Musical instruments have always been part of our diverse culture, representing the rich traditions of our society. The instruments are not only used for practice, but these are also considered to be great masterpieces of art, adorning our living rooms and drawing rooms. They are displayed in art galleries and exhibitions. Carving wood to make musical instruments is a fine art that is possible only by artisans with great skill, and it is a matter of pride for Andhra Pradesh, that the artisans of the region create some of the finest and remarkable musical instruments, which enjoy special status in the world of music. Although there are other states in India, which produce musical instruments, the unique wood available in the state is considered an advantage.
The state of Andhra Pradesh with its extensive forest cover, offers more resources for skilled workers who create beautiful musical instruments. The craftsmen create these exquisite pieces, which are highly attractive and aesthetic.
Veena is a large plucked string instrument used in Carnatic classical music. Bobbili in Vizianagaram district of AP is world renowned for the Veenas manufactured here, which enjoys the status of a royal instrument. It was patronized by the kings of Bobbili, who were considered as rich patrons of music. It is made from pure jackfruit wood while the frets of Bobbili Veenas are made of bell metal with the lion’s head carved at one end. Bobbili Veenas are also known as ‘ekanda veena’ as they are made from a single piece of wood. It has earned the GI tag in the year 2012. Nearly 40 families of the Sarvasidhi family in Gollapalli village near Bobbili, are believed to be the sole manufacturers of this instrument in addition to a dozen families of the same clan who have set up shops across the country.
The tambura is a long-necked plucked string instrument found in various forms of Indian music. The sitar is a plucked stringed instrument used mainly in Hindustani music and Indian classical music, which is believed to have been derived from the veena, an ancient Indian instrument. The tabla is a membranophone percussion instrument used mostly in South Asia, which consists of a pair of drums. It is used in traditional, popular, classical, and folk music and considered to be a very important instrument in Hindustani classical music. Dolu Sannai is a traditional musical instrument, widely used in traditional and classical music. It is used mainly in Nadaswaram. The violin is a high-pitched wooden string instrument which typically has four strings that are tuned in perfect fifths.
The making of several musical instruments is a small-scale industry here, which started with Veena in the 17th century during the reign of Pedda Rayudu in Bobbili. A wide variety and range of these musical instruments created here from decades by experienced artisans are most-sought after, which keeps the unique and distinguished tradition of Bobbili alive.