MUSIC MUSEUM OF NEPAL
The Music Museum of Nepal was founded in the year 1995 with a view of collecting, preserving and glorifying Nepali folk musical instruments. There are more than 100 ethnic groups in Nepal, each with their own culture and traditions to mark every occasion from birth to death with music. Each group organizes various musical ceremonies and plays their own musical instruments in accordance with traditions and rituals. Many groups such as Gaine, Damai, Badi have adopted folk music as their way of life and play folk musical instruments professionally. Our study has found more than 525 kinds of musical instruments in Nepal.
A FEW MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS OF NEPAL
The Dalle Shankha is found particularly in homes of the Brahmin and Chettri castes but is also available to households of other castes. It is played (five times three blasts) before both morning and evening meals. It is also played three or five times at both morning and evening prayers and is a vital part of many acts of worship, the opening and closing of festivals and ceremonies and also death rituals. A pair of Dalle Shankha is played continuously at the head of the funeral procession carrying a dead person to be cremated and is also played around the funeral pyre before the corpse is placed on it. This shankha is approximately 15cm long and 13cm at is widest part.
Khayar wood is used to make this instrument played exclusively when worshiping the Goddess Manakaamanaa and in the Gorakhkaali temple at Gorkha and only by Damaai caste musicians who play Panchai Baajaa. It looks similar to the Dhode Sahane but is shorter (38cm long) and is used in daily worshiping. The Raashaa is made in two long curved pieces, which are subsequently joined together lengthways and held together by seven bands of choya. A metal bell is fitted to the lower end. It has eight finger holes and a reed in the mouthpiece. By altering his breathing the musician can play many different melodies.
The Damaahaa is a single-sided copper drum belonging to the Panchai Baajaa. During playing it is hung around the neck and is beaten with one large stick. Musicians of the Damaai caste play the Damaahaa at all their holy festivals and at marriage ceremonies etc. It is 30cm high and 38cm in diameter and the drumhead is made of cowhide. The sound is said to improve after steeping in water for two or three days.
The Maadal is the most frequently played and most well known instrument in Nepalese musical history. It belongs to the Magar ethnic group and is found in most Regions of the country. It is 43cm long and is made from Chhatiwan, Daar or Khamaari wood. Usually a suitable log is hollowed out and cowhide is stretched over the open ends but there are variations in the method of construction in some areas. The drumheads are of different diameters i.e. 16cm and 13cm and the drum hides can be tightened by means of leather thongs, which are threaded between them. A black tuning paste composed of clay and kit is applied to each hide. The larger head with the wider spot is known as the female and the smaller one with the narrower spot the male. The Maadal is suspended at waist level by means of a shoulder strap and is played at both sides with the hands. It is considered the best of all Nepalese rhythm instruments for keeping the beat of folk music.
The Newar ethnic group plays the Tinchu when worshiping and while chanting. This is a heavy instrument consisting of a pair of cymbals 7.5cm in diameter and 1cm thick. Each is held by a wooden handle threaded on a strong string (3cm long) that is tied through a central hole. The Newar community has a rich variety of musical instruments, which has developed along with its culture; there are more than 80 distinct types of Newari folk musical instrument. Because the soil in the Kathmandu Valley is so fertile and because the Newars are accomplished businessmen they have more leisure time for festivals. Life is easier than in harsher climates with poorer soils. The Tinchu is a common instrument and can be used for any type of music. Whenever there is a procession, religious or secular, in the Kathmandu Valley this pair of cymbals will be heard. It is also frequently played to provide a beat for various other folk instruments when accompanying traditional dances.