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chrisitar

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I'm hoping for some help on a little project; I'm trying to make a map of India (South Asia really) showing where various instruments originated or are most prominent. A good example would be that the Taus is located mainly in Punjab. I understand the fluidity of music and the lack of real boundaries and of course there will be exceptions, but there has to be some locational truth about the instruments.

If you had to put a border around where the sitar, sarod, sarangi, veenas, etc are mostly played (or were invented) where would those lines be?

Also, if you could put a point on the map showing where the materials that make up the instruments come from that would be nice too. Example - Miraj = gourds

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David Russell Watson

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Well I'm afraid I can't, myself, answer this question in as much detail as you'd probably like, and I'll refer only to Classical music, as there are so many folk instruments in every region that I know too little about.

The sitar, sarod, sarangi, and N.-Indian bin (tube-with-two-gourds type) are instruments of Hindustani music, and so belong to Indo-Aryan-speaking North India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. If you're including "adopted" instruments, then the harmonium must be mentioned, though the violin has a more marginal presence, as does the modified guitar. A slew of other native Indian instruments sometimes find their way into classical music, but are really rather marginal too, such as the santur, shahnai, jaltarang, etc. The Sarasvati vina, mridangam, ghatam, kanjira, Carnatic tambura, etc., as well as the adopted violin, belong to Carnatic music, based in Dravidian-speaking South India. I'm not sure if the harmonium gets any use in Carnatic classical music (?)

The universality of the two classical systems is such that, within their respective regions, the same instruments are widely used regardless of state or the musician's ethnic community. There are a few differences in the Mysore vina and that of Tanjore, but they're not great. Afghanistan, on the Hindustani side, might be the only major exception, so often including the tanbur, rubab, dilruba, dotar, or sarinda as it does. However Afghanistan straddles the border between Indian music and Persian music.

The micro-regional variation is much greater if you go outside classical music, though, as I say.

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David Russell Watson

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I should add that, if you want to make a serious study of this topic, you should see if your library has The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. There's an article therein on almost every Indian musical instrument you've likely ever heard of, most of them fairly detailed.

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chrisitar

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Thanks for the book info, i'll check my libraries for it. I'm aware of the 'big' splits in Indian music: hindustani/carnatic, and the many folk instruments, I'm just hoping to fill in some gaps that exist spatially. Such as, is there an area in India where certain instruments came to be? Is there also a musical split between eastern and western India? Where do (if now imported: did) the raw ingredients to create the instruments - teak/tun wood, goat skin, gourd, antler, metal for strings, etc. come from? Where were the different genres (eg; Dhrupad) located in India?
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