Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rajasthani Music

Khartal is considered to be a devotional instrument, which is used at the time of religious singing.
The khartal is also known as kartal. This too is an ancient instrument. It has always been a favourite with saints and seers. Even today we find the khartal being used in temples and gurdwaras. According to S Bandhopadhyaya in Musical Instruments of India kara means hand and tala means clapping, i.e., the instrument played by hands to keep rhythm in devotional song, kirtana and dance. Despite being used for devotional music it has carved an important place for itself amongst the exponents of folk music in Punjab. The contemporary rural bhangra dancers sport the toombi or iktara in one hand and khartal in the other while dancing. Meera Bai attained salvation by singing devotional songs using the toombi in one hand and the khartal in the other. This instrument even today accompanies bhajans, hymns, or mournful songs on sad occasions. A pair of wooden castanets with little bells attached to them was the earliest form of the khartal. Khartal comprises two similar shaped wooden pieces and is approximately eight to twelve inches long and two to three inches wide. Small round brass pieces are affixed over these wooden pieces. One of the pieces has a space for the thumb and the other to hold four fingers. It is played by the same hand.

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