Lesser Known Music Instruments of India - Localturnon Blog

Lesser Known Music Instruments of India

Posted On:02.17.2017

India has a history of vibrant culture. And music, Music Instruments being an integral part of our culture has had really strong roots in India. Same is true with Music Instruments. But unfortunately, some get lost in the wheel of time. Here’s a list of some such Instruments that are so beautiful, yet so little heard or seen. They are our Lesser Known Music Instruments of India



This wind instrument has a shape true to the meaning of its name – snake hood and is linked to Lord Shiva. It is made of brass tube with a serpent shaped head. It is commonly associated with tantrik or mantrik rituals. This is mainly found in Gujarat and Rajasthan.


Also known as Morsing (English: Jaw Harp) this comes under the Autophonic musical instruments category. It is played mainly in Rajasthan, in Carnatic music and also in Sindh (Pakistan). This tiny instrument is made of wrought iron. It can make many patterns of rhythm and sound when played using mouth and one hand. The player hold this Iron made little instrument on his lips and strikes the rid by the finger or thumb to produce the sound. Interestingly it has also featured in some popular Bollywood songs.


This rather ancient musical instrument is found mainly in Manipur and parts of Bangladesh. Probably the most organic instrument, it is made of a bamboo rod attached to a coconut shell that is dried and is made in the shape of a drum. A string made of horse tail is fastened from end of bamboo road over drum and is played with a rod.


The Taus (persian) or the Mayuri (hindi) meaning peacock is string instrument and was immensely popular in the 19th century. It has a wood body carved and decorated to look like a peacock with feathers. It is associated with Goddess Saraswati.


Also called as Vil Yazh, this was a harp tracing back its use in Tamil Music and is considered an ancestor of the modern day veena. It looks like a bow and is considered to be one of the sweetest instruments. The reference of this instrument can be found in many ancient literature works.


A Guru Arjun Dev design and creation, this is a stringed instrument found in Punjab, parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan and is associated with the folk music in these areas. It is a bowed instrument with three main gut strings and 30 sympathetic strings. The hollow sound box in the centre is what creates its signature sound.


A string instrument (six playing strings and 15 resonance strings) which is found in many parts of India from Bengal to Northern & Central States is considered to be a relatively younger viz. 300 years old compared to the traditional / ancient instruments. It is used in playing light religious and classical songs.


Bulbul (nightingale) and Tarang (tunes or waves) is what defines this as “waves of nightingales” instrument. It is a string instrument which has been evolved from the Japanese instrument taisho Koto. The adaptation is believed to have taken place somewhere around 1930’s in South Asia. It has keys similar to a piano keyboard but look more like the keys of a typewriter.


Sur or Melody and bahar or Spring ie. “Surbahar” is at times also known as the bass sitar. It is a string instrument which is used in classical music in the North of India. It is similar to a sitar and produces a sond much like the veena.

As Indians make huge strides in areas of Innovation, Technology, Business we hope that Performing Arts / Music as a profession will also get its due. We need to be conscious of the rich heritage and culture that we have inherited through the ages in the form of our Music and Music Instruments. Agreed that with time newer forms, popular forms will gather more eyeballs – be it in the Music Reality shows, the contests or even the centres that teach the staple form of western and popular Indian Classical Music, but we can do our bit to encourage and partner with those who still hold on to the legacy and are trying to nurture the art forms being passed on from generations. Highlighting them through articles is just a small step towards making the public at large aware of these lesser known Music Instruments of India lest we forget about them totally.

As we at Localturnon say “Turn On Music || Turn on Happiness || Turn on Life!”

And for all those popular Music Instruments like the Guitar, Drums, Keyboard, Flute, Piano et all you can visit www.localturnon.com and search your centre by distance, service, price, timings, reviews, off days, catering to and more


Acknowledgement: Inputs by Poornima Venugopalan (Ahmedabad)