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Musical Instruments

Many ancient stone statues and other evidences show that Nepali music was alive even before the Kirant and the Licchavi dynasties. 7th century inscriptions show the existence of a well-organized musical team (orchestra) even during that era.

There are many musical instruments most of which are made with the help of local resources. Nekoo, made of the horn of a water buffalo, is believed to scare evil spirits once played. The Panche Baaja is a group of musical instruments without which no Nepali wedding is said to be complete. It comprises of five instruments played together, they are:

Shehnai - It makes a wailing sound, which is very moving.

Nagara or tyamko - It is a single headed round drum made of animal skin played with two sticks.

Karnal - It is curled up and produces a piercing and powerful sound.

Damaha - It is a small single-headed drum with a sharp sound. 5. Jhyali- These are a pair of small bars which gives a tolling sound when played by hitting against one another.

OTHER IMPORTANT NEPALI INSTRUMENTS ARE:-

  • Dhime - This is a double-headed cylindrical drum with a big wooden body. Its right side is beaten with a light cane and the left is beaten with the hand of the player. It is widely used by the Jyapu`s (farmers) of Kathmandu on festive occasions.

  • Nayekhin - it is a samll double headed drum with a sharp sound. It was used to attract public attention to announce important news.

  • Madal - This is the most popular and widely used drum in Nepal. It is made of leather with a wooden body. Most Nepali folk songs are accompanied by the playing of this drum.

  • Sarangi - This is a seven stringed musical instrument produced and played by Gaines (professional folk singers of Nepal).

  • Dholak - This is a double headed drum widely used in the Terai part of Nepal for public fairs and festivals.

  • Mridang - This is a very ancient double headed drum with a very heavy wooden body. It produces a gentle and pleasant sound.

  • Shahnai or Mridang - It is like a small trumpet and it makes a wailing sound, which is very moving. It is used for many religious ceremonies.

  • Damphu - this is a double- sided disk shaped drum topped with leather and with a long wooden handle. It is played with great zeal with jumping and leaping in the air.

  • Pongah - This is about 6 ft long and is made of copper with intricate carvings and art-work on it. It is used mostly by Buddhist monks and is somewhat similar to a Karnal.
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