What Are The Classical Musical Instruments In India?

Many factors make Indian music highly unique and exclusive. One of the elements is the list of instruments that are used in the Indian classical music. There many classical musical instruments, which are purely native to Indian. Most instruments have purely originated in India, while some have been derived from the foreign countries. In this article, we are going to briefly see some of the favorite instruments of Indian classical music.


This is called the mother of instruments, and it is used in both form of Indian classical music namely – Karnatic and Hindustani. This is a string instrument, where the sound is made by plucking the strings. About 4 to 5 strings are used in this instrument and they are used to produce continuous drone sound. Each string can be tuned to produce specific note (such as Sa or Pa or Ma, etc). This instrument is not used to play a tune or melody, but to produce a sound of a specific pitch.

The vocal performers set the tanpura according to their convenient pitch or scale throughout their singing session. Though this instrument is easier to play than other classical instruments, tuning the strings is the difficult job. It is said that tuning the tanpura requires lots of expertise and this is the reason why many people prefer harmonium or electronic tanpura for producing drone sound or sruthi.

The tanpura used by males have thick strings, which can produce the deep bass voice that is close to the male singers, while the tanpura used by the female singers have relatively thinner strings that produce sharp, high pitched tone of female voice.

These days, smaller tanpura are getting popular as they are easy to carry and learn for the beginners. Tanpura is made of carved wood and they usually measure anywhere between 1 to 1.5 m.


This is a wind instrument that is popular in North India and more associated with Hindustani music. This instrument is often seen in wedding, temple rituals and other auspicious occasions. This instrument comprised of wooden tube-like stricture with holes. The swaras are produced by simultaneously blowing at one end of the instrument and blocking the holes.


This is a string instrument that is very popular in South India and is associated with Karnatic music. This instrument is considered to be one of the oldest instrumentss as one can this instrument being depicted in medieval arts of India. Some of the forms of veena are Saraswathi veena, vichitra veena and rudra veena.


Tabla is a drum instrument that is used to create rhythm. It is said that table was invented by splitting the phakhawaj into two pieces. The two pieces of table is called as Dayan and Bayan. The sound is created by hitting the leather surfaces with the fingers and the palm is used occasionally.


Though this instrument has become an integral part of Indian classical music, this instrument was actually evolved from organ, which is used in western countries and church. Harmonium is used as an accompanying instrument by the Hindustani singers and this instrument produces the sound that matches close to the human voice.

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