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One reason Indian music is so distinct is the instruments that are used.  I got a harmonium for Christmas and I’m learning how to play it!  A harmonium is a keyboard instrument in which the tones are produced by pumping air through metal reeds by means of steadily pushed bellows.  It’s kind of like an accordion, but you sit on the floor to play it, and the sound is really unique.  A Mridanga is a double-sided drum made of clay.  Kartals are hand cymbals.  A vina is a lute-like instrument in the zither family.  It has seven strings and a pear-shaped fretted neck.  This is the instrument that the goddess Saraswati plays.  A tanpura is a stringed instrument similar to a sitar.  It is usually made of dried pumpkin or wood, and it has four to six strings played one after the other.  It is usually background for other instruments.  And of course, Indian music is often accompanied by exuberant singing and dancing.

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