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AparnaDutta Created By AparnaDutta on 13-Sep-2018 -- 12:11 PM

Folk Instruments in India have been in practice since the inception of civilization. These instruments are called Folk Instruments because they originated amongst the common people or better known as the folk. They have been in usage for traditional rituals like marriage, childbirth, festivals etc. Though the Folk Instruments of India are still prevalent their usage has minimized due to an addition of new instruments.


Here is the list of Top Folk Instruments of India:



Alghoza- The Piper’s Folk Instrument of India


Originating from Sindhi tradition and finding a place in Punjabi and Baloch folk musical genres as well, Alghoza is a flute-like folk instrument of India which comes with a pair of wooden pipes. It is also known as Satara, Do-nalli, Johri.



Chikara- Stringed Folk Instrument


A folk instrument of India from the state of Bengal, Chikara is a bowed stringed instrument. It is similar to playing Sarangi and is used to play for folk music. It is primarily used by the tribal population of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.



Dhadd- Percussion


Also spelled as Dhad or Dhadh, this folk instrument of India is a native to Punjab. It is an hourglass shaped instrument which is majorly used by Dhadi singer i.e. people who sing ballads and also by other folk singers of the region.



Dholki- The two-headed Folk Instrument


Dholki is often confused with Dholak or the Dhol. Dholki is longer and lesser in diameter generally used for high-pitched songs. A unique feature of Dholki is that it lacks exact tuning. It is used in Marathi folk culture especially during performing Lavani.



Dotara- The Multi-stringed Instrument


It comes with two, four or sometimes five strings which resembles the Sarod. It is commonly used in Bengal, Assam, Bihar, and Bangladesh by ascetic cults of Bauls and Fakirs who are traditional folk singers of the region.



Duggi- Double Drummed


Also known as Dukkar or Dugi is in the shape of kettle drum played in a similar technique of the Tabla. It was initially used to accompany in Shehnai Ensembles along with baul music of Bengal/Bangladesh region, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.



Ektara- Single stringed Folk Instrument

This instrument consists of only one string and is a primary traditional instrument used by wandering bards especially in the music of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan. Kirtan chanting also witnesses playing the Ektara by Sadhus or Sadhwis. It is close to another one-stringed instrument called the Kendara.



Ghumot- Goan Folk Instrument of India

A membranophone percussion instrument Ghumot or Ghumat consists of an earthen vessel having both sides open. The bigger side is covered by a leather piece. This instrument finds a place in celebrations during Ganesh Festival in Goa. It is also played to accompany folk music in some parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.



Gogona- The Simplest Folk Instrument

Gogona is the smallest and simplest mouth instrument made out of a single bamboo stick with a split at one end. It is struck by a finger from one end and clutched by teeth on the other. This gives it a springy sound. It is usually played in Bihu songs.



Kanjira- Frame Drum Folk Instrument of India

Belonging to the Tambourine family, Kanjira or Ganjira is used as a folk and bhajan instrument. It is also known as Dubki used in Bengali folk music. Other than this it is widely used in carnatic music.



Khol- Percussion

Also known as Mridang (not to be confused with Mridangam), Khol is a terracotta two-sided drum usually accompanied in devotional music. It has originated from the states of West Bengal, Assam, and Manipur.



Khomok- Another Baul Folk Instrument

Usually associated with Bengali folk music of bauls, sufi saints, Khomok or Gubguba is similar to the Ektara made out of dried gourd with a thin rubber attached at the bottom.



Maddale- The Yakshagana Folk Instrument

Belonging to the state of Karnataka, Maddale is a primary instrument which accompanies the Yakshagana. It looks similar to the Mridangam but it slightly differs in the structure and playing techniques.



Nagada- The Courtroom Folk Instrument

Having a diameter of 1-2 feet, Nagada is a very popular folk instrument of North India. Historically, it was used in courtrooms gatherings or naubhatkhanas. It was also used to make public announcements or signaling the guards.



Pena- Manipuri Folk Instrument

This instrument is widely prevalent in the Meitei community of Manipur. It is a lute which emits a similar sound to that of Sarangi. The major difference is that it has only one string and is played like a Violin. In short, it can be seen as a mix of Ektara, Violin, and Sarangi.



Pepa- Horned Folk Instrument of India

It originated in Assam and is made of a buffalo horn. It is primarily used during Bihu and also to summon Gods as believed by the cults.



Onavillu- Bowed Folk Instrument

Played during Onam in Kerala, Onavillu is a short, bow-shaped instrument. It is made of wood and is also used as an accompaniment in various dance forms of Kerala like Kummattikali.



Ravanhastha- Rajasthani Folk Instrument

Artists of the Nayak tribe are known to play this folk instrument. Made of coconut shells and a string attached to it, it is played using a bow made out of horse hair.



Sambal- Percussion Folk Instrument

Widely used during Ganpati Visarjan, Sambal owes its origin to the western part of India. It consists of a pair of drums which look like Tabla but these are played with two sticks where the sticks are not alike to each other.



Tumbak- Kashmiri Folk Instrument

This instrument though foreign to Indian land is usually found in Kashmir. It originated in Persia and is now widely used in Kashmiri folk music. It is also known as Goblet Drums.


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