Music is an integral part of the North East and the instruments play a very important role. There are several ingenious musical instruments to be found in the region. Some of them are as follows:
Dama - The Khasis are musically inclined, much as the other tribes of the region. One of the musical instruments used by them is called Dama, a percussion made of wood. It is a long and narrow drum, thick in the centre and tapering towards the ends. The Dama is a long, narrow drum made of wood and is used for all occasions.
Gongmina - It is also known as Jews harp, is made of a thin slit of bamboo. The thin bamboo is cut in such a manner that a thin tongue runs down the centre of the slip. There is a short string fastened to the Jews harp and on the other hand there is a small bamboo handle. It is played during dance festivals and considered as the queen of musical instruments in Meghalaya.
Duitara - Duitara is a two-stringed, sacred musical instrument resembling a guitar. It is the typical musical instrument of Khasis and Jaintias in Meghalaya. Made up of strong hard wood, Duitara can be played with a wooden pick. It has 4 holes at its end, fixed with wooden pegs to hold the string in tune. The body of the Duitara is covered with the skin of animals.
Kram - Kram is a large drum and is used only on solemn occasions like funeral and yearly Shraadh ceremonies.
Nagra - Nagra is a large drum beaten only to call people to assemble in the house of the Nokma (leader) for feats or entertainment.
Rangs - Rangs or Gongs are made of brass or metal and are said to be used as a gold reserve, as a mans wealth and social standing are measured by the Rangs he possesses. They are said to acquire value with age.
Other Musical Instruments of Meghalaya
Adil, Singga, Ronsing and Turoi are trumpets made of buffalos horn. Otokra, Illongma, Bangsi, Imbingi are bamboo flutes. Kakkwa Nenggilsi, Kynshaw, Majra are cymbals and other types of drums are Kinphong, Naila and Padiah. Singdiengphong is a primitive 8 stringed harp and other harps are Sarong, Maryngod, Marynthing. Tangmuri, Sharati, Tanglod, Besli and Chuwiang are different types of flute.
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