(Last Updated on : 05/03/2011)
Pots serve as veritable percussion instrument in the realm of Indian Music
. Originally, pots served the purpose of fetching water, storing grains, cooking and such other domestic chores and only later did they acquire a musical function, more in tribal and folk music than in the concert. It is known by different names in different parts of the country, such as the Noot in Kashmir and the Matki in Rajasthan
. In most of the regions it is used mostly as a folk instrument. However, there are exceptions to the same, as apart from being a simple folk instrument used as a simple rustic accompaniment in the plains it can also be seen developed into more sophisticated Rouf of Kashmir.
An ordinary pot of burnt clay is placed on the lap of the squatting player or on the ground, one hand striking the body and the other the mouth of the vessel. The Gagri or Gagra is sometimes seen in North India. It is used exactly like the Noot or Matki, but is made of brass or copper
. Often metal rings are worn on the fingers and the thumb for effective sounding. In the category of pots being used as instruments of percussion, the South Indian Ghatam
has become a highly sophisticated instrument, raised to a concert status. The clay chosen for making the pitcher is of a special type and the instrument itself has to be carefully shaped and fired in the kiln. Besides its superior quality as compared to the Noot, the mode of playing is also very different. The Ghatam player sits cross-legged on the floor, with the mouth of the pot pressed onto his uncovered belly. The body of the instrument is struck at various places with fingers and palms, but never on its mouth. The player also presses the mouth of the Ghatam onto his abdomen to various degrees, producing fine tonal differences. In the hands of an accomplished musician this innocuous pot can become a beautiful rhythmic accompaniment.
Thus discussed is the instrument of the pot, occasionally used as accompaniment in the performance of Indian music, particularly tribal and folk music.