Ektara

Ektara

Various forms of this single-stringed drone instrument are used throughout India, especially by mendicants singing religious songs. The metal string of the instrument passes from the tuning peg through a skin attached to the bottom of a cylinder usually made of gourd or wood.

In other words, it pierces the skin of an inverted drum and is anchored on the outside by being wrapped around a twig or bit of leather. The tuning peg is inserted into the end of a bamboo tube left intact where the peg penetrates it but cut open to form two opposing laths whose ends are attached to the sides of the open end of the inverted drum, thereby maintaining the tension of the string. Holding one of the laths in the hand, the player can pluck the string with the index finger of that hand, leaving the other hand free to squeeze and quickly release both laths which will cause the tension of the string to slacken and become taught again; this will create a swooping pitch glide up to the drone pitch and give a lightly rhythmic emphasis to the accompaniment. Alternatively, the free hand can be used to play the duggi.

Alternate names: gopiyantra, anandalahari, lauya