Name: Ghatam.
Type: Idiophones > Percussion > Vessels > Plosive >
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 111.24
Area: Tamil Nadu.
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The ghaṭam [in Sanskrit: घटः ghata, Kannada: ಘಟ ghaṭah, Tamil: கடம் ghaṭam, Telugu: ఘటం ghaṭam, Malayalam: ഘടം, ghaṭam] is a percussion instrument used in various repertoires across India. It’s a variant played in Punjab and known as gharha as it is a part of Punjabi folk traditions. It’s analogue in Rajasthan is known as the madga and pani mataqa “water jug”.

Construction: The ghatam is a clay pot with narrow mouth. From the mouth, it slants outwards to form a ridge. Made mainly of clay backed with brass or copper filings with a small amount of iron filings. The pitch of the ghatam varies according to its size. Ghatams are mostly manufactured in Manamadurai, a place near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Though this instrument is manufactured in other places like Chennai and Bangalore, too.

The Manamadurai ghatams have special tonal quality. It is believed that the mud is of special quality. The Manamadurai ghaṭam is a heavy, thick pot with tiny shards of brass mixed into the clay. This type of ghaṭam is harder to play but produces a sharp metallic ringing sound which is favored by some players.

Citations: Bibliography: Bonnie C. Wade. Music in India: the classical traditions. 2008. Pp 134-135 – Naimpalli, Sadanand [2005]. Tabla, p.16. Popular Prakashan ISBN 9788179911495 Websites:

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