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Ektar is a simple folk instrument.   It may be the oldest stringed instrument in the Indian subcontinent.   In its simplest form it is nothing more than a gourd which has been penetrated by a stick of bamboo.    Another piece of bamboo forms the tuning peg.   The bridge is nothing more than a coin, piece of coconut, plastic or similar object.   Ektars such as this are common in the south.   In the north, their construction is a little more complicated.   A membrane is stretched over the gourd and the bridge is placed over the taut membrane.   The ektar is an instrument which is associated with the saint Mira Bai.

The saints of maharashtra are known to have used this extensively in their renderings of Abhangs. It is still used in the Varkari Style.


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