Indian Musical Instruments J-R

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This is by no means a fully comprehensive list, but Indian music would include many of the items on the list below;-

Further lists on our A-H and S-V lists.

Jal tarang

Jal tarang.jpg

Also known as - jaltarang, jal-tarang, jal-yantra, jalatarangam or jalatharangam.

It is an Indian melodic percussion instrument, which consists of a set of ceramic or metal bowls tuned with water. The bowls are played by striking the edge with beaters, one in each hand.



Also known as - kanjira, khanjira, khanjiri or ganjira.

It is a South Indian frame drum, an instrument of the tambourine family.

As a folk and bhajan instrument, it has been used for many centuries. It was modified to a frame drum with a single pair of jingles by Manpoondia Pillai in the 1880s, who is credited with bringing the instrument to the classical stage.

It is used primarily in concerts of Carnatic music (South Indian classical music) as a supporting instrument for the mridangam.



Also known as - mrdanga in the Odia language (literally - "mrit+anga" = "clay limb") or mridôngo (Bengali: মৃদঙ্গ) (not to be confused with mridangam)

It's a terracotta two-sided drum used in northern and eastern India for accompaniment with devotional music (bhakti). It originates from the Indian states of West Bengal, Assam and Manipur. The drum is played with palms and fingers of both hands.



A traditional double reed wind instrument used in the south Indian state of Kerala. It is similar in construction to a nagaswaram or a large shehnai, and has a very shrill and penetrating tone.

Kuzhal is primarily used as an accompaniment for chenda-led ensembles Panchari Melam and Pandi Melam, where the piper plays the anchor role. However, as prelude to melams, it is also used to present solo concert (with a couple of accompanying instruments), in which case it is called Kuzhal Pattu.

The instrument has a wooden body with a conical bore, at the end of which is affixed a brass bell. The player, who is almost always male, blows through a double reed and closes small holes with both hands.



Mainly for rhythm-keeping in Nepalese folk music

One of the most popular and widely used hand drums in Nepal. The Madal consists of a cylindrical body with a slight bulge at its center and heads at both ends, one head larger than the other.

It is usually played horizontally in a seated position, with both heads played simultaneously.



A percussion instrument from India of ancient origin. It is the primary rhythmic accompaniment in a Carnatic music ensemble, and in Dhrupad, where it is known as Pakhawaj.



Alternative spelling; nadhaswaram, nagaswaram, nadhaswaram or nathaswaram

It is a double reed wind instrument, traditionally a classical instrument used in Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala.

This instrument is "among the world's loudest non-brass acoustic instruments", a wind instrument similar to the North Indian shehnai but much longer, with a hardwood body and a large flaring bell made of wood or metal.

In Tamil culture, the nadaswaram is considered to be very auspicious, and it is a key musical instrument played in almost all Hindu weddings and temples of the South Indian tradition. It is part of the family of instruments known as mangala vadya.

The instrument is usually played in pairs, and accompanied by a pair of drums called thavil.


It can also be accompanied with a drone from an instrument similar to an oboe called the ottu.



Also known as - pakhawaja or mridang, it is an Indian barrel-shaped, two-headed drum, a variant and descendant of the older mridang.



Also known as - pamba (Tamil: பம்பை).

It's a pair of cylindrical drums used in temple festivals and folk music in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, India.

There is a community in southern Andhra who specialize in playing this instrument: the Pambalas. This unit of two drums is held near the waist of the player or put on the floor, and beaten with sticks, or with a hand and a stick. In the simpler varieties, both drums are made of wood, but there is a pambai in which one drum is of wood and the other of brass: the wooden one is known as veeru vanam and the metal drum as vengala pambai. The pambai is played in the traditional ensemble naiyandi melam.



Also called the been (बीन), it is a wind instrument played by snake charmers on the Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a mouth-blown air reservoir made from a gourd, which channels air into two reedpipes.

The pungi is played with no pauses, with the player employing circular breathing. The pungi originated in India and is still played by snake charmers in street performances.



Variant names would be; ravanhatta, rawanhattha, ravanastron, and ravana hasta veena.

It is an ancient bowed, stringed instrument, used in India, Sri Lanka and surrounding areas. It has been suggested as an ancestor of the violin.


Rudra veena

Rudra veena.png

Also spelled; rudra vina, it is a large plucked string instrument used in Hindustani classical music, one of the major types of veena played in Indian classical music.

Indian Musical Instruments A-H

Indian Musical Instruments S-V