Musical Instruments Used in Indian Classical Music

In India a variety of ethnic musical instruments are used in various traditions. Indian Classical music is known for the ethereal ambience it creates. This lens showcases a list of instruments used in Indian classical music.

In India a variety of ethnic musical instruments are used in various traditions. Indian Classical music is known for the ethereal ambience it creates. This lens showcases a list of instruments used in Indian classical music.


The Vedas, ancient Hindu scriptures mention the origins of Indian Classical music. Hindustani music and Carnatic music are popular in India and around the world. While the vast expanse of Hindustani music lies in North India, Carnatic music is popular in South India, Both Hindustani and Carnatic are expressive and are well known for their forms of improvisation. The monophonic nature of Indian classical music allows performers to explore and improvise ragas and talas.

A number of instruments are used in Hindustani and Carnatic music, each with a unique sound.


In India a number of music schools offer classes for Indian Classical music. The term ‘riyaz’ which means practice is of essential importance to a Classical musician. Improvisational forms of ragas are vast. Instrumentalists and vocalists dedicated to Hindustani Classical music and Carnatic music spend hours practicing new forms of rhythmic talas and ragas. ‘Guru’ (Teacher) passing on knowledge of composition to ‘Shishya’(Student/Disciple) in person forms the core of Guru-shishya tradition. It means total surrender and devotion to the Guru teaching Indian Classical music.
Most musical instruments used in Indian Classical Music are handmade. Though popular Indian Classical musical instruments such as Sitar, Tabla and Bansuri are manufactured on a large scale in factories, most musicians prefer using instruments customized in accordance with requirement. Here’s a list of musical instruments used in Indian Classical Music.


Instruments used in Indian classical music


• Santoor

• Bansuri

• Shehnai

• Pakhavaj

• Tabla

• Sitar

• Sarangi

• Surbahar

• Sarod

• Jal Tarang

• Tanpura

• Ghatam

• Harmonium

• Venu

• Kanjira

• Esraj

• Tambura

• Vichitra Veena

• Gottuvadyam

• Swarmadal

• Mohan Veena

• Violin

• Veena

• Mirdangam

• Saraswati Veena

• Chande

• Dilruba

• Morsing

• Rudra Veena

• Sursingar

• Nadaswaram


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