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On Display in the NMM's Beede Gallery
NMM 1188. Drum (tabla/dayan), northern India, late 19th century. Cylindrical wood body with an animal-skin head attached with rawhide lacing. Traditionally, a paste made of water, flour, soot, iron dust, and other materials (a rubber pad is a contemporary substitute) is applied to the head to focus the sound, allowing for a variety of pitches and tones in the hands of a skilled player. Played as a set with NMM 1189 (below), the tabla (a term referring to the set) provides the main rhythmic accompaniment for North Indian (Hindustani) classical music, Indian film music, folk, and devotional music in India, Pakistan, and other areas in Southeast Asia. Ex coll.: Rev. Emmons E. White (a missionary in Manamadura, South India, during W.W. II). Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.
NMM 1189. Drum (bayan), northern India, late 19th century. Copper, bowl-shaped body with an animal skin head attached with cord lacing. While the dayan (NMM 1188, above) is played by lightly touching different points on the head to produce different pitches, notes on the bayan are created by using differing pressure and placement of the hand on its head. The bayan is roughly an octave lower in pitch than the dayan. Ex coll.: Rev. Emmons E. White, Manamadura, South India. Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.
NMM 1190. Barrel drum (mridangam), southern India, early 20th century. A double-headed drum used in Carnatic music and to accompany dancing. According to Hindu mythology, the mridangam is the invention of the god Brahma ("The Creator"). Jackwood body with two drumheads tuned in octaves. The right head is made of three layers: the siyahi (a mixture of rice, manganese dust, iron filings and other substances) forms the "black eye" in the center; the base layer of leather is traditionally made from monkey skin; and the rim, or kinnara, of bull hide. The right side is designated the female voice, while the left is the male. Ex coll.: Rev. Emmons E. White, Manamadura, South India. Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.
NMM 2421. Serpentine horn (ranasringa), India, 19th century. A two-piece, S-shaped horn of hammered copper, with an integral mouthpiece. Embellished with red paint and varnish. Played above the player’s head with the bell pointed forward. Board of Trustees, 1978.
NMM 7053. Serpentine horn (ranasringa), India, ca. 1900. A two-piece, S-shaped horn of hammered copper, with a brass mouthpiece. Embellished with red paint and varnish. Used as a signal horn for heralding dignitaries, signaling the sunset, and controlling livestock on the way to market. Also played for processions, temple services, marriages, and funerals. Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Collection, 1999.
NMM 1234. Serpentine horn (nagfani), Gujarat or Rajasthan, India, 20th century. Brass tubing with flared copper bell, stylized serpent head. Bearded man in repoussé on upper portion of bell. Used by holy men (sadhus) of India during ritual ceremonies; also, by story tellers and street performers. Its name literally means "snake hood." Collected in 1949 by Lowell Thomas, the adventurer and journalist, when he made his famous trek from India across the Himalayas at Nathu-La, a 14,800' pass, to the Tibetan plateau and on into the holy city of Lhasa. On the return trip, he was thrown from his horse and fractured his hip, but survived. Later, he sent the instrument to Arne B. Larson, who had written to Thomas before he left, asking him to bring an instrument back. Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.
NMM 2903. Long-necked lute (mayuri), India, 19th century. A peacock-shaped, bowed instrument that was popular in the Indian courts of the 19th century. Moveable, arched metal frets and parchment belly. Wood body carved and decorated to represent a peacock, including an actual peacock bill and feathers. The mayuri, or peacock, is a symbol of India; it is associated with Saraswati, the goddess of music; and, is also a symbol of courtship. Sixteen frets, four melody strings, and fifteen sympathetic strings. The mayuri is tuned and played like the esraj from which it is derived. Ex coll.: Clifford A. Allanson, Delmar, New York. Purchase funds gift of Lydia and Edwin Downie, Hamilton, New York, 1981.
NMM 1186. Long-necked lute (tambura), southern India, ca. 1900. Tanjore-style instrument used in Carnatic music. Body of jackwood with ivory trim. Four strings plucked individually to create a drone. Ex coll.: Rev. Emmons E. White, Manamadura, South India. Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.
NMM 1812. Long-necked lute (sitar), northern India, ca. 1900-1970. Hollow neck with nineteen movable metal frets attached to a gourd resonator. Eighteen strings: four melody strings strung over the fretboard, three rhythm strings on the right side, and eleven sympathetic strings under the frets. The rounded frets allow the melody strings to be pulled up a perfect fifth in pitch on each fret; an important technique in sitar playing. Another demanding technique is the use of the rhythm strings, which are played, in addition to the melody strings, at extremely high speeds, in a wide variety of rhythmic patterns. The characteristic sound of the sitar is a result of the "buzzing" caused by the specially shaped bridge, the jawari, and the ringing of the sympathetic strings, which are tuned to the notes of the piece being played. The sitar is one of the predominant instruments in Hindustani music. Board of Trustees, 1977.
NMM 2405. Long-necked lute (mandar bahar), by H. Muntz, Bengal, India, 20th century. Essentially a bass esraj, but played in a standing position, similar to the Western double-bass. Used in modern Indian orchestras. Wood body with a parchment belly, seventeen movable frets, four principal strings (one for melody and three for drone), and fifteen brass sympathetic strings. Board of Trustees, 1978.
NMM 2406. Long-necked lute (Saraswati veena), southern India, early 20th century. Stringed instrument used in Carnatic music. In Hindu mythology, Saraswati, goddess of learning and music, is shown playing the veena. Consequently, this instrument traditionally features a depiction of Saraswati on the belly. Body carved from a single piece of jackwood, making it a highly valued ekavada veena. Seven strings (four for melody and three for rhythm) with twenty-four frets. Traditionally, camel bone is used for the inlay. The veena is played either as a solo instrument; in an ensemble with mridangam, tambura, and violin; or, as an accompaniment to the voice. Board of Trustees, 1978.
NMM 2404. Long-necked lute (esraj), northern India, ca. 1950. Used in the Bengal area of India. A bowed instrument combining attributes of a sarangi and a sitar. Played in a sitting position with the neck extending over the player’s shoulder. Used for vocal accompaniment or solo playing. Wood body with a parchment belly, nineteen movable frets, four principal strings (one for melody and three for drone), and fifteen sympathetic strings. Board of Trustees, 1978.
NMM 1187. Short-necked lute (sarangi), northern India, 19th century. A concert sarangi used to play Hindustani classical music. The performer sits cross-legged on the floor with the instrument held vertically in front of the player. The strings are stopped laterally with the fingernails of the left hand. Three gut, melody strings with two rows of sympathetic strings. Ornamented with bone trim and stylized flowers. Ex coll.: Rev. Emmons E. White, Manamadura, South India. Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.
NMM 2605. Short-necked lute (sarinda, saroz), Bengal, India, late 19th century. This simple bowed instrument, with three gut strings and no sympathetic strings, is a more typical sarinda than NMM 3078 (below). The stylized peacock on the neck is a motif characteristic of Bengal. Board of Trustees, 1979.
NMM 3078. Short-necked lute (sarinda, saroz), northern India, late 19th century. Bowed, vertically-held folk instrument played throughout northern India, southern Afghanistan, and south Asia. Elaborate, hand-painted flowers and leaves on body. Carved from a single block of wood with separate fingerboard, neck, incurved sides, and skin belly. Three principal gut strings, seventeen brass and steel sympathetic strings (similar to the strings that sympathetically vibrate on the European viola d'amore and the Norwegian hardingfele). Board of Trustees, 1982.
NMM 2403. Short-necked lute (sarangi), northern India, early 20th century. A bowed, vertically-held instrument carved out of a single block of wood with a parchment belly and a separate fingerboard. Three gut melody strings and three wire sympathetic strings. The pinched body helps facilitate bowing. This instrument was used by a beggar musician and shows many make-shift repairs. Board of Trustees, 1978.
NMM 2326. Ankle rattles (ghunghroo), Rajasthan, India, 19th century. Made of cast bronze with four metal pellets inside each rattle. Used primarily by the Nautch (female dancers who perform in Hindu temples) as an integral part of their dance form. Worn around the ankles, the ghunghroo articulate dance steps and heighten rhythmic intensity. Symbolic of the sacredness of dance and music, as well as the dancing profession. Board of Trustees, 1977.
NMM 1527 a/b. Rattles (kartal), Uttar Pradesh, India, late 19th century. A pair of wooden rattles with flat, brass jingles. Embellished with brass studs and stylized bird figures. Used to accompany religious singing and some stringed instruments. Board of Trustees, 1977.
NMM 1191. Shawm (nagaswaram or nagasuram), southern India, ca. 1900. Double-reed instrument with a rosewood body and wood bell. In south Indian classical music (Carnatic), the nagaswaram is played along with the ottu (see NMM 1192, below). The instrument has seven finger holes, five tuning holes, and a range of two-and-a-half octaves. The player can create semi- and quarter-tones by adjusting lip pressure and the air-flow into the pipe. The nagaswaram and ottu are considered to be mangala vadya, or auspicious instruments. Ex coll.: Rev. Emmons E. White, Manamadura, South India. Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.
NMM 1192. Shawm (ottu), southern India, ca. 1940. Carnatic drone instrument played along with the nagaswaram. A double-reed instrument with a rosewood body and a wood bell. The reed of both the ottu and nagaswaram is made from a flattened piece of aquatic grass found on the banks of the south Indian Kaveri River. The ottu and the nagaswaram are played at temples, for marriages, and at festivals. Ex coll.: Rev. Emmons E. White, Manamadura, South India. Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.
NMM 5267. Stick zither with gourd resonators (rudra vina or bin), northern India, early 20th century. Tubular body of cane or bamboo with twenty frets attached with a mixture of resins and beeswax. Four strings over the fretboard and three drone strings. The bin was one of the main instruments of Hindustani music from the 16th to the late 19th century and examples are depicted in iconography as early as the 5th century. It is especially suited to playing Dhrupad, a slow, meditative style of music. This particular bin was played by Ustad Usman Khan (1915-ca. 1976), a musician in the court of the Maharaja of Indore. Purchase funds gift of Tom and Cindy Lillibridge, Bonesteel, South Dakota, 1992.