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Music is a form of art, entertainment, and ritual that has been explored across nearly all human cultures in recorded history. During our free Spiral Music performance series on Wednesday evenings, many instruments popular in the Himalayas and surrounding regions are put in the spotlight for visitors to discover.

Last month, we introduced six unique instruments recently featured in Spiral Music performances. From the ney to the kitar, here are six more to discover every Wednesday night at the Rubin Museum.

1) Tabla

The tabla is a membranophone percussion instrument (similar to bongos). The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres. Want to see the instrument in action?Come check out Awa Sangho with The Brooklyn Raga Massive All-Stars on August 12th at The Rubin Museum and hear the tabla being played by Roshni Samlal.

2) Ney

The ney is an end-blown flute that figures prominently in Middle Eastern music. The ney has been played continuously for 4,500″“5,000 years, making it one of the oldest musical instruments still in use. When you blow into a ney, the air bounces off one inner side of the flute and which produces a unique and distinct sound that can be heard in this beautiful song:

3) Mbira

The mbira is an African musical instrument consisting of a wooden board (often fitted with a resonator) with attached staggered metal tines, played by holding the instrument in the hands and plucking the tines with the thumbs.

4) Koto

The koto is a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument. Koto are about 180 centimetres (71 in) length, and made from kiri wood. The instrument is usually placed on a flat surface while the strings are plucked using three finger picks. Want to hear how it sounds?

Watch this video of a Youtuber covering Adele’s infamous “Rolling in Deep” using the Koto:

5) Sarod

The sarod is a lute-like stringed instrument of India. Along with the sitar, it is among the most popular and prominent instruments in Hindustani classical music. The sarod is known for a deep, weighty, introspective sound. The word sarod roughly translates to “beautiful sound” in Persian, one of the many languages spoken in Afghanistan. Watch the video of the sarod (and the tabla) being played below, and decide for yourself whether the instrument lives up to its name:

6) Bansuri

The bansuri is a transverse flute of North Asia made from a single hollow shaft of bamboo with six or seven finger holes. In Hinduism, the Bansuri has a great cultural and religious significance due to association with Lord Krishna. Curious to know how it sounds? Come check out Awa Sangho with The Brooklyn Raga Massive All-Stars on August 12th at The Rubin Museum and hear the bansuri being played by Joshua Geisler.

Attend an upcoming Spiral Music performance and hear these instruments in person.