Ghatam - An Introduction

Ghatam is an earthenware pot which is the oldest percussion instrument used in Carnatic Music. It is different from ordinary mud pots and is made up of a special type of baked clay mixed with copper, iron or brass fillings. The mouth of the Ghatam is open and is played with both hands, wrists as well as nails.

Instructor: Umashankar Vinayakram

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Enrolled Students

11

Suggested Time

4 weeks

Pricing

 600

Language

English

Rating

5

Unit 1: History of Ghatam

History 16 min

Ghatam produce a distinctive metallic sound and are made in several sizes, each size having a different pitch. As used in Karnatak music, the ghatam is positioned with its mouth pressed against the player's stomach. The player taps the surface of the ghatam with the fingers and the base of the palm and changes the pitch and resonance of the instrument by varying the pressure of the pot against the stomach. The ghatam is usually found in folk music, but it has also become popular in classical music genres. In Kashmir the instrument is known as a noot and is placed in an upright position for playing.
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Unit 2: Interview with a Maestro

Interview of Padmashree T.H Vikku Vinayakaram 5 min

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Unit 3: Ghatam Basics

Intro, sitting posture & types of ghatam 3 min

Mr. Uma Shankar has followed on his father’s footsteps, Padamshree T.H Vikku Vinayakram.. Made mainly of clay backed with brass or copper filings with a small amount of iron filings, the size of the ghatam varies according to its pitch. Ghatam is a clay pot with narrow mouth. From the mouth, it slants outwards to form a ridge. Fold your legs on top of another so that it becomes a base for the instrument to rest. The types of Ghatam are: Manamadurai, Rajasthani and Udu.
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Tuning & Fingering 2 min

It cannot be tuned as it doesn’t have a pitch. One has to use different Ghatam’s to get the required tonal sound. There are seven syllables ,tones or strokes of the Ghatam – Tha, Thi, Thom, Nom, Ku, Na, Gum. Keep the thumb & index fingers as one, the lower part of the palm plus the middle, ring, thumb as one to produce different sounds.
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Unit 4: Lessons

Getting Started 12 min

There are 5 basic lessons to familiarize you with the Ghatam and its sound production. Mr. Umashankar along with his disciple help you through these lessons in a step by step manner pinpointing areas which might seem difficult.
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Unit 5: Deeper Understanding

Farenhs 17 min

All the percussionists (if there are more than one) join together in a crescendo for the first time to execute a series of what is called pharans (pronounced farans), which are nothing but continuous fast passages.
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Moras 9 min

Mora is a standard set pattern and is followed by most of the percussionists. It also serves as a cue for the main artiste and the rasikas (this knowledge can easily be cultivated). It is usually preceeded by pharan and then succeeded by a theermanam.
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Unit 6: Concert Pattern & Student Exhibition

Solo Performance 4 min

Sree Umashankar gives a short musical prsentation of his prowess on the Ghatam highlighting the differnt syllables and showcasing a performance where all finger placements are highlighted.  
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Student Exhibition 3 min

A concert can be held without a second line percussion instrument, there is certainly a difference when a Ghatam, Kanjira or Morching joins with the Mridangam in a concert. Normally a dhothi is good enough. When we put on a shirt we feel a completeness. When a " Angavastra " is put on it adds to our get up. Added to this if we wear perfumes also we feel satisfied. In the same way the second line percussion instruments add a beauty and completeness to the concert. During " Swaras " when Mridangam is played for main artiste, the second line percussion instruments are played for violin. During " Thani Avarthanams " or Laya Vinyas, the new sound of the second instrument combines with the sound of mridangam and gives a beauty to the " Thani ". Practice  - Ti Ta tha ka, ku nom tha ka , dhum ghum(palm for both) ta ka
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