Read about the Morchang – An Indian folk music Instrument or Jaw Harp that makes you a resonating body to produce musical sounds.
If you are an Indian, you must have heard the Morchang sounds in Indian folk music. The jaw harp has the typical sound texture identified from Rajasthani folk music.
People who are not aware of the Rajasthani music may still recall the sounds from the funny cartoons or the comedy skits.
The reason you are unaware about this instrument is that it is being rarely used in modern music and slowly losing its popularity in Indian music scenario.
What is Morchang?
The Morchang or Jaw harp is the 1500-year old musical instrument. It is also known as the Mouth Harp or Jews Harp. The Morchang has it’s origin in Asia and known to many cultures by different names.
It was used by Indian folk musicians to entertain the royal families during the 15th century.
A typical jaw harp can be made of any material from metal, wood or even plastic.
The Jews Harp belongs to the lamellophone instrument family and also known as plucked idiophones.
By Photo: VOA – D. Prichep – VOA, http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/Ancient-Instrument-Twangs-its-Way-Around-the-Globe-127824328.html, Public Domain, Link
Why plucked idiophone?
We need to understand the working mechanism to understand the classification.
How does a Morchang work?
The Morchang consists of a flexible metal reed attached to an oval frame. This reed is placed in the musician’s mouth and plucked using the fingers to produce sounds.
However, each jaw harp can produce only one musical note. The style of playing and various techniques can be used to create multiple harmonies or overtones that create vibrant sounds to accompany other sections of music.
We know that music instruments need a resonating body for producing sound. However, the Morchang doesn’t have a resonating body of its own. Instead, it uses musicians mouth to resonate the sounds plucked using the finger.
This means you are part of the musical instrument while playing the instrument itself.
Listen to Mohan Lal Lohar playing the Morchang.
The Morchang is slowly fading away from Indian music due to the popularity of commercial music. However, you may hear the sounds in any authentic Rajasthani cultural music performance.
The instrument needs a wider audience. It can be used creatively in modern music to suit various styles including the dubstep and hip-hop music.
Thanks for reading my 90th article in the series 100-day music blogging challenge. Stay tuned for more informative articles.