The Ghatam

The ghatam is an ancient percussion instrument in used Carnatic classical music. The ghatam consists of a clay pot reinforced with brass, copper and iron fillings.

The pitch of the ghatam is unique and can only be slightly modified by water and additional clay. It is played with the hands and fingers and can produce a large variety of sounds right from the neck to the body of the ghatam. The mouth of the ghatam usually faces the player.

The ghatam is used in conjunction with the mridangam in Carnatic music. Instruments similar to the ghatam include the gharha of Punjab and the matka of Gujarat.

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Performer Information

Performer Name: Bangalore R Prathap

Musical Tradition:
South, carnatic


See The Ghatam in action

Did you know

Some ghatam players produce a unique sound by tossing the ghatam up in the air and catching it on its way down. This is also hugely entertaining to the audience. The ghatam is often played without any garments on the upper body so as to not dampen the resonance of the instrument by putting it in contact with cloth.


Other instruments in this genre