Does the musical side of Nepali folk music intrigue you? With the deep roots of their tunes, it’s hard not to wonder what they use to create such melodious sounds. In this post, we scavenged the most famous instruments in Nepali that’ll amaze you!
Every country has a specialty when it comes to their music. With different combinations of musical notes, musicians around the globe can create a beautiful masterpiece. Nepali music, also known as Newar music, is no exception to that. This traditional music connects its people to their roots which are Hindu and Buddhist music, and allows them to appreciate the beauty of their culture.
Moreover, these beautiful tunes won’t be complete without the traditional instruments developed by their ancestors. These amazingly crafted items allow the person playing them to produce melodious sounds. Now, are you intrigued by what these Nepali musical instruments are? Come along as we unravel the magic behind the exquisite music in Nepal!
Amazing Instruments In Nepali
These instruments reflect the deep-rooted traditions and customs of Nepal’s various ethnic groups and communities. They have been passed down through generations, preserving the essence of Nepali culture and identity. Here we collected the most famous musical instruments in Nepali that might interest you.
This traditional Nepali musical instrument is the national instrument in the country. It serves as the spine of several Nepali folk songs. It’s a double-headed drum made of wood and leather. Madal’s one of the most popular and widely used percussion instruments in Nepal, played with both hands. It is commonly used in folk music and religious ceremonies.
Like most instruments in Nepal, a Sarangi also plays a big part in their history. This four-stringed instrument produces a melodious with a bow, and it has a box-shaped vessel. You’ll commonly see natives using this when playing both classical and folk music.
Additionally, people from the Gandarbha caste were the only ones allowed to play this instrument before. They’re a group known as professional musicians in the country. As time went by, people across the nation eventually got the chance to play the instrument, giving them a chance to use it in Nepali film and rock music.
The name of this traditional folk musical instrument has an interesting translation in which ‘Bans’ refer to bamboo while ‘Sur’ means musical note. How creative is that? This bamboo flute works by blowing air to produce sound. What’s even more fascinating about is the way how it’s crafted because the pitch and sound are easily affected by the bamboo’s thickness. It is a simple yet versatile instrument used in various genres of Nepali music, including classical, folk, and devotional music.
Have you ever seen a Dhimay? It’s a large traditional drum crafted using a hollowed tree trunk and animal skin. But in modern times, they are now made of brass and other types of metals. Here’s a fun fact about its name. It evolved from the word Din Di Ma which was a Sanskrit word that translates to “small drum” in English. You’ll typically see it being played with sticks, and it is used in Nepali folk music and cultural dances.
Shehnai is an Indian-originated musical instrument. This interesting piece is crafted from timber, featuring a dual reed adorning one extremity and flared bell made of either metal or wood found on its opposite end. It exudes an aura of sacredness and fortune, believed to cultivate an atmosphere of propitiousness. Now, doesn’t that sound appealing?
Moreover, it’s considered one of the esteemed treasures within the royal court’s musical ensemble, it stands as a testament to the power of its melodious resonance. You may also find it quite similar to Soutn India’s Nadaswaram.
The Damphu is a typical Nepali percussion instrument with a long, cylindrical wooden body. It’s also crafted by stretching leather onto its end. If you visit the country, you’ll find the Tamang people playing it by striking its skin with a hand or small stick. Once you further inspect it, you’ll see its similarities with the tambourine from Western culture.
Have you ever heard of the lamellophone instrument? Interestingly, Murchunga, or Jew’s Harp, is one of the many traditional musical instruments that belong in this category. It’s made up of flexible bamboo or metal reed that’s attached to its frame. To make it produce a sound, you have to pluck its metal wire reed while it’s placed between your teeth. It’s quite an unusual way to play an instrument, but owning one sounds fun!
The most amazing thing about discovering instruments is learning how it differs from one another. Despite having plenty of stringed instruments, Tungna is also considered one of the most popular in Nepal. Most people from the Gurung community use this musical contraption too. This small, fretless instrument is typically made of wood, with two or four strings. While you may often see people use it during folk songs and dances.
9. Panche Baja Musical Family
Now, we’re not just talking about individual instruments. These five musical instruments will surely bring melodious sounds that’ll surely put you in awe. They’re typically used during holy ceremonies and weddings.
- Jhyamta/Jhurma (Cymbal). It’s played by beating both dish-shaped metal instruments with both hands.
- Nagara/Damaha (Drum). This instrument is also made by stretching leather on the ends of a hollow copper bowl played by striking with your hands or sticks.
- Tyamko (Small Drum). This is another percussion instrument that’s quite similar to Damaha but is smaller in size. But unlike its big counterpart, you only use two pieces of stick known as Gajo.
- Sanai (A Type of Clarinet). This Nepali musical instrument is crafted with metal-shaped pipe slightly bent forward and holes. You may play it by blowing air to the reed on its top.
- Narsingha (Trumpet). It’s crafted using two parts of a curved copper tube. You may also play it by puffing air through its mouthpiece.
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