Musical Instruments Popular in Arunachal Pradesh

Music and dance are an integral part of the life and culture of Arunachal Pradesh. There are three types of musical instruments- Wind Instruments, Solid Instruments and String Instruments.

Wind Instruments

These are called Ujuk Tapu and they are made of bottle gourd. They are similar to the ‘Been’ used by snake charmers. They are made up of four perforated cane flutes fixed to a hole made in the gourd. It is usually played when the bride reaches her husband’s house. It is said that according to legends the father inlaw of a certain bride sensing her distress at leaving her maternal home made the Ujuk Tapu and asked his son to play it for her. When the son began playing a monkey heard the music and came down from the tree and began dancing. The bride then forgot her sorrow watching the monkey’s antics and became happy. ‘Jingre Tapu’ is an instrument made partly of bamboo and partly of goat bone. The bone end opens up like a cone and is wide and the player blows through the bamboo end. ‘Pupe Tapu’ are reed flutes made of bamboo.

Solid Instruments

Ponu Yoksi is an instrument that looks like a sword with a sharp edge. In the centre are two iron plates with holes and when the player moves the sword they make clanging sounds which is used by the priest to keep rhythm during ceremonial dances.  ‘Ame Bali’ is a heavy metal plate which is struck with a stick to keep the beat. ‘Kiring’ is an instrument similar to the ‘ghungroo’ with metal beads bound together and the player jingles it with his hand. The ‘Emul’ is an instrument which is made up of a group of star-shaped metal pieces which when clanged against each other produces a sound.

String Instrument

The ‘Pui’ is made of bottle gourd with bamboo and string. The ‘Guga’ has a string attached to a small bamboo stick and by strumming it the bamboo vibrates to produce music.