Many different Punjabi instruments contribute to the unique sound of Bhangra music. Although the most prominent is the Dhol Drum, a variety of string instruments and other drums play key roles in creating the sounds, rhythms and feel.
The Dhol is a drum widely used throughout India but is especially popular in the Punjab region and particularly so among the Punjabi Sikhs of Punjab. The Dhol is most associated with Punjabi music and dance and has remained very popular in modern Punjabi music. The Dhol dates to the 15th century and was probably introduced to the Indian subcontinent from Persia, its popularity from Northern India the Dhol spread to other parts of the Indian subcontinent and the rest of the World.
Bhangra is a lively form of music and dance that originated in the Punjab region in Southeast Asia. While Bhangra began as a part of harvest festival celebrations, it eventually became a part of such diverse occasions as weddings and New Year celebrations. Moreover, during the last forty years, Bhangra has enjoyed a surge in popularity worldwide, both in traditional form and as a fusion with genres such as hip-hop, house, and reggae. As Bhangra continues to move into mainstream culture, an understanding of its history and tradition helps to appreciate it.
The Dholak is a North Indian two-headed hand-drum. It may have traditional cotton rope lacing, screw-turnbuckle tensioning or both combined: in the first case steel rings are used for tuning or pegs a twisted inside the laces.
The dholak is mainly a folk instrument, lacking the exact tuning and playing techniques of the Tabla or the pakhavaj. The drum is pitched, depending on size, with an interval of perhaps a perfect fourth or perfect fifth between the two heads. It is related to the larger Punjabi Dhol and the smaller Dholaki.
Usage It is widely used in qawwali, bhajans, kirtan, and bhangra and often used in Filmi Sangeet - Indian film music.
Harmoniums can produce chords, melody, and drones all at once. They create a warm, rich, natural sound and are easy to play. These features make them the most popular instruments for the accompaniment of any style of classical, devotional, or popular singing in India. Their keyboard makes them perfectly compatible to Western music, too. "Reed organ" or "pump organ", is a keyboard instrument that is a lot like an organ. It makes sound by blowing air through reeds, which are tuned to different pitches to make musical notes. ... This is joined to a mechanism which operates a bellows, sending air to the reeds. The harmonium is not of an Indian origin, although it has been associated with and used in Indian music for a long time. In fact, the Harmonium has its origins in Europe wherein it was used in the churches during the Middle Ages.
The Tabla, certainly the most popular Indian rhythm instrument, is an incredibly versatile pair of two small drums. The bass drum is called Bayan and the wooden treble drum is called Dayan. Traditionally these two are always played in combination. The Tabla is the most commonly played drum set in North Indian music. It is the instrument most frequently used to accompany vocal and instrumental music, and dance; whereas its primary function is to maintain the metric cycle in which the compositions are set. Though the Tabla is essentially an accompanying instrument, the Tabla players are also soloists in their own right, and many have vast repertoires of elaborate compositions handed down orally from generation to generation.
The Tabla takes its name from the tabl of Arabic origin. The general meaning of the term tabl is an instrument facing upwards, with a flat surface.
The modern Tabla has a highly developed technique of playing and in the hands of a master player it is capable of producing almost all the patterns of rhythms and cross-rhythms that a musician can conceive of. The well-established time cycles are rendered in terms of drumming phrases called thekha or measured beat.
The tumbi consists of a wooden staff with a small resonator made of pumpkin and covered by a skin attached to its lower end. At the upper end of the staff, it has a peg which holds a single string. The string is attached to the lower end of the staff and passes over a small bridge on the skin covering the resonator. With the fingers of the left hand, the string can be pressed onto the wooden staff to change the pitch. The tumbi is plucked with upward and downward movements of the right index finger. The other fingers of the right hand hold the tumbi at the staff directly above the resonator.
Alghoza is a pair of woodwind instruments adopted by Punjabi, Sindhi, Kutchi, Rajasthani and Baloch folk musicians. Alghoza consists of a pair of wooden flutes. The Alghoza is also called Jori (a pair) and is played by one person with only three fingers on each side. The folk singers of Punjab use Alghoza in their traditional legend singing like Mirza, Challah, Jugni etc. The instrument is also used as accompaniment with folk dances.
This instrument is a percussive twangs type instrument used in Punjab and neighbouring areas. The tradition of playing it with songs goes back to the Naths or Jogi’s. 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 for producing tinkling sounds. Chimta has become popular in professional singing and devotional music in temples.
A type of clapper, this instrument is seen only in Punjab. It is used in dances such as Giddha, bhangra and luddi. It is made on the same lines as the cane snake, sap, a popular children's toy. Whereas the toy uses cane, the chikka sap is made of wooden sticks about a foot long and an inch wide.
This simple earthen pitcher serves as a musical instrument in a number of folk songs. The Gharah player strikes its sides with rings worn on fingers of a hand and also plays on its open mouth with the other hand to produce a distinct rhythmic beat..
The Bugchu is a simple, single-note string instrument; the bowl may be made from a whole gourd or wood covered with skin. Into this soundbox is set a long stem on which the string is stretched. One type of Bugchu has a thick string with a weight attached stretched from the middle of the gourd.
Sarangi is a popular bowed instrument in Punjab. It is about 24 inches long wooden instrument cut from a single log covered with parchment. A bridge is placed on the belly in the middle. The sides of the sarangi are pinched so as to bow it. This instrument usually has three major strings of varying thickness, and the fourth string is made of brass, used for drone.
This is the snake-charmer's pipe. It consists of two pipes (a drone and a chanter) made of wood, bamboo, or metal set into a gourd. The player blows into a large opening in the narrow portion of the gourd and fingers the apertures on chanter (called the dandi) to produce the melody. Some Beens do not have these apertures. Two human hairs are inserted in the pipes and attached with wax. This is a trick developed by the Been players to add a hissing, snake-like sound to the instrument. Typically, the Been is decorated with strings of cowri shells looped over the gourd and hanging down like tassels. Stamina and breath control are needed to become a skilled been-player.