Are you curious to see how the ethno-music instruments used by our ancestors look like. Then don't miss an opportunity to visit Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sngrahalaya located at Wellington House, which has put on display more than 105 different kinds of musical instruments, collected from various parts of the country, creating awe and curiosity not only among music connoisseurs but also general public.
Displayed under the theme 'Vaadhya' an exhibition on ethno-music in India, it showcases varieties of Indian instruments used by different communities. The interesting aspect that the musical instruments on display have been collected by the staff of IGRMS over the past three to four decades, touring all across country. They are made of leather, wood, metal and even animal bones and horns.
Each gallery is presented with thematic through its classification, typology and usage. The ethnographic collection have been acquired from all parts of India which include tribal and folk communities.
In all, the Expo is an attempt made to supply the vivid indigenous knowledge system in making of the instruments and belief of the people.
The musical instruments have been categorised as tribal, non tribal, folk, classical and traditional. Some Instruments are shaped as animal heads, monkeys, human, birds, fish, which is drawing curious crowds. Another interesting part of the exhibition is the display of photographaps of the families who donated these instruments, accompanied with a brief description about musical instrument on display.
The collection includes wind instrument, string instrument, conical drums, Changu (single member drums), Nagada, Chorchori, horizontal / vertical drums, Indian classical instruments, ideophonic, mandan (double membrane musical drum), Damuru, Khanjari, Machung among several others.
Percussions such as varieties of bells, plates, pots, rods, rings, and clappers, harps, rattles, which are played by striking, rubbing, shaking, clashing, have been displayed. They are mostly solid in nature, and the ideophonic percussions are rarely tuned once they are created. This apart, varieties of drums such as dhol, nagara, damaru (hour-glass type); Daffli (Circular type), Ghat (pitcher type) are very fascinating. The variations of instrument are purely based on the availability of raw materials and taste of music of the creator.
'This is an attempt to bring the art and craft of India to a single platform to develop a better understanding among the visit about rich of the ethnographic musical instruments of India', said J Vijaymohan, officer in-charge, IGRMS.
V Ashok Vardhan, Museum Associate, IGRMS said that there are more than 1 lakh collections at IGMRS Head Quarters in Bhopal, at and there are plans to host different exhibitions categorising them as north India Collection, North Eastern. Very soon an exclusive lamps collection of Bhopal will be put on display, he added.
The museum which was inaugurated a couple of days ago is receiving good response. Apart from localities, quite a good number of tourists, including foreigners are visiting the museum to have a look of the instruments. Mathieu and Caristine from Canada said that; “We had heard about India's rich heritage and culture. By visiting the gallery, we came to know about the entertainment sources of various communities across country. The description are very helpful for tourists to know about the instrument and communities. Our time in the gallery was well spent.”
“We came to know about different varieties of musical instruments. By having a look at these instruments we can study about culture, tradition, entertainment of the particular community,” says Vanaja another visitor to museum. The exhibition which concludes on November 2017, is open for public from 10 am to 5 pm.
About Wellington House
Wellington House is an important historical monument and a heritage building in Mysuru, constructed 200 years ago. It is one of the earliest structures built for the British officers in Mysuru. It was the head quarters of the early Commissioners of the erstwhile Mysore State.
After the Tippu Sultan's fall, Colonel Arthur Wellesly, who later became the Duke of Wellington lived here from 1799 to 1801 AD. Hence, the building is known as Wellington House. In this two storied building, first floor is an Art Gallery housing the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums Paintings. While, the ground floor houses the IGRMS and SRC which started functioning from 2001 onwards under the Ministry of culture, GOI. Its a national museum works for collection, exhibition and promotion of tangible and intangible cultures of India.
About musical instrument
Horizontally played drums / Horizontal Drums:
Known by various regional names, horizontally played double membrane drums occupy a unique space in the domain of Indian culture. They exist in different forms, shapes and sizes; and play significant role in the traditional functions and rituals of the communities. With the basic use of dug-out logs, hollow earthen body and animal hide a wide range of horizontal drums with ethnic and community representations provide better understanding of the people of India.
Double membrane, conical, semi-conical drums of various shapes and sizes are often played by vertical orientation. Holding position of these drums makes them unique as they are hanged from neck to reach up to the belly and played using sticks according to the drum type Clay, wood, dry gourd and animal hide are the major constituent elements of these instruments.
It is believed that string instruments are originated from the hunting bow. The twangling of bow-string could have suggested its use as tonal adjunct to rhythm. String instruments are of many types and forms but are categorized into two categories – one played with bows and other without bow. A wide range of string instruments and their regional varieties are presented in this exhibition.
Instruments under this category are mostly solid in nature and do not require any tuning once they are constructed. Metal Gongs, Temple bells, Cymbals, Clappers, Musical bowl etc, are some of the glaring examples.
Hour Glass Drums:
Known as Damaru, drum of this kind speaks about the Vedic origin. In Hinduism, the Damaru is known as the instrument of Lord Shiva where as in the Tibetan Buddhism, it is used as instrument in Tantric practices. Even today, the Damaru finds its use among the street charmers for taming monkey. Some communities also use the enlarged versions of Damaru and they are known by different names.
Conical drums are one of the primary drums which are ancient in origin. Vedic literature mentions it as ‘Bhoomi – Dundubi; an earthen pit covered with animal hide and nailed with wooden pegs, where the tail of animal is used as percussion. Commonly known as ‘Nagada or Nagra; these drums were used at one point of time for communicating important messages over considerable distances. It also finds a prominent place in the rituals, marriage, dances and festive occasions.
There is no definite answer on when and how the wind instruments originated. An insight into the academic explanation suggest the possibility that, wind passing through holes bored by insects in bamboo produced whistling sound, suggesting the raise of a primitive wind instrument. From the early reed instruments to the more progressive bone, wooden, metallic trumpets and later to a wide range of advanced finger-hole instruments with harmonic possibilities, one can access the facets of art aesthetic, culture and chaotic expression of human life.
Pena is an indigenous musical instrument used by the Meitei community of Manipur. The earliest record of Pena is traced with mythological origin when ‘Leinung Tharuk Asheiba; the court singer, first introduced this instrument to the Nongda Lairen Pakhangba who is regarded as the first ruling deity of Manipur. Later, the famous minstrel players and successors of the royal guild develop it with proper lyrical notes under the royal patronage. The present exhibit ‘Penao’ is the modern version of traditional “Pena” which was introduced by a musical bond the rhythms of Manipur on 21st January 2007.
Changu is an important single membrane drum used by the Juang tribe of Odisha in their dormitory called Majang. Making of Changu is always associated with the experienced hands of the elderly Juang males as it requires great skill. The long and flat piece of wood is immersed in water to into a circular shape. The goat’s hide is then fitted to the circular frame. The extra skin folded along the flat circumference of the drum is fitted with wooden pegs. These wooden pegs hold the membrane tight laterally and it gives the drum a unique shape which is very peculiar to this tribe.
Indian Classical Instruments:
The origin of Indian Classical Instrument is deeply rooted in Vedic ritual chants. Today, there are two sub-genres of Indian Classical Instrument, one Hindustani classical instrument of North India and the other being, used in Carnatic music the classical tradition of South India. The tradition of Indian Classical instrument was born out of a cultural synthesis of several music traditions including various native folk traditions prevalent in the Sub-continent region. Instruments such as Veena, Santoor, Jaltarang, Rabab, Dilruba, Sarangi, Shehnai, Tabla, Pakhawaj, Sarod and Tambura / Tanpura are among the famous classical musical instruments.
SENTHAK – SENKHA
A decorative metal craft of Manipur
The metal craft of Manipur flourished with royal patronage during 17th century in Manipur. The present exhibition Senthak - Senkha is a decorated tray with fine details of floral rim and crown like lid signifying the prowess and glory of the Manipuri king. The crown like lid symbolises sky and the tray like body is regarded to be the divine representation of Earth. In Manipur, a particular lineage of the Meitei society is specialized in this unique craft. They are confined in the Heirangoithory and Aneibam Leikai of Imphal. Since the beginning of this craft in Manipur.