Ghatam

Ghatam,

The Magical Pot

The Ghatam is an ancient percussion instrument widely used in South Indian music. It is a clay pot with a narrow mouth. It is mostly baked with brass, copper, iron and other metal filings that enhance the tonal quality of the instrument. The pitch of the individual ghatam varies according to its size. Each ghatam is set in a particular pitch and can only be slightly altered by the application of plasticine clay or water.

The ghatam is the additional percussion instrument played with the mridangam in Carnatic music. The ghatam is usually placed on the lap of the performer, with the mouth facing the player. However, it may be moved and played in different positions too. Sometimes the ghatam is turned around so that the mouth faces the audience and the performer plays on the neck of the instrument. Occasionally, the performer may also toss the instrument up in the air and catch it according to the rhythmic patterns. Fingers, palms, knuckles and nails are used to produce different sounds on the ghatam.

The ghatam is capable of producing very fast tempo in rhythmic patterns.Ghatams are manufactured in a few places across South India, the significant of them being Bangalore, Chennai and Manamadurai, near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Manamadurai ghatams are known for their strength and unique tonal quality. It is believed that the mud from Mana Madurai is of special quality, which contributes for the tonal quality of the ghatams manufactured here. The ghatams that Sukkanya uses are of this variety.


About Ghatam

The Ghatam is an ancient percussion instrument widely used in South Indian music. It is a clay pot with a narrow mouth. It is mostly baked with brass, copper, iron and other metal filings that enhance the tonal quality of the instrument. The pitch of the individual ghatam varies according to its size. Each ghatam is set in a particular pitch and can only be slightly altered by the application of plasticine clay or water.The ghatam is the additional percussion instrument played with the mridangam in Carnatic music. The ghatam is usually placed on the lap of the performer, with the mouth facing the player. However, it may be moved and played in different positions too. Sometimes the ghatam is turned around so that the mouth faces the audience and the performer plays on the neck of the instrument. Occasionally, the performer may also toss the instrument up in the air and catch it according to the rhythmic patterns. Fingers, palms, knuckles and nails are used to produce different sounds on the ghatam. The ghatam is capable of producing very fast tempo in rhythmic patterns.

Ghatams are manufactured in a few places across South India, the significant of them being Bangalore, Chennai and Manamadurai, near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Manamadurai ghatams are known for their strength and unique tonal quality. It is believed that the mud from Mana Madurai is of special quality, which contributes for the tonal quality of the ghatams manufactured here. The ghatams that Sukkanya uses are of this variety.