Type: Percussion > Idiophone.
India > South Asia.
The Jal Tarang or in Tamil ஜலதரங்கம்,
Jal Yantra, Jalatarangam or Jalatharam is a struck idiophone
composed of small porcelain tea cups filled with water to produce a
particular pitch. This allows for the instrument to be tuned no matter
the raga being performed. This musical instrument is often performed
as a solo instrument in Carnatic (South Indian Classical music). A
complete Jal Tarang has 22 cups. Musicians today prefer porcelain
cups, when this musical instrument is played it is arranged as a half
circle in front of the musician.
documentation of this musical instrument is found in the Vatsayayana
Kamasutra as playing on musical glasses filled with water. Playing this
musical instrument is one of the 64 arts and science to be studied by a
maiden. In modern times this instrument has fallen into obscurity
literally the name Jal Tarang means "waves in water" but indicates the
movement of sound created or modified with the aid of water. Some
scholars think that in the ancient period these musical instruments were
in routine use around the eastern border of India.
According to the Sangeet Parijaat this medieval musical treatise this
musical instrument is classified under the category of "Ghan-Vadya" or
(idiophonic instruments) musical instruments whose sound is produced by
the striking of a surface.