Instruments INDIA

Explore the fascinating genre of Indian music through our archive of images, sounds and videos. Instruments India is a rich and varied resource, and you can discover the background of each instrument, how it is played, and the type of setting it is normally played in.

If you are a beginner, student, expert or music lover, you can now enjoy a preview to a performance, find out more about a concert you have just seen, or get some background information on instruments in different settings.

Instruments India is the result of a partnership between MILAPFEST and LIVERPOOL HOPE UNIVERSITY, and the archive of instruments is a dynamic resource, which will grow on an ongoing basis.

Welcome to our website, and enjoy your discovery!

NEWS: Announcing the Winners of the Young Creator’s Competition

We are delighted to announce the three winners of the Instrument’s INDIA Young Creator’s Competition!

We received over 30 submissions from around the world, with the winning tracks being chosen by an expert judging panel. The jury featured Ramshanker Sathianarayanan (composer and orchestral conductor), Girishh Gopalakrishnan (producer, composer and singer), Kousic Sen (Tabla), Jonny Batchelor (sample pack producer), and Hayley Suviste (composer).

Listen below to a podcast episode in which the judging panel announce, listen to, and discuss the winning submissions, and showcase a selection of other highly recommended submissions.

Listen to the Winning Submissions:

Winner: Age 14-17 (UK)

Name: Joshua van der Hagen (artist name: Liopli)
Track: Confused Circus

Joshua is 17 years old and based in the UK. He has been making music for just over two years, and was initially inspired by watching others on YouTube make music.

Joshua: “I used quite a few of the samples from this pack. The main sample that I used was the “sangu”, which I quite liked as I thought it sounded a bit like a mellotron. The other 2 dominant samples I will mention are the “baga ghey” – which I processed to make a kick drum and an 808 – and the “santoor hit” which I made into a hi-hat. All the other samples that I used were added to create a bit more atmosphere, depth and rhythm.”

Winner: Age 18-21 (UK)

Name: Nicolas Garcia-Peguinho (artist name: Acrux)
Track: Silk Stria

Nicolas is 20 years old and from London, and is currently in their third year of studying music at the University of Manchester.

Nicolas: “My biggest personal connection to Indian music is through bhangra by going to daytimer events in London and Manchester. I also thought that given the age range of the competition, Indian youth culture would be particularly relevant. Therefore, my aim was to explore some typical bhangra grooves and develop these with British glitch and bass music techniques in keeping with what I’ve heard these daytimer crews play recently.”

Winner: Age 14-21 (International)

Name: Eugene Mantilla (artist name: EUMAN)
Track: Blinding Daylight

Eugene is an 18-year-old from from Peabody, Massachusetts. He has been making electronic music for over five years using Ableton Live.

Eugene: “Every sound in this song was made with the sample pack, from the loud bass synths to the drums to the ambient synths… The track itself was inspired heavily by experimental dubstep artists G-Rex and PEEKABOO. Making something totally different from my usual style was so much fun, and I LOVED how it turned out in the end. Thank you very much for hosting this competition!”

Thanks again to the musicians that feature in the sample pack:

The Instruments

The Mandolin

The violin

The violin used in Indian classical music is similar to the one used in Western classical traditions. In Carnatic music, the tuning is the same. The tuning is slightly modified for the Hindustani violin, but the playing style remains the …

The Veena

The veena is among the oldest of Indian musical instruments. From the references to Vedic writings, it can date back to around the first millennium B.C. Temple sculptures from the 2nd century B.C. show a type of veena being played. …

The Udukkai

The udukkai is an hourglass shaped, membranous drum used in devotional and folk music throughout India. The udukkai is played with the hand and the pitch may be altered by tightening the lacing in the middle. It is made of …

The Thavil

The thavil is a percussion instrument used for accompanying the nadaswaram, a wind instrument used in Hidu religious music and as a solo instrument in Carnatic music. It consists of a barrel shaped drum carved out of jackfruit wood, with …

The Tar Shehnai

The Tar Shehnai is an esraj (bowed string instrument) with an added mechanical amplifier. This amplifier fixed to the sound board of the instrument is modeled on the gramophone sound box to project a stronger, more directional sound. The amplifier …

The Tanpura

The tanpura is an instrument that acts as the reference chord in Indian classical music. It has a resonator and 4 strings, but no frets, as the notes are always played whole. The name is derived from tana or musical …

The tabla

The tabla is the percussion instrument most commonly used in north Indian classical music. The instrument consists of two drums, called bayan (left) and dayan (right) as per the hand they are most commonly played with. The drums consist of …