Khartal

Name: Khartal.
Type: Idiophones > Percussion > Clappers.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 111.12
Area: Rajasthan, Odisha etc.
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The Khartal is an ancient instrument, mainly used in devotional and or folk songs. The name of the instrument derives from the Sanskrit words “Kara” meaning hand and “tala” meaning clapping. This instrument is a Ghana Vadya.

Construction: The khartal is usually made of wood or metal, a khartal player usually holds one ‘male’ and ‘female’ khartal in each hand. The ‘male’ khartal is usually thicker and is held with the thumb. While the ‘female’ khartal is usually thinner and is mainly balanced on the ring finger, which represents the element.

A pair of wooden castanets with bells attached to them was the earliest form of the khartal. These pieces of wood are not connected in any way. They can be clapped together at high speeds to make rapid, complex rhythms. Aside from being an excellent accompaniment instrument, the khartal is valued for being a highly portable percussion instrument.

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