Published By: Rinks

7 Santal And Tribal Musical Instruments

Music has no language, and if you are inclined to tribal musical instruments, this article will give you everything you need to know.

Flutes, drums, and other musical instruments have always been a component of tribal life. Traditional Indian music and dance always fit the mood of the occasion, be it a social gathering or a religious ritual. In addition to the flute (Tiriao), the two types of drums (Tumda and Tamak) are the three most fundamental instruments in tribal music. The Tumda is a double-headed drum in the shape of a frustum; its left and right halves are covered with animal skins. The left one is bigger all the way around. The Tamak is a spherical drum with a broader rim that is struck with two drumsticks. The tiao, essentially a bansuri, is a bamboo zither with five finger holes. Here you'll learn about some of the most common tribal instruments used in India.


The Santal people's most familiar musical instrument is a bamboo flute featuring seven holes. It's interpreted as a symbol of allure and affection.

Dhodro banam

According to Santal legend, a bowed instrument fashioned from a single log of wood is said to have originated in human tissue. It has a heart (korom), a neck (hook), and a head (bohok) that is typically beautifully carved in the form of a human head and also of creatures; the stomach (lac) is fixed with an animal skin on which lies the extension (sadam, lighted, horse). The ear (lutur) of a head serves as a tuning peg, and the mouth is opened and closed with a gut string.

Phet banam

The phet banam is a three- or four-stringed instrument. Completely covering the instrument's curved paunch with animal skin.


Tumdak, also known as madol, is a dependable drum made of thick mud. Both heads, the larger of which is protected by ox skin and subject to beatings from both hands, are the same size.


A pot drum with a bowl shape. The bullock skin that covers its frame of paper-thin metal sheets is pounded into shape with a pair of sticks.


They're the chimes that artists attach to their feet and use to make rhythmic noises.


A wedding staple, the Singa is a wind instrument typically performed in groups. Made of copper, the instrument has a conical hole at one end and a mouthpiece at the other for blowing.

Like tribal dancing, tribal melodies are incredibly diverse. The Santali name for music is "Sereng," which describes the wide range of styles within the Santali community. Their singing is usually meant to accompany dancing, but some songs must fit that description. The most popular type of tribal dance is a group of women holding hands to create a half circle, with a smaller group of men playing percussion in the center. A similar tune is performed during the planting of rice. One such tune performed on hot summer nights is the Gam Sereng.