Thursday, 5 January 2017

Indian Musical Instrument : Ghatam

Ghatam is an ancient percussion instrument, still used in Carnatic music of South India. Ghatam is a clay pot with narrow mouth, but differs from ordinary mud pots. It is made of clay baked with copper, iron and brass fillings. It is gaining prominent status in Jazz, Fusion, Rock music and Juggal Bandhis.

The word ‘Ghatam’ is derived from the Sanskrit language in which ‘Ghata’ means ‘pot’. Variations of this term are used in modern Indian languages.

Ghatam is mentioned in the great Indian epic, the Ramayana written by Sage Valmiki, in which he describes about the sound emanating from Ghatam. In another work, called 'Krishna Ganam' by Venkata Kavi, there is description of a cowherd playing on a pot as an accompaniment to Lord Krishna’s Flute.

The pitch produced depends on its size. The bigger sized ghatam produces lower pitch, while the smaller one produces higher pitch. Each Ghatam has pitch of its own, but can be altered by application of plasticine clay and water to the inside of the pot.

In North lndia, the ghatam is placed on a round, elevated block with the mouth facing upwards. Sometimes, rings and bangles are used to produce different sounds. In South lndia, it is placed on the lap, with its mouth facing the player’s stomach. Ghatam is played with all parts of the hand. Palms are used at the mouth to produce bass notes. Wrist, knuckle, thumbs, fingers and even nails are used on the spherical part. Though North India Ghatam is played in the similar manner as the South India Ghatam, the technique and rhythmic style is not as refined as that of Carnatic ghatam.

Ghatam is unique musical instruments in all aspects, as all the five elements of nature - earth (prithvi), water (jal), air (vayu), fire (agni) and space or ether (akasha) are found in it. It is made of earth, mixed with water and baked in fire. Air inside the Ghatam encompasses space, that create the musical sound. Hence it is said that Ghatam represents all the five elements of nature.

Ghatam is manufactures is many places in South India, but Ghatam made in Manamadurai, Tamil Nadu is famous for its special quality and strength. Hence this is preferred by most of the Ghatam maestros.

 Notable Ghatam Maestros :
Ghatam Maestros
Websites / Social sites
Thetakudi Harihara Vinayakram
Thetakudi Harihara Subash Chandran
Ghatam Sukkanya Ramgopal
Suresh Vaidyanathan
Ghatam Karthick
Ghatam Giridhar Udupa
Ghatam K S Manjunath

Ghatam Giridhar Udupa With Drums Sivamani

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