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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Folk Musical Instruments of Nepal


The music which is played during an event like jatras, fairs, festival, ceremony, etc are called folk music. It is also played along with folk songs. Folk music is associated with a particular place, race, religion and culture, etc. Generally, folk musical instruments are made using the locally available materials. Madal, Sarangi, Jhyali, Sankha, etc are some examples of folk musical instruments.
The folk music represents the culture of a certain place and race. Each community has its own culture and tradition, and is associated with its common or peculiar musical instrument s.  Such musical instrument s differ according to the place and caste. Kin and jhyali are the common musical instrument s of the Newar community living in the Kathmandu valley and other cities of Nepal. Yalamber is a popular musical instrument of the Kirants of eastern Nepal. Sarangi is a typical musical instrument of Gandarva community of Pokhara. Damphu is an essential musical instrument of Tamang. Panchai Baja is played by Damai community during the wedding ceremony.

Along with folk songs, various musical instruments are also played in different festivals, jatras and ceremonies in Nepal. Like folk songs, musical instruments also differ according to place, race, religion and culture. A brief introduction of musical instruments played in Nepal.

Madal: It is one of the most popular musical instruments of the Nepalese community. This musical instrument was first used by the Magar community. Later on, it gained popularity throughout the country. It is made by making a hollow (big hole) in a piece of thick log and its both open sides are covered with skin. It is carried around the waist and played by both hands.

Sarangi: It is a traditional musical instrument of the Gandarva community of Kaski district. It is made of Khiri wood. It has four wires and is played by rubbing and bow on the wires. The people of the Gandarva community play the Sarangi along with there own local songs that talk about the various incidents that happened in the country.

Flute(Bansuri/Murali): It is made by making a hole in a small piece of hollow bamboo pipe. It is a popular musical instrument throughout the country. It is played by blowing air with our mouth.

Jhyali/Jhyamta/Jhurma: It is one of the musical instruments of Panchai Baja. It is made of bronze metal. It is played with our both hands.

Narasingha: It is a also one of the musical instruments of Panchai Baja, and is made of copper. It is long and curved like a half circle.

Sahanai: It is also a part of Panchai Baja. It is made of metal and played by blowing air with our mouth.
Nagara/Damaha; It is also one of the musical instruments of Panchai Baja. It is like a Nagara but small in size.

Tyamko: It is made up of large shell of the conch found in the sea and ocean. It is played by blowing air with our mouth. It is played during puja and other religious ceremonies of the Hindus. It is also blown when dead body is taken to the ghat for cremation.

Khainchadi: It is made of wood covered with skin and is played when Roila, Balana, etc songs are sung. It is also played during Bhajan-kirtan by hindus.

Pungi: It is made of coconut shell and a hollow bamboo pipe. It is played in the terai to show the snake dance.

Yalamber: It is made of bamboo with two wires. It is used by the kirant community.

Tunga: This is a popular musical instrument used in the Himalaya region. It is made from rhododendron wood and has four wires like the sarangi.

Ekatare: It is used by the sages and ascetics. It is made of wood, leather and string.

Urni: It is used by the Dhimal community and made of the bark of coconut, skin and stick.

Dhol/Dholak: It is made of wood which is hollow inside and is covered with leather.

Shringinad: It is made of the horn of Krishnasar and is used by the sages.
Phasmuk: It is used in Limbu community and made of three pieces of bamboo.
Dhyangro: It is used by a witch doctor like Dhami-Jhankri and made of wood and leather.
Hudko: It is like a Dhamaru and used in the Mid-western and Far-western regions.
Pung: It is made of the horn of an ox and is popular among the Kirant community of Solu area.
Binayo: It is popular among the Kiranti people. It is made by making a hole in a piece of bamboo and thread is connected to both ends.
Damphu: This musical instrument is used in Tamang community and made by covering the wood with the leather.
Masak: It looks like the Sarangi and is used in Bajhang district.
Dafali: It is used in the terai region of the Mid-west and village in Mithila. It is circular wooden frame with one side covered with leather. It is played during the Holi festival.
Murchung: It is made of iron and it produces the sound like Binayo. It is also popular among the Kiranti people.
Dakkrai: This is used in Mithila area and is made of wood joining six wires.
Irlung Pipari: It is used in Kusunda Community and played by blowing.

Panchai Baja is one of the oldest and unique musical instruments of Nepal. It consists of five different musical instruments. They are: Narasigha, Jhyali, Sahanai, Nagara and Tyamko. It is played in Nepal only so it gives the identity of our country. This musical instrument is played during the wedding ceremony by the Damai community. Such musical instrument is being displaced by the imported band musical instrument in urban areas and is being displaced slowly in rural areas. The following measures should be taken to continue the practice of Panchai Baja in our society.
-      -    The Damai community who are involved in playing this musical instrument cannot earn their living only by playing this instrument so they are diverted in other occupations. Government should make such a provision that this community can earn their livelihood by involving in this profession.

-     -     Panchai Bajas should also be made compulsory during other ceremonies like observing National Days besides wedding ceremony.

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