Khartal is an ancient instrument mainly used in devotional / folk songs. It has derived its name from Hindi words ‘kara’ means hand and ‘tala’ means clapping. This wooden clapper is a Ghana Vadya which has discs or plates that produce a clinking sound when clapped together. It falls under the class of idiophones of self-sounding instruments that combine properties of vibrator and resonator.
Usually made wood or metal, a khartal player will hold one ‘male’ and ‘female’ khartal in each hand. The ‘male’ khartal is usually thicker and is held with the thumb while the ‘female’ khartal is usually thinner and is mainly balanced on the ring finger, which represents the fire element. It is associated with the sun and the root chakra. Its force provides staying power, stamina, and the power to be assertive.
A pair of wooden castanets with bells attached to them was the earliest form of the khartal. These pieces of wood are not connected in any way, however they can be clapped together at high speeds to make rapid complex rhythms. Aside from being an excellent accompaniment instrument, khartal is the most portable percussion instrument in the world.
1. Kartals (blocks). It consists of a pair of wooden blocks with jingles or crotales (kartals mean crotales). One pair is used in one hand of the musician. These pieces can be clapped together at high speeds to make fast complex beats.
2. Kartals (small sheets). It consists of a pair of thin, hard wooden pieces similar to the percussion bones (instrument). These are used in Rajasthan.
3. Kartals (cymbals). The karatalas are small cymbals, also known as manjeera. These are used in devotional chants.
In Maharashtra Kartals are better known as Chipdya. It is commonly used in religious song like Kirtans an Bhajans.
In Telugu language, the word Karatāḷa Dhvani is most commonly used for sound produced from clapping hands.
Khartal “Rajasthani Bones” was founded in 2014 and is the only authentic manufacturer, distributor and teacher of this incredible Indian percussion instrument in the USA. Indian instruments like tabla and sitar are not readily available in music stores across the USA due to high shipping costs, limited accessibility to teachers and difficulty repairing broken instruments. Khartal is low maintenance, inexpensive, super durable and its made locally in Brooklyn, NY. We will upload free online tutorials on how to get started our website and provide the ability to schedule a Skype lesson or a 1-on-1 private lesson.
“Khartal is tap dancing with you fingers, it’s a cross-cultural percussion instrument that can be played with almost any genre of music. Khartal is one of the oldest but most unknown percussion instruments of our time. Our intention is to teach, preserve and introduce this forgotten art form to a world-wide audience. We want to distribute Khartal to every music store across the world.”