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Musical Instruments Used in Indian Classical Music

Updated June 26, 2019 2.5k votes 1.0k voters 101.0k views21 items

List RulesOnly musical instruments used in Indian classical music

Indian musical instruments list--complete with pictures and names. These instruments are used in Carnatic and Hindustani styles of Indian classical music. While some instruments originated in the Indian sub-continent, Persian and European musical instruments have also been adapted very well for Indian classical music.

What are some common instruments playing in Indian music? If you are an expert or know something about the topic, please add to this list of Indian musical instruments names and vote on your favorites.
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  • 1
    163
    87

    Veena

    Plucked string instrument
    Widely used Carnatic instrument
  • 2
    133
    70

    Violin

    String instrument, Bowed string instrument
    More widely used in Carnatic as an accompaniment to vocal and other instruments.
  • 3
    101
    53

    Guitar

    String instrument, Plucked string instrument
    Guitar Prasanna has adapted guitar for Carnatic music extremely well. Give a listen to the video.
  • 4
    81
    38
    Carnatic percussion
  • 5
    74
    32
    Carnatic wind instrument
  • 6
    71
    37

    Tabla

    Percussion, Drum
    The most popular Indian percussion instrument. If you haven't heard Ustad Zakir Hussain playing tabla, you haven't lived your life yet!
  • 7
    65
    32
    Hindustani wind instrument
  • 8
    69
    35
    The scintillating sounds of santoor are always soothing for the soul. Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma brought this instrument to popularity in Hindustani music.
  • 9
    46
    20

    Sarangi

    Bowed string instrument
    Hindustani stringed instrument
  • 10
    46
    23

    Sarod

    Plucked string instrument
    Stringed instrument
  • 11
    101
    84
  • 12
    44
    31
    Carnatic percussion instrument
  • 13
    53
    61

    Harmonium

    Keyboard
  • 14
    100
    125
    The bamboo flute. Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia is a treat to listen to!
  • 15
    49
    62

    Saxophone

    Woodwind instrument
    Before Kadri Gopalnath, I believe the sax was considered "unadaptable" for Carnatic music.
  • 16
    6
    5

    Trumpet

    Wind instrument, Brass instrument
  • 17
    33
    52
  • 18
    39
    63
    Carnatic percussion. Popular contemporary player is Selva ganesh.
  • 19
    33
    56

    Mandolin

    Plucked string instrument
    Another Western instrument adapted well for Carnatic music by maestro U. Srinivas.
  • 20
    44
    81

    Sitar

    Plucked string instrument
    Who hasn't heard Pandit Ravi Shankar's mesmerizing music? Sitar is widely used in Hindustani music and a treat to hear!
  • 21
    44
    80

    Tambura

    Plucked string instrument
    Used as a drone to maintain the pitch