Know your instruments: Morsing – Splendid sound

Srirangam Kannan

A morsing is a wind percussion instrument, mainly used in the Carnatic music. It can be categorised under lamellophones, which is in the category of plucked idiophones.

It consists of a metal ring in the shape of a horseshoe with two parallel forks which form the frame, and a metal tongue in the middle, between the forks, fixed to the ring at one end and free to vibrate at the other.

The metal tongue is bent at the free end in a plane perpendicular to the circular ring so that it can be struck and is made to vibrate. This bent part is called the trigger.

In South India, it features in Carnatic concerts and percussion ensembles. In Rajasthan it is called morchang and is used as percussion instrument in folk music. The morsing is placed between the teeth and held firmly in the hand and is struck using the other hand to produce sound.

Sundar

Movement of the player’s tongue, variations of the throat and blowing and sucking of air through the instrument produces different sounds or overtones. The morsing is firmly held in the hand, the frame or the ring between the palm and the fingers usually in the left hand.

Care should be taken to see that the middle part or the metal tongue is not being touched when held idle. Then the two parallel forks are gently pressed against the front upper teeth. The trigger is plucked with the tip of the index finger.

Sound is produced due to the vibration of the metal tongue of the morsing in the mouth and the throat cavity. Movement of the player’s tongue with constant plucking can produce very fast patterns of sound. By constricting the space in the mouth and throat many variations of sound can be produced.

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NT Bureau