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Er.Ramandeep Singh Brar

punjabi vaaje(folk instruments)

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Folk Instruments

The simple earthen pitcher serves as a musical instrument in a number of folk songs. The Garah player strikes its sides with rings worn on fingers of one hand and also plays on its open mouth with the other hand to produce a distinct rhythmic beat.

Toomba is a famous folk instrument of Punjab, which is entirely based on Iktara (single stringed instrument), used by the legend singers. Now it's been adopted by a number of Punjabi folk singers. Toomba is made of wooden sticks mounted with a Toomba or wooden resonator covered with skin. A metallic string is passed on a resonator over a bridge and tied to the key at the end of the stick. The string is struck with a finger or sometimes with the Mizrab, and the Swaras are made by pressing the string to the stick.

Dhol is a favourite folk instrument of Punjab. It is a percussion instrument, which is used not only at male dance performances but also during social rituals and festive celebrations. The drummer is called Dholi or Bharaj. The dhol is a barrel-shaped wooden drum with a mounted skin on both sides. It is played with two different types of wooden sticks. The skin on either side is tightened at a different pitch.

Dhad is a small percussion instrument of the Damru style. Held in one hand, it is struck on either side, with the other hand holding the skinned sides vertically or horizontally. This instrument has been very popular with the Dhadies, who sing traditional ballads of brave warriors and heroes drawn from history.

This is a percussion twang-type instrument used in Punjab and neighbouring areas. The tradition of playing it with songs goes back to the Naths or Jogis. This instrument consists of two long, flat pieces of iron with pointed ends, and rings mounted on it. The joint is held in one hand, while the two parts are struck with each other to produce tinkling sounds. Chimta has become popular in professional singing and devotional music in temples.

Sarangi is a popular bowed instrument in Punjab. It is wooden instrument about two feet long, cut from a single log covered with parchment. A bridge is placed in the middle. The sides of the Sarangi are pinched so as to bow it. The instrument usually has three major strings of varying thickness, and the fourth string is made of brass, used for drone. Modern sarangis contain 35-40 sympathetic strings running under the main strings. This is used for accompaniment by artists and is an ideal instrument for producing all types of Gamks and Meends.

This is a stringed instrument made of dried gourd (Ghia). A piece of skin is mounted on one side of the hollowed gourd while the other side is kept open. A gut string (Tand) is crossed through the centre of the skin and a small piece of wood is tied to the end of the string, which passes through the body of the gourd. To maintain a drum-like rhythm, the string is stretched or loosened while playing.

Algoza consists of a pair of wooden flutes. It is also called Jori (a pair) and is played by one person using only three fingers on each side. Folk singers of Punjab use this in their traditional legend singing like Mirza, Chhalla, Jugni etc. The instrument is also used as accompaniment with folk dances.