Type: Plucked Monochord > Membranophones.
Region: South Asia.
Specimen: Rajasthan, India.
Acquisition Source: Ian MacKenzie trip to Rajasthan India.
Description: Ektara [in Hindi: एकतारा ; in Bengali: একতারা ; in Punjabi: ਇਕ ਤਾਰਾ ; literally “one-string” ; it is also called iktar, ektar, yaktaro, gopichand, gopichant, gopijiantra, tun tuna] is a one-string instrument or monochord of the membranophone family. It is most often played in traditional music from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.
The ektara was a regularly played stringed instrument of the wondering bards and minstrels from India. Ektara are commonly used in kirtan chanting, a form of Hindu devotional singing of divine names and mantras in an ecstatic call and response format. Ektaras are played by Sadhus who are wandering holy men and for Sufi chanting as well as the Baul’s of Bengal.
Techniques: The ektara is played by plucking one string, and held between the thumb and pointy finger. The ektara is balanced by the hand when being played. In origin the ektara was a regular string instrument of wandering bards and minstrels from India and is plucked with one finger. The ektara while is described as a stringed instrument, and monochord.
Construction: The ektara is constructed from a gourd affixed with a flexible membrane, flexible neck made from bamboo thats split in parallel so it could be attached to the gourd, a tuning peg and single string. The neck is carved from a single piece of bamboo where the string is attached from gourd to tuning peg.
Citations: Miner, Allyn 1999 – South Asia: The Indian Subcontinent. Routledge. p. 343. Retrieved 2014-09-07 ; “Ektar”. Oxford Music Online ; Retrieved 2014-09-18 ; “Ektara”. Musical Instruments Archives. Retrieved 2014-09-1 ; Lillian Henry. “What is Kirtan Music”. Entertainment Scene 360. Archived from the original on 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2014-09-17 ; “Baul Songs – From Ektara to Fusion Music”. Indo-Asian News Service. Retrieved 2014-09-24 ; “Kirtan”. Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2014-09-16 ; “Stringed Instruments” ;