Taal (instrument)

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Taal (instrument)
Khuti taal.jpg

The taal (Assamese: তাল; Odia: ଗିନି, Gini ) is a pair of clash cymbals,[1] which make high-pitched percussion sounds. The word taal comes from the Sanskrit word Tālà, literally means a clap. It is a part of Indian music and culture, used in various traditional customs e.g. Bihu music, Harinaam etc.

Materials used[edit]

The clash cymbal, taal is made of bell metals i.e. bronze, brass, copper, zinc etc. Each cymbal is connected with a cord which passes through hole in its center. The pitch of different types of taal vary according to their size, weight and the materials used. A player can also adjust the timbre by varying the point of contact while playing.


There are many types of Taal, categorised by size, weight and appearance.

  • Bortaal (Assamese: বৰতাল) is the big size clash cymbal, Its weight approx. 1½−2 kg. The player who plays Bortaal is called in Assam as Gayan. Bortaal is a symbol of Assamese traditional culture. Sometimes, the players perform dance-music with both e.g. in Gayan-Bayan, Bortaal Nritya etc. Sometimes the player perform with only music e.g. in Harinaam, Dihanaam etc. The rhythmic high-pitched sound of the Bortaal makes the surroundings pure and sacred.
  • Majutaal (Assamese: মাজুতাল) is medium size clash cymbal,
  • Khutitaal or Harutaal (Assamese: খুটিতাল বা সৰু তাল) is small size clash cymbal.[2] It is also known name as Manjira. It is generally used in traditional, folk and classical music in India. It is also used in dance in Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi Manipuri Mohiniattam Andhra Natyam Kathakali This Instrument has some other names e.g. thaaleaj (Kashmir), taalam, tala, jalra etc.[3]
  • Ramtaal or Khoritaal (Assamese: ৰামতাল বা খৰিতাল) are two wooden handled musical instruments, containing multiple pairs of small cymbals. It is generally known India as Khartal.

See also[edit]


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