Music is an integral part of Nepalese culture and religion. There are about 120 ethnic groups in Nepal and almost every ethnic group has its own unique instruments. However, there are a few common traditional instruments that are very popular and are still a part of their everyday lives. These musical instruments are used for different purposes like religious ceremonies, marriage, festivals, and other important events of each ethnic group.
Nepal has an abundance of folk musical instruments that are as yet a part of people’s everyday lives and these instruments bear a long history that represents the cultural prosperity of the nation.
Such handmade Nepali musical instruments contrast as per place, caste, religion, and culture and are frequently used in various cultural ceremonies like weddings, celebrations, customs, and other important cultural functions. These typical Nepali instruments remind us about the commitment of people towards a musical and spiritual life, signs of creativity and originality, and showcasing connections between different cultures. Sarangi, Jhyali, Madal are some of the examples of Nepali musical instruments.
Here is everything you need to know about Nepali folk musical instruments:
Another popular type of string instrument is Sitar. The strings of the sarangi are similar to Guitar strings. Tune is additionally controlled using fingertips to press the lines, same as Bass Guitar. The playing technique is also similar except that Acoustic Guitar and Electric Guitar are played with the help of a Guitar pick, whereas Sitars are played with fingertips, just like a Bass Guitar.
A Bansuri or the Bamboo flute is a traditional Nepali musical instrument that is made from a hollow bamboo shaft. Basically, it is a cylindrical tube made from a single bamboo shaft that produces a melodious sound. The instrument is commonly known in Nepal as Murali and in other parts of the world, it is known as a Flute. Bansuri has six to eight open finger holes for creating music tones. It is believed that the instrument originated at the time of Lord Krishna.
The Madal is the ancient musical instrument of Nepal and was first introduced by the Magar community in Nepal. Basically, it is a drumming instrument that produces a sound like Tabala. It is a typical Nepali musical instrument that is used on various occasions like marriage ceremonies, parades and Nepali festivals. Madal is made of wood and has a cylindrical body. The two sides have an opening which is covered by twofold layered goat-skin and a dark glue made of flour. Madal is played by hand. For a rough estimation of its most basic size, one can visualize a Madal to be about 16″ long, 5″ in diameter and 1.5 kg in weight.
Dhimay is the most popular Nepali instruments among the Newar community of Nepal. It is one of the oldest musical instruments among the membranophones. It is believed that the instrument originated at the time of Lord Mahadeva. But there is no proof to support that the instrument dates back to the Kirat period.
Murchunga is a Nepali folk musical instrument, which comprises of flexible metal or bamboo tongue or reed attached to a frame. The sound produced by this instrument is similar to that of Binayo, which is also another typical musical instrument of Nepal. This unique musical instrument is popular among kiranti people and played by plucking its metal wire reed with a forefinger being gripped between the teeth. The volume of the note can be varied by breathing in and out.
The Panche Baja is a traditional musical instrument that consists of 7 different musical instruments. These instruments are played in marriage ceremonies and other auspicious occasions. This instrument is a combination of Tyampo, Dholaki, Damaha, Sahanai, Karnal, Narsimha, and Jhurma. Panche Baja that once gave an interesting and rich character to Nepal’s society music is currently in a tough situation because of the expansion of Western and Indian musical instruments. If these instruments are supported, they could be famous musical instrument again.
The Damaru is a small drumming instrument made of wood and leather. Calfskin is used on the drum heads. It likewise has two beads attached to the midriff of the drum. To play the damaru, you over and over shake your wrist and the two beads produce the sound as they hit the two ends of the drum. The instrument also has a religious value and is used in hindu rituals. It is believed that the lord Shiva created the sounds of the Sanskrit language from the Damaru’s drumbeats.
The Dhyangro is also a percussion instrument used by the faith healers Dhami or Jhakri for venerating or treating people. It is made of empty wood by extending goat-skin both of its edges and played with a bended piece of wood called Gajo. Dhyangro is particularly utilized those of the Magar’s, the Kirati, the Tamang and by Tibetan Buddhist artists.
Jhyali is another traditional percussion instrument from Nepal. They comprise of a couple of round, metal plates, looking like cymbals, and are used in Nepali folk music. These percussion instruments are made by a Nepali alloy that is called Pancha dhatu, which means five metals. The combination comprises of metal, copper, silver, zinc, and gold, and are generally made by Blacksmiths. Dissimilar to most percussion instruments, the Jhyali is played by rubbing the plates with the correct hand rising and the left hand plummeting when they strike each other.
It one additionally quite possibly the most mainstream customary instruments that comes from the way of life in the Mountains. It is a type of string instrument and is made from a single piece of wood that comes from a rhododendron tree. It has four strings like that of Sarangi and the playing technique is similar to that of a guitar. The only difference is that it has no straps.
These are only a few of Nepali folk musical instruments. Apart from these instruments, there is an entire array of musical instruments played by the different indigenous tribes in Nepal, which are not included in this article. All these folk musical instruments have played a very significant role is preserving these cultures and rituals since centuries.
If you want to know furthermore about the traditional Nepali musical instruments, follow us, we have some interesting stuffs about Nepalese music, arts and crafts. If you want to know these instruments personally, you can buy these musical instruments online.
The musical instruments that we have here are handcrafted by our artisans who are themselves a part of different cultural groups performing during several religious events.