This instrument is made in the shape of a peacock and the word 'TAUS' is in fact a Persian word meaning peacock. It has 28-30 strings and the instrument is played with a bow. The taus is very similar to the dilruba in construction and in playing technique. However, the taus has a bigger sound box and therefore produces a much more resonant and mellow sound. It has a sound hole at the ‘tail’ portion of the instrument and stands on bird-feet carved in wood.
Guru Hargobind Sahib created this instrument, which is probably why it is so big, given his own physical size. Guru Gobind Singh (the tenth Sikh master) played this instrument and welcomed any rabab or taus player into his court.
Tanpura is popularly used as music drone in Indian music tradition. It's aslo called Tampbora. Historically the origin of Tamboora is releated to the Rishi Toombroo. In the Sikh tradition of music, Tamboora was propagated and used in the time of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. At present it is considered as a basic, useful and melodic instrument to impart training of Raga based training of Gurmat Sangeet.
Tanpura is very useful instrument in the Shabad Kirtan of Gurmat Sangeet as it is a basically raga based tradition. With the harmonics relative combinations of the notes, the Tanpura provides all the notes of a natural scale. That is why all the ragas can be performed using this instrument.
The First Instruments of the Sikhs is the Rabab. This is a plucked instrument with gut strings that give more power and deepness in its sound. It is approximately 3 feet long, made primarily of ‘Tunn’ wood.
The Rabab was given to Guru Nanak Dev as a present from Bebe Nanaki, his elder sister. India houses many types of Rababs which vary from region to region. But the Sikh Rabab is called the ‘Firandia’ Rabab. Which was created by Bhai Firanda, who was instructed by Bebe Nanaki to make. Guru Nanak gave this Rabab to Bhai Mardana, his dear friend, to play and accompany him on his travels. Wherever Guru Nanak sang, the Rabab followed with such grace and majesty. This is where the tradition of ‘Kirtan,’ the singing of hymns, began. The Rabab, which was played by his beloved companion Bhai Mardana, followed Guru Nanak as a shadow for 27 years on his travels around the world.
The percussion instrument Jori was brought to existence in the court of Guru Arjan Dev (1563-1606) by renowned Kirtaniyas (bards) of the era – Bhai Satta and Bhai Balwand. Jori was created by splitting a century-old one-barrel instrument – Pakhawaj – into two pieces of drums.
The exact reasons why Pakhawaj was split into two smaller drums are unknown. However, understanding the evolving nature of music from Dhrupad to Desi or Margi Sangeet during the time of Guru Arjan Dev, provides some meaningful insight into the evolving need of Jori in Sikh music.
In Sikh music, Jori is utilized as a tool to understand and balance the rhythm of life. In our everyday activities, from rising in the morning to sleeping at night, many of us struggle to keep discipline and focus through the day due to stress caused by our surroundings at work and at home. The art of percussion practiced using Jori helps us recognize the imbalance caused by our everyday stress and provides a practical way to re-balance us. For many percussionists, it is a medium of communication and discovery of their higher consciousness.
The name ‘Sa-rangi’ translates to ‘one-hundred colors.’ This instrument is known as the mother of all stringed instruments. One very remarkable characteristic of the Sarangi is that it is the only stringed instrument that most closely resembles the human voice. The rich, attention-grabbing sound of the sarangi can easily be mistaken for a person singing.
During the time of the Sikh Gurus, the Sarangi was not used for spiritual purposes, it had a very different role society. Then, in the court of the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib brought back into the spiritual arena.The Sarangi was promoted and used to sing the 22 Vaars (ballads) written within the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.
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The Dilruba is a smaller, modified version of the Taus. The reason for its creation was predominantly due to the practicality of carrying it for the warriors who served in the army of the Tenth Master, Guru Gobind Singh, as all soldiers kept their instruments with them at all times. The Taus had storage issues due to its size and the Dilruba resolved these issues for the Sikhs as it is much smaller in size and much cheaper to produce compared to the Taus.
The construction is very interesting. The neck has approximately 18 strings. The approach to tuning is somewhat similar to the sitar. Like the sitar, almost all of the playing is performed upon only one string. There are a number of metallic frets. It has a series of sympathetic strings which are tuned to the notes of the rag.