Khamak

Khamak

Similar to the ektara, this instrument has two strings of cord, rawhide, or nylon passing through an inverted drum and secured on the outside of the head with a bit of stick or rawhide.? The bamboo laths and tuning peg of the ektara, are missing, however, and tension is maintained on the strings by having their opposite ends similarly attached to the head of a much smaller inverted drum, usually with a brass body, that is held in one hand while the larger drum is held against the side by the elbow of the same arm.? The tension of the strings can thus be regulated by how strongly the player pulls on the smaller drum, and a wide range of pitches and swoops can be created.? Dynamically, the volume is much greater and more variable than that of the ektara, both because of the greater tension possible on the double strings and because a wooden plectrum is used by the plucking hand.? Although it is primarily a rhythmic instrument, it can partake of the qualities of both drone and melodic instruments.? In the hands of a good performer, it is capable of an amazing variety of effects and can even play melodic passages by skillful manipulation of the string tension.? Since both hands are required to play this, the singer can only use ankle bells in addition.? This seems to be an instrument more favored in West than in East Bengal.

This instrument usually garners a lot of attention from those hearing it for the first time because of its wide dynamic range, its surprising sound, and the strongly kinetic impetus it gives to the performance.

Alternate name: anandalahari, gubgubi