Pena (musical instrument)

ꯄꯦꯅꯥ(Pena) , also known as Tingtelia in Tangkhul Language is a mono string instrument falling in the lute category,[1] similar to some of the traditional Indian stringed musical instruments such as Ravanahatha, Ubo or the Kenda, found in various parts of the country.[2] It is the traditional music instrument of the Meetei community[1] of Manipur, India and some parts of Bangladesh and is played either solo or in group, in folk music or as the accompanying musical instrument for Lai Haraoba festivals.[1][3] Pena playing is becoming a dying art as only 145 active Pena players are reported in Manipur.[2][4] The Center for Research on Traditional and Indigenous Art (Laihui), an organization headed by renowned Pena player, Khangembam Mangi Singh has mandated vision to revive Pena music.[3]

Music of India
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, c. 1735 (Rajasthan)


Media and performance
Music awards
Music festivals
Music media
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthemJana Gana Mana
Regional music
Related instruments

History of the whistle

The Pena, considered to be one of the oldest Meetei musical instrument,[5] was once believed to be a part of luxurious living and was played at the royal gatherings.[4][1] However, the instrument slowly got associated with the folk culture of Manipur and Bangladesh where its presence became regular during festivals. Manipuri festival of Lai Haraoba fostered the use of the instrument considerably. Later, it also made its presence in the folk theatre.[2]

It is generally believed that the name of the instrument is a derivation of the ancient Meetei term, Pena sheijing Pena.[2][6] The Nagas call the instrument, Tingtelia.[2]

Uses Types

1.Yaikairol (for peoples to make wake up)

2.Lai-eekouba (By doing this to start Lai-haraoba festivals)

3.Khunung -Eesei (Folk songs )

4.Luhongba ( Marriage)

5.Wari -Liba ( narrating story by using this mussical instrument)

6.PuYa Paba (Reading PuYa by using this musical instrument )


The instrument consist of two parts, the main body, penamasa or dhorr which is similar to that of a violin and the bow, pena cheijing or chorr, which is more resembling an archery bow than a violin bow.[7] The main body is made out of bamboo, 10 to 11 inches long and 1 to 1.25 inches girth, which is fixed to a coconut shell cut in half, through two holes bore through the shell.[1] Two additional holes are also drilled on the coconut shell for acoustic purposes, one of which is covered by dried animal skin such as iguana skin and the other, left open. The tension of the string is controlled by a bamboo peg, called kaan and is fitted inside a hole drilled on the bamboo rod. A scroll, mogra, is also tied to the instrument tail.[2]

The bow is wooden and bears a curved flourish at one end which is made of metal. In some parts, the bow also features tiny metal bells. The string is traditionally made of horse hair but, sometimes, metal strings and strings made out of wood fiber are also used.[2]

Well-known performers

See also


  1. "Yahoo News". Yahoo News. 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  2. "Chandrakantha". Chandrakantha. 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  3. "Tehelka". Tehelka. 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  4. "Huyeien Lan Pao". Huyeien Lan Pao. 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  5. "Ani News". Ani News. 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  6. "Santoor". Santoor. 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  7. "Manipur Online". Manipur Online. December 23, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
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