Jal tarang

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Jaltarang tarang
Percussion instrument
Other namesjaltarang, jal-tarang, jal-yantra, jalatarangam, jalatharangam
Classification Percussion
Hornbostel–Sachs classification111.242.11
(Resting bells whose opening faces upward)
Developedbefore 4th to 6th centuries CE
Lt. Pt. Kumar Pankaj Sakharkar, Lt. Pt. Shankar Kanhere, Lt. Pt. Dattopant Mangalvedhekar, Lt. Pt. Ramrao Parsatwaar,Lt. Pt. Master Maharnahar Barve, Milind Tulankar, Dulal Roy, Ranjana Pradhan, Lt. Pt. Chintamani Jain, Seetha Doraiswamy, Vid. Shashikala Dani,Mayur Kadavil Anayampatti S. Ganesan, Anayampatti S. Dhandapani, M. Devendra Sivachariyar , Nemani Somayajulu, Kottayam T.S Ajith and Vikas Achutharamaih

The Jal Tarang is a melodic percussion instrument which originates from the Indian sub-continent. It consists of a set of ceramic or metal bowls filled with water. The bowls are played by striking the edge with beaters, one in each hand.


The earliest mention of the Jaltarang is found in 'Vatsyayana's Kamasutra' as playing on musical glasses filled with water.[1] It is one of the 64 Arts and Science to be studied by a maiden.[1] Jal-tarang was also found mentioned in medieval Sangeet Parijaat text, categories this instrument under Ghan-Vadya (Idiophonic instruments in which sound is produced by striking a surface, also called concussion idiophones.) SangeetSaar considered one with 22 cups to be complete jal tarang and one with 15 cups to be of mediocre status. Cups, of varying sizes are made of either bronze or porcelain. Jal-tarang was also called jal-yantra in the medieval times, poets of Krishna cult (also called Ashtachhap poets) have mentioned this instrument.[2]

In modern days, it has fallen into obscurity. Literally, jal tarang means 'waves in water' but it indicates motion of sound created or modified with the aid of water. In the wave-instruments, it is the most prominent and ancient instrument. This traditional instrument is used in Indian classical music. Some scholars think that in the ancient period these were in routine use around the eastern border of India.


Today only the porcelain bowls are preferred by artists to play , numbering around one in normal use. Cups for Manda Swar (notes of lower octave) are large while those for Taar Swar (notes of higher octaves) are smaller in size. Water is poured into the cups and the pitch is changed by adjusting the volume of water in the cup. The number of cups depends on the melody being banged . The bowls mostly are arranged in a half-circle in front of the player who can reach them all easily. The player softly hits the cups with a wooden stick on the border to get the sound. It's not easy to tune the instrument and needs some skill. During playing fine nuances can be reached if the performer is accomplished. SangeetSaar mentions that if the player can rotate the water through a quick little touch of the stick, nuances and finer variations of the note can be achieved.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana", ReadCentral.com.
  2. ^ Lalmani Misra (1973). Bharatiya Sangeet Vadya. ISBN 81-263-0727-7.[page needed]

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