like lute, chitrevina. Named for the slide, 'gotu' that is pressed against the strings - see chitravina.

harmonium or pump organ

A keyboard instrument in the pianoforte family that produces sound by moving a hand operated bellows that pushed air across free reeds. Brought to india by missionaries in the 19th c., the small portable instrument is a mainstay of Indian Calssical, popular and folk musics, and has been modified to produce drones and play microtones.

idakka; edaykka

South Indian hourglass 'talking' drum, similar to the damaru, but played with a stick. Used in relious ritual and classica dance performance.


Pair of medium sized cymbals from Kerala, India.


Bowed Asian Indian lute with 4 melody and 15 sympathetic strings.


Coconut shell plectrum.

jal tarang; jalatarang; jaltarang; jal-tarang; jal-yantra; jalatarangam; jalatharangam. aka: kashth tharang

Idiophone composed of a set of ceramic or metal bowles tuned by filling with water and struck with a light wooden mallet. Jal tarang means waves in water and this rarely heard classical instrument was originally played by women, 22 vessels comprisng an ideal configuration.


Traditional three stringed plucked instrument from Rajasthan, India.


Brass cymbals, about 20 cm across, used in both East & West Asian Indian music.


Brass or bronze metal large (8-12) circular clappers.

jodiya pava

Paired flute - a pastoral folk instrument in two varieties; dodi with pipes of unequal length and sarkhi with pipes of equal length. Made from karad wood, only one pipe has holes for melody.

jogia sarangi

Bowed folk fiddle from Rajasthan.

kamaicha; khamaycha; kamaycha

Traditional instrument of the Muslim musicians of Rajathan, primarily Manganiyar and parts of Sindh. A bowed lute with a large bowl resonator made from mango wood. covered with parchment (goat skin), having three gut and two brass melody strings and 15 steel sympathetic stings.Played with a curved wooden bow with horsehair strings. Has a deep, booming sound, the instrument an accompanyment to singing.

kanjira; khanjira; ganjira

Lizard skin covered single headed, small wooden (Jackfruit) circular frame drum - Asian Indian tambourine, used primarily in Carnatic classical music. Approx 7-10 in diameter, with one slit holding 3-5 jingles.


Long skin covered, double headed - heads of different sizes, covered in deerskin - wooden drum of the Kachen in Eastern India.


Small Asian Indian cymbals. Also called manjira'.


Long metal trumpet used in the Mughal era, part of Roayal court ritual and ceremony. Also in royal naubat instrumental ensembles of India.

kartal; khartal; karatali. aka: manjira; manjeera

Flat hardwood clappers (idiophone) with small metal jangle inserts, two in each hand, played like Spanish castinets with the most showmanship by the Manganiyars of Rajasthan.

kasht tarang or kashth tharang

Asian Indian wooden xylophone/marimba (idiophone). Sound from wooden bars alone, ie no resonating chambers.


A wooden xylophone, or marimba.

kattyavana veena

Asian Indian xylophone-like instrument having wooden slats.


Asian Indian lizard covered circular metal or wooden frame drum, with (Northern) or without (Southern) jingles.

khol. Aka: mrdanga; mridanga

Asian Indian clay (terracotta) two headed drum primarily used to accompany devotional music.

kombu; kombu pattu

A three note semi-circular (C shaped) bronze horn from Kerala, on the west coast of india. One of the five instruments to make up an ensemble, the panchavadyam.


Nepalese double headed hollow wooden barrel drum (mridingm), approx. 100 cm in length with outer tension chords, different sized heads played with palms. Originally a folk drum.

maddalam; madhalam

A large double headed wooden skin covered barrel drum In Kerala, with the hands, each side said to represent the male and female spects of Shiva/Shakti.

manjeera; manjira. Aka: taal; tala; jaira; khartal; kartal

Simple metal (bronze, brass, copper zinc or bell metal) 'finger' cymbals (idiophone) common to Indian devotional music and chanting, kept in apair by a woven copper chord. Can also refer to the wooden khartal.

mashak; mashak vaadan; masak; mishek; meshek; moshug; moshaq; moshuq; mashak bin. aka: titti; veen vaja; bin baji

North Indian single reeded folk bagpipe, bag made from a goatskin, and most likely derived from the Higland bagpipe.

South Indian Telugu name, 'Titti'

matka; matki

Everyday earthenware pot used in folk music, some times covered with a skin cover, often played by blowing across the open top end as in jug band music.


Long necked bowed lute with 16 metal frets and a skin covered body in the shape of a peacock (hence the name). Has 4 melody strings and 15 sympathetic strings.


Asian Indian bamboo flute from the remote northeast.

mizrab; mezrab. aka: zakhmeh

Asian Indian Hindustani name for the plectrum held between thumb and forefinger, most commonly used to pluck the sitar.

morchang; mourching; morching; morchang. Aka: jaws harp, jaw harp

Small brass horseshoe-shaped handheld jews harp, a plucked lamellophone common throughout the world, and played in Rajasthan, Assam, Southern India and Pakistan.

mridangam; mridang; mridanga; mirdanga; mirdam; mrdangam; mridingam

Asian Indian two headed cylinder drum, made from a single hollowed out wooden shell, with one head larger than the other. The primary percussive instrument of South Indian Classical music. Tunned by leather thongs that tie the heads down. The right head is calf and sheep skin, the tuning refined by a center area created by spreading a paste made from boiled rice and metal shavings. The lower pitched, large left head is made of buffalo and sheep skin. There are both larger, low pitched (taggu) and smaller, higher pitched (hecchu) varieties.

murchang; morchang; morsang; moorsang

South Indian Jew's harp.


A straight short high-pitched wooden trumpet with a flared bore of the Mikir people of Assam (India).


Pastoral side-blown folk flute. This is the instrument often seen in paintings being played by Krishna as a cowherd. Also a snake charmer's reeded pipe - see punji.

nadaswaram; nagaswaram; nadhaswaram; nathaswaram. aka: nagasara

South Indian long (2-3ft.), loud, high pitched, double reed oboe-like pipe, with a wooden body and a flared end, with 12 holes (6 melody), played in pairs and considered auspicious.

nagada; nagara; naggada; naqqarat; naqqarah; naqqare; nakkara; nakkare; negora; naqareh; naqqara, or cifte nagara

Kettle drum pair played with sticks.


A large nagara.


Folk lute made of bamboo.


Asian Indian percussion instrument.


Can describe a variety of folk pipes/flutes or small trumpets.


A small Asian Indian drum.

ninkirn; ninkirna

Asian Indian double reeded oboe-like flute, related to the shehnai, smaller than the nadaswaram.


Drone instrument.


Asian Indian large kettle drum.

ottu; otter

South Indian double reed oboe-like rosewood bellshaped flute, without fingerholes or tuningholes/fingerholes that are plugged, used as a drone instrument, longer than and usually played in accompanyment with the nadaswaram (nagaswaram).

pakavaj; pakhavaj; pakhawaj; pakuaj; pakhvaj, or mridang

North Indian double-headed, dual-pitched, tapered conical barrel drum very similar to the smaller mirdam/mridanga/mridangam/mridang. Favored in dhrupad music, with a rich base tane. Predates the tabla.

parai. aka: thappu; thapu; dappu.

South Indian circular skin civered frame drum, played with two differnt sized sticks used in both cenemonies and religious ritual.

pinaka; pena; penna

Folk fiddle variously described as having either one or two strings.


A folk drum.

pungi; pongi; panji. aka: murli; been

This is the oft depicted flute of the snake charmer. A double reeded end-blown pipe (oboe-like, double clarinet or shawm) made from a gourd (wild fruit called Tumbda), the body acting as an air reservoir, maintained by circular breathing and exiting through the pipes. Can also refer to any reeded noisemaker.

rabab, rabec, rababa, rababeh, rebab, rebec, rebaba, rabaab, rebeb, rababah, al-rababa, rebap or r'bab. aka: sur-sringara

The most common Arabic two stringed, bowed folk spiked fiddle. In India and Kashmir the rabab is more like a sarod, with one skin covered wooden lower soundbox, a fretless wooden neck, often with more than two strings that are plucked. Contemporary Kashmiri version is called a sur-sringara.


ravanastron; ravanahatha; ravanahatta; ravanhattha; rawanhatta; rawanhattha; ravana hasta veena

Ancient and rare bowed two-stringed folk stick fiddle made from a bamboo post that pierces a coconut shell. Horsehair melody string and a metal drone. Bow had percussive balls attached, Name derived from the demon king Ravana who made the strings from veins from his arm.


Traditional percussion instrument of the Reunion islands in the Indian Ocean, used in Aloya music.


An Asian Indian trumpet.

sankha; sankhu; sankh; shankha

Asian Indian shell (conch or sea snail = turbinella pyrum) trumpet used in both Buddhist and hindu ritual.


Strummed or plucked long necked lute with large skin covered round resonator at the base, played upright, having from 1-8 strings. Usually to accompany devotional song.

santoor; santour; santoor; santur; sanduri; santoor; shatatantri vina; shata tantra veena

Originating in Persia, a North Indian/Kashmiri wooden bodied hammered dulcimer covering two octaves, in the shape of a trapazoid (more squared off than its Persian counterpart), with two bridges. Has 100 or more strings and played with thin, curved walnut mallets. 'Shatatantri veena' / 'shata tantra veena' = 'the hundred stringed lute.'

sarangi. aka + versions:saringda; dilruba; taus; sarinda; jogiya sarangi.

Asian Indian short-necked fretless bowed violin, having 3 or 4 strings, with from 11 - 100 sympathetic strings. Boxy shaped, carved from a single piece of wood (red cedar) and parchment or goatskin covered. Treasured for its ability to mimic the human voice. Name from 'sau' (100) and 'rang' (colors). Jogiya Sarangi is a similar instrument played by wandering mendicants.

sarinda; saringda; saroz

Vertical bowed fiddle originating in Afghanistan, a variant of the sarangi.

sarod; sarode

Small sitar-like Teakwood lute with a long tapered unfretted neck covered with a polished metal plate and two resonators, one large of goatskin covered wood at the base of the instrument, at the opposite end a smaller metal soundbox. There are many variations but a common string configuration of this 17 to 25 instrument is four to five melody strings played with a coconut plectrum (jaba), one or two drone strings, two chikari strings and nine to eleven sympathetic strings.


A version of the sarangi


Vina having 100 strings.


Double pipe used in traditional music, primarily in North Indian folk music.


A conch shell horn.

shehnai; sheh'nai; shahnai, shenai. aka:mangal vadya

Asian North Indian wooden double reed oboe-like (but keyless) instrument, with a flared metal end, with 7, 8, or 9 holes. The instrument is tuned by leaving the last two holes open or filled with wax. The name derives from the Persian Shah' = king, and nai' = flute, literally defining its use at important events and maybe hinting at it's large size. An essential wedding instrument, the emotive quality of the instrument also makes it ideal to accompany love lyrics. Usually paired with another shehnai playing a drone accompaniement. A similar instrument used in accompaniment to create a drone is the 'sur.' Also similiar to South Indian nadaswaram.

shruti; shruti box; sruti box; sruti upanga; shruti petti; sur peti. Aka: harmonium

Small wooden reed instrument pumped by hand like a harmonium to create a drone. Comes with 4 notes that you can combine in 3 ways, with a variety of fixed pitches designed to match those of the tamboura. Electronic version common at concerts these days.

sindhi sarangi; sing

Derived from the sarangi, a stringed instrument from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Bowed, hollow wooden parchment covered body, with four melody strings, 3 gut/q wire and 13 sympathetic strings,

sitar; satar; sundari

Clearly the best known and most used melody Asian Indian instrumet in the West, popularised by Ravi Shankar. Large plucked lute, the hollow body made of teak, having one large and one smaller gourd resonators, with 6 or 7 melody and 9-19 sympathetic strings, 20 adjustable metal frets. A staple of North Indian Hindustani classical music the instrument originated with the tri-tantra veena,name derived from the Persian seh-tar' (three stringed') lute that came to India in the 12c.

sringa; ranasringa; singa; sig, Aka: narsiga; kurudutu; kombu - Indian classical string instrument with 13 sympathetic strings, 6 or 7 melody strings, and a resonant body fashioned from a gourd base. The frets are movable. / summary & The Music of India, p. 127 & Net Indian Music glossat=ry & The Music of India, p. 256 & / Music of India -- Traditional & Classical (Ethnic Folkways, USA, FE 4422, 1954). - / The Music of India, glossary pg 148 - satar - Same as silar. sundari = sitar, pg 107

srutt upanga; sruti upanga. aka: bhazana-sruti, druthi, drone bagpipe; nosbug; moshuq

Asian South Indian oboe-like reeded pipe or shawm, having a kidskin airbag to provide a continuous drone - drone being the primarily purpose.


Pipe variant of the shehnai. Obscure.

surando. sarinda; sind aka: gaz; gazi

Six stringed (five steel, one copper) wooden folk lute from Kutch, played in an upright position with a horehair bow, fiddle shapped with exagerated indents.

surbahar; Sur Bahar or bass sitar

Larger (5-6 ft) and lower pitched than a sitar, this base instrument has fixed frets, 6 plucked metal and 13 sympathetic strings. Flat backed with a gourd resonator, primarily used in Northern Hindustani classical music.


Folk autoharp-like stringed instrument from Rajasthan, now nearly extinct.

surnai; sahnai, sirnai, sarune, shanai, shehnai, shahnai. aka: mangal vadya

Asian Indian folk double reeded pipe or shawm made of horn or wood, having seven finger holes and one thumbhole, with a funnel smaped mouthpiece and a bell shapped endpiece.

surpeti; sur-peti; swar pethi; swar peti; swarpeti; sruti box, or shruti box

A hand pumped keyless reeded harmonium used to provide a drown in Asian north Indian music. Electronic verion common these days.


A folk tamboura in the Punjab. 'drone stick'

sursringar; swarsringar; sur-sringara; surshringar; sursingar - The surpeti, also called swar pethi, swar peti, swarpeti, surpeti, sur peti, sruti box, or shruti box, is an Indian drone instrument. It is a small box whose only function is to provide the drone. There are two, basic forms, one is manual and the other is electronic. The manual surpeti is similar to the harmonium. It is a small free reed organ. However unlike the harmonium, it has no keys, and can play no melody. It is pumped by some small bellows with the hand. In the last few decades, the electronic versions have become very popular. The electronic ones have evolved considerably over the last few years. Original versions were simple analogue devices that tended to drift and were unreliable. However, advances in digital technology have brought them to a very high level of reliability. Today, it is even common for them to give the sounds and character of the tambura. Such versions are even commonly referred to as electronic tamburas. Although the surpeti is common throughout India, their usage differs considerably. Hindustani musicians will regularly use them in practice but usually would not consider bringing them onto the stage. This is in contrast to Carnatic musicians who very regularly use them in stage performances.


Overarching term for any instument acted on by moving air, either blown or pumped.

swarmandal; svaramandala; swarmandal; sur-mandal; surmandal; srimandal; surmanal; svara; svara mandola. aka:satatanri veena; Indian harp; Indian zither

South Indian hammered dulcimer/autoharp/zither mounted on legs, with from 20-40 strings, played with a shell or mallets. Originally called satatanri - veena of 100 strings - primary use is as a drone instrument to accompany vocalists.

tabla; tabi; tabla-bayan

Central and North Indian small drum (approx 10 ht) set played with the hands, composed of a right-hand wooden drum (tabla or dayan) and a larger lefthanded copper drum (baya, bayan, bayan, bhaya; duggi). Each drumhead has two or more cowhide or goatskin layered heads with tuning paste ('siyahi' =rice/flower and iron powder) applied to the center of the drumhead on the dayan, offcenter on the bayan. An inner lining syahi' further adds to its distinctive tonal quality. The most widely known Indian drum due to its accompanyment to sitar music, but tabla prominent in nearly all genres and styles of music. Name derived from an Arabic word, 'tabl,' or drum.Becasuse of the leather heads players are usually Muslims.


Asian Indian cup shaped hand held cymbals.

tanpura; tandoora; tambur; tamboura; tambura; tanbura; tanburah; tamburi; thamboora; thambura; tamboora; tamburica; tamburitza.

An Asian Indian unfretted, long necked, round bodied plucked box/bowl lute having 3 or 4 strings, played in sequence, to creat a drone accompaniment. Made in a variety of sizes and timbers.


Asian Indian thin circular finger drum.


Overarching term for a plucked string instrument. Also name of a tabla bol.


Asian Indian metal trumpet.


Northern Asian Indian boxy fretless stringed violin-like instrument similar to the sarangi. Wiki entry says it has 20 metal frets???

tavil; thavil

Doubleheaded large skin covered Asian South Indian drum carved from a solid block of wood, one head played with hands, other with a stick. Has great volume and used in both religious, folk and Kollywood film music.


Traditional Indian food tray used as a percussion instrument in folk music. Also a primitive friction instrument in the Dangs region/Gujarat, attaching a stick to a bronze thali with wax, then rubbing the stick with the fingers to produce notes, the tray used for amplification.

thanthi panai

Folk pot drum.


A folk instrument made of bamboo.


Name used by the Mappilas of Kerala for the daf/duff drum.

thumbi; tumbi; toombi

Asian Indian one-stringed folk wooden stick fiddle, with a skin covered gourd or wodden resonator, played with a finger and used in traditional Punjabi music, including bhangra.

timila; thimila or paani

Hour glass shaped double-ended calfskin covered friction drum played with the hands from Kerala, India.


Asian Indian one-stringed, bowed, vertical spiked fiddle, made from a skin covered coconut resonator and a long serrated wooden neck.


A snake charmer's reeded pipe - see punji.


Curved metal horn immitating a natural animal horn of the Muria people of Madhya Pradesh, India. The underside usually has small hanging circular pellet or jingle bells. Blowhole is along side, so unusual in that it is blown transversly.


Asian Indian primitive bamboo instrument.


A snake charmer's reeded pipe - see punji.


Asian Indian trumpet.

turtli, tutli

Asian South Indian bagpipe.


Sanskrit word for trumpet.

udukkai; udukai; udaku; udukku

Hourglass shaped double headed talking drum from India. Smallish, South Indian.


Asian Indian goblet drum.


Asian north Indian small Classical kettledrum pair, often used to accompany the sheh'nai.

urumi; urumee

South Indian double-headed skin covered hour-glass drum. Rather than being squeezed, tension/pitch is controlled by sliding metal rings or rope coils along the outside tension ropes.


Hindi word for an instrument. Types are tantu = stringed, susir = wind, avanada = percussion and ghana = gongs, bells and cymbals.


An Asian Indian bamboo flute.


Asian Indian flute.

venu. aka: pullankuzhal; pillana gr_vi; v__uvu

Asian, South Indian side-blown 8 holed bamboo flute, about a foot long and closed at the end. This short high pitched instrument is very expressive and subtle, a mainstay in Carnatic (Karnatic) music.

vichitra veena or vichitr vina

Asian Indian stringed fretless veena, with two large, equal sized gourd (tumba) resonators. Four primary,five secondary and 13 sympathetic strings, along a three foot long neck. The strings are plucked, each finger wearing a fish scale plectrum (mizrab) and sometimes stopped with an egglike glass ball (batta). Used in Hindustani music, often to accompany Dhrupad vocals.

vina; veena; Saraswati veena

South Asian Indian lute older and similar to the sitar, usually played by women. Has a hollow wooden fingerboard with 24 moveable copper frets attached with wax, one large and one small gourd resonators, 4 brass/silver plucked melody and 3 steel sympathetic strings. Usually played flat on the ground, sometimes vertically and sometimes played with a glass ball slide. Term can also describe any stringed instrument.


An Asian Indian bowed fiddle.


A simple one stringed fiddle.