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 LESSONS in Indian Music

Tanpura : Lesson 1

(from SwarShala)

One cannot imagine an Indian classical music recital, be it vocal or instrumental, without the tanpura. The tanpura graces every classical music concert stage.

Unobtrusive, it lends vital support like a devoted friend to the performing musician. Functional in nature, the tanpura is essentially an accompanying drone instrument, i.e. it maintains the basic pancham or madhyam and the shadaja notes for the singer or the instrumentalist throughout a recital. Vocalists either play the tanpura themselves while singing or someone else plays the tanpura, seated next to them.

The origin of the tanpura is not known. It seems to have been around for 300 years along with khayal-sangeet. Many other instruments like the ektaara seem to have prepared the path for the advent of the tanpura.

Tanpura : Lesson 1 Lesson 2

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