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Hitting the right notes

india Updated: Jul 18, 2006 04:22 IST
Rathin Das
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They longed to recreate ancient musical instruments that were lost to the ravages of time. But all they had to go on were descriptions they had read in the scriptures.

After over two years of experimentation, Jayantilal Sharma and his son Hemdeep, have revived two ancient instruments, nalika tarang and kach tarang.

While Jayantilal is a retired music teacher, Hemdeep teaches music a local school here.

"Ancient scriptures on Indian music have references to jal tarang (water), nalika tarang (pipes), louha tarang (metal) and kashta taranga (wood)," says Jayantibhai Sharma. "But there was no samples available."

It all began when Jayantibhai was perfecting his skills on the jal tarang. He realized that it had certain drawbacks.

To eliminate them, he delved into physics to understand the science behind sound. Jayantibhai soon realized that sound that emanated from solids was inversely proportional to its mass. So, he experimented by cutting glass plates in different sizes and tested their sound frequencies.

The end product was kach tarang -- a set of 28 glass plates of different sizes, mounted on a steel stand. When struck with a wooden stick, the instrument sounds like the traditional jal tarang.

Similarly, the nalika tarang is a set of 28 brass pipes of varying sizes, each having a different musical note. Struck with a stick, the pipes produce metallic musical notes.

Though the sound of kach tarang is lighter than that of jal tarang, the new instrument is as good, says Jayantilal.

No wonder, both innovations have found their way to the Limca Book of Records.