Saturday, April 27, 2013

Similar instruments of Ghatam

The madga is a north Indian version of the south Indian ghaṭam and is made from a very special clay. The maker sometimes adds some kind of metal or graphite dust to the clay which is responsible for the blue/gray looking and for the special sound.
The madga can be played similarly to the ghaṭam. The extreme bass volume can be produced if one hits with the flat hand the opening at the top of the instrument. The madga can be played with mallets (sticks) and there are many sounds which can be produced with this instrument. It is thinner than a ghaṭam but very stable and not as fragile as one might think.

This clay pot in Gujarat known as matka features an almost perfectly round shape and is made in many villages in and around Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Gujarat. 
The matka is used to store water and sometimes yogurt (curd) and can be used as a cooking vessel. 
When used as a musical instrument in folk music, it is known as ghaṛa and is played in a similar manner as the South Indian ghaṭam but the technique and rhythmic style is not as refined as that of Carnatic ghaṭam. 
Another difference is that the ghara is often traditionally played with metal rings on the thumbs, index, middle, and ring fingers of both hands (but players vary on how many rings and fingers are used).
 There are a few versions of this instrument. Some are made from a black clay that typically comes from a single area in Rajasthan while many others in Rajasthan and Gujarat are made from a reddish clay. A third version of the ghaṛa is made from reddish clay but features a much flatter, squat shape. Both of the red clay types can also be found highly decorated with colorfully painted designs while the black ones are usually plain and unfinished. The black ghaṛas are extremely light but very dense and have a huge sound. The shell tones ring in a bell-like fashion with much more of a sustain than the various South Indian ghaṭams (although the Mysore ghaṭam comes close). The bass tones of this instrument are very prominent. 
Since these instruments are fired at a much higher temperature for a longer time than South Indian ghaṭams, there is more consistency between instruments in terms of Western pitch. In other words, there is much less variation in the tuning when compared with ghaṭams from South India, which can range from a low B up to a high A chromatically;although there does not seem to be any indication that these instruments are constructed with tuning considerations. Other spellings for matka include mutkay and madga.

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