The Tanpura is an instrument that does not play a melody of its own. Instead, it provides a hypnotic drone (‘shruti’) that gives harmony to the performance by supporting and sustaining the melody produced by the other musicians. It is an essential part of Indian music, and the perfect accompaniment for Hindustani Vocal practice because it helps the singer stay in sync with the rhythm and stay in control of their pitch. In performance, you’ll often hear the resonant drone of the Tanpura as a prelude to Indian classical music. The drone is produced by continuously adding or subtracting long notes to create one sustained sound. It’s a remarkable instrument, and quite beautiful in its simplicity.
You might also have heard the Tanpura called ‘the tambura’ or ‘the tanpuri’.
The Tanpura consists of 4 strings, a long neck, and a resonator. The strings are plucked gently one after the other using the tips of the middle and index fingers. Traditionally, Tanpura are made of seasoned wood and dry hollowed-out pumpkin gourd, but electronic Tanpura are also available. It’s a popular instrument throughout the world, and it’s regularly used in a lot of different musical genres.
If you’ve ever attended a classical Indian concert, you may have noticed the Tanpura player sitting slightly behind the main artist. Very often, that’s because they are the main musician’s students.
I offer private face-to-face or online Tanpura lessons for beginners, intermediate and advanced students. Each student receives my undivided attention for the entire length of the lesson, and either 30 minute or 1-hour sessions are available. I design the lessons according to the students’ own pace and do everything I can to make the lessons as convenient, enjoyable and satisfying as possible.
If there’s anything you’d like to know about my work or the services I offer, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you, and I’ll do my best to reply to your message as quickly as I can.