Musical Instruments and Sound Objects of Assam

Musical Instruments, Sound Objects

Musical Instruments and Sound Objects of Assam

Musical instruments form the core of Assamese folk festival, Bihu – locally known as Rongali or Bohag, Kati or Kongali and Boghali or Magh Bihu, celebrated at different times of the year to mark the different seasons. The folk instruments are heavily inspired by nature and thus, are said to emulate the voices of birds and animals.

Few of the important instruments used extensively during Bihu and otherwise in Assam are,

  • Pepa – predominantly made of buffalo horn, bamboo and brass metal flute played by the men. The atmosphere is said to be euphoric when combined with dhol during Bihu.
  • Gogona – this traditional vibrating instrument with a distinctive sound is made of bamboo. It is of two types –  Ramdhan Gogona played by the men and Lahori Gogona, played by the women in Assam. The make of Gogona slightly differs in length and width depending on the gender it’s made for.
  • Sutuli – this clay baked wind instrument with a hole in the middle produces the sound of the Asian koel when played during the celebrations. Over the years, bamboo has also been used to make the Sutuli.
  • Dhol – one of the most significant parts of the folk culture of Assam, this cylindrical wooden drum is beaten with a bamboo stick and hand to emit a strong, thumping sound. Varied sizes of dhol are used by different tribal communities in Assam. Some of the prominent forms include Dhepa Dhol, Jay Dhol, Bor Dhol and Kavi Dhol.
  • Bihutal – this instrument comprises of two brass made cymbals which are rubbed/struck together to produce a rhythmic sound.


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