Ek Tara – Stringed Instrument

 Single String Musical Instrument – Folk Music

The Ek Tara is a single string musical instrument. “Ek” means one and “Tara” means String.

Popularity of the Ektara

The Ektara is a very simplistic folk music instrument, most popularly used by Baul Singers in West Bengal. In addition, the Ek tara is also used in countries such as Bangladesh and Egypt, etc.

Other common names of the Ektara are Ektar, Iktar or Gopiyantra.

Look & Feel

There are three main components which make up this simple instrument. These include the spherical head or resonator which may be made of wood, coconut or gourd, a single stretched long string, and its long neck which is made by attaching a split bamboo cane.

The Ektara is played by plucking its solitary string with one finger. There are no frets on this instrument and the tone or pitch may be adjusted by pressing the two halves of the neck together.

The Baul community of singers have made the EkTara synonymous with Baul folk music. It has a very distinctive sound and this form of folk music is easily recognizable.

Different Types of Ek Tara

The different varieties of Ek tara depending on their size includes –

  •     Bass Ek Tara (also called Do Tara)
  •     Tenor Ek Tara
  •     Soprano Ek Tara

Ek Tara Performance

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Sarangi, Indian Stringed Musical Instrument

The Sarangi is a well known Indian Stringed Instrument, one of the oldest of its kind. It is believed that it is the Sarangi which is able to create sounds comparable with and closest to the human voice!

Earlier, the Sarangi was used as an accompaniment instrument used by accompanying singers. However, over the years, the Sarangi has evolved and created its own special position and is used as a solo instrument.

A form of the fiddle, the Sarangi has a large and solid body, usually around two feet long and around half a foot wide carved out from a single block of wood. Its soundboard is made of goatskin and has quite a wide neck with a large peg box. Like most fiddles, the Sarangi too has a waist which is made from a scalloped front. The leather strip at the waist the bridge which in turns holds and supports about 40 strings.

The Sarangi forms an important part of Hindustani Classical Music and there are many talented Sarangi players who have contributed immensely to the world of music.

Here is a list of some of the famous Sarangi Players of India  –

  •     Gopal Misra
  •     Abdul Latif Khan
  •     Shakur Khan
  •     Pandit Ram Narayan
  •     Sabri Khan
  •     Sultan Khan
  •     Ghulam Sabir Khan
  •     Abdul Karim Khan
  •     Ahmed Khan

To Play the Sarangi:

The 3 thick, tight and short strings are stopped without pressing the fingerboard and not with the finger-tips. Rather, they are played with the nails and the skin above it. The remaining sympathetic strings about 35 may be divided into 4 different “choirs”.

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Ukulele, Stringed Musical Instrument

The Ukulele is a four-stringed musical instrument.

Similar in look and feel to the Guitar, the Ukulele belongs to the Guitar family and can also be referred to as a four stringed guitar. Just like the guitar, the Ukulele too is fretted.

Origin of the Ukulele

It is believed that the Ukulele originated in the 19th century. It was brought to Hawaii by the Portuguese and was popularised there in the version known today. The Ukulele is based on the Cavaquinho, a musical instrument of Portuguese origin. Over the years, the Ukulele also became popular in Europe.

Different Types of Ukulele

The Ukulele is available in four sizes –

The Soprano
The Concert
The Tenor
The Baritone

Each of these have 4 strings and different number of frets ranging from 14 to 22.

Famous Ukulele Players & Artists

Some well known Ukulele Players –

  •     Ernest Kaai
  •     Andy Cummings
  •     “King” Benny Nawahi
  •     Eddie Kamae
  •     John Kameaaloha Almeida
  •     Uncle Moe Keale, among others.

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Santur, Santoor – Stringed Musical Instrument

Santur / Santoor

The Santoor, also called the Santur in India was popularised about a half century back by the well known artist Shivkumar Sharma.

It is a stringed instrument – in the shape of a trapeze – box like with a series of strings that pass over 2 or more rows of bridges. These bridges fall on the soundboard. The Santoor in India is more rectangular shaped, thicker and with a number of strings.

Different forms of the Santur have been derived in different parts of the world such as Persia, China, Turkey and Greece etc.

To play the Santur, the player uses a pair of sticks and strikes on the strings.

Here is a list of some of the famous Santur / Santoor players of India  –

* Shiv Kumar Sharma
* Rahul Sharma
* Pashang Kamkar
* Majid Kiani
* Bhajan Sopori
* Manoochehr Sadeghi
* Kourosh Zolani
* Ardavane Kamkar

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Guitar, Popular Stringed Instrument

What is a Guitar?

The guitar is a hugely popular and widely played stringed musical instrument.

There are different varieties of Guitars available including Soft, Folk & Jazz etc. Guitars can be amplified to produce the sound of an electric guitar.

The most recognizable features of a guitar include –

* a flat body
* a long neck
* usually 6 strings
* a fingerboard with frets on it

The guitar strings are plucked using the fingers or a plectrum, also known as the guitar pick.

The plectrum or the guitar pick is usually a small piece of plastic shaped as a soft triangle. The left hand presses the strings on the fret board while the right hand fingers are used to pluck the strings of the guitar.

The vibration of the strings creates sounds and is controlled by the left hand that presses at the fret board.

The combination of the left and right hand at play on the guitar leads to the creation of different sounds which when clubbed together, produce melodies and tunes.


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