Friday, September 4, 2009

Gogona - A kind of jewish harp

(Note: This post was previously published in Bamboo Lounge)

(* This post was inspired by Kavita and Jim. *)
(Hello friends,i would like to introduce you to Pramathesh ,he is my guest for this post..i liked this post a lot and wanted to share with you all.Thank you Pramathesh for sharing this post .)

Picture 1: This side faces your mouth

Picture 2: This side faces audience

I was walking past a musical instrument shop and saw this wonderful instrument called Gogona which I often wondered but never tried. Gogona is a type of Jew's harp, a vibrating reed instrument that is used primarily in the traditional Bihu music in Assam. Gogona is an integral part of Bihu and it gives an extra flaovour to Bihu. Gogona or Jew's Harp or Jaw Harp is a simple musical instrument but whoever designed it was a genius. It is found in different parts of the world, so its origin is unknown. Or, perhaps it was developed simultaneously in different parts of the world. The easiest way to learn is to silently pronounce A-E-I-O-U while we give slight pushes to the right end. Now, you can play the instrument according to the beats of the music. Improvisations are your contribution.


  1. sounds very interesting..sadly, i am unable to open the link in the white blank space..dunno why..anywy congrats mr pramathesh..and best wishes..

  2. fascinating sounds, amazing how each culture has their own music and instruments...yet there are simularities. I lived in Brazil for a year in 1971 and they do a fight dance called Capoeira with it's own musical instruments made from a bow and basket they shake. Will have to look online for that. thanks for a very interesting post.

  3. @RAmesh
    Thanks Ramesh.

    @ Lin

    Nice information about Capoeira. I would definitely like to know more about it.

    I am unable to exploit this instrument well, because it's been only 3 days I started playing. But, I have seen some people who can make it sound like a bass guitar.

  4. This blog is supposed to be Kavita's Room. Please excuse me for my presence. I am just a lost kid who mistakenly came here. :P

  5. I am hearing about this instrument for the first time. Sounds interesting. But I am not able to open 'you tube'. Will try tomorrow again, Kavita and Pramathesh!

  6. Hello Mr. Lost Kid, a very fascinating instrument you have here.
    This reminds me of the sound we used to make with rubber bands held between our teeth. We would pull one end with one hand and pull on the bands with the other hand and try to make music.Very similar sound.
    As usual this was a very informative post. Thanks.

  7. Oh, how very interesting!
    I enjoyed it...thanks so much for sharing!


  8. This is very intersting! Thank you, Kavita and Mr. Pramathesh for sharing this. I'm so glad you had the video so we could hear what it sounded like. It reminds me a little of something we might have heard in Australia. It looks like a handy instrument that you can carry and perform with wherever you go.

  9. @ Sandhya

    Lots of people are complaining about the video.
    There is another video by Stud Singh:

    @ Aparna
    It is the same technique as the rubber band except here one end is free. So, it is like the harmonic bar.

    @ Margie


    @ Kay

    I would like to hear more about the instrument. I am curious.

  10. Thanks for the excellent video! I don't think the early Hawaiians had such an instrument. So why is it called the Jew Harp? Did it originate with the Jews? Or is that another spelling for Jaw?

  11. In Italy - particularly in the southern island of Sicilia - know very well tool.
    The shape is a little different
    but the sound is the same.
    Is called "scacciapensieri" ( translated about "caststhoughts")
    I'm enclosing a link to listen.


  12. wonderful kavitha,thanx for letting us know about this instrument.Hearing it for the first time,excellent :)

  13. @Gigi
    Jews have nothing to do the name. Origin of this name is best avoided. I have given Jew's Harp reference only for familiarity. The Jew's Harp is a metal instrument. It is also used in Carnatic Music and it is known as "Morsing".

    Gogona is a similar instrument so I have said it as a kind of Jew's Harp.

  14. My Grandfather use to play a metal mouth thing, which he called a juice harp. But the sound was very similar to what it shows in the video you posted. He would play his harp while some of my aunts and uncles would play their guitars and harmonicas. Here is a web site that shows a phto of pretty much what my Grandfather's looked like.
    I don't know if it will take you to the spot or not. Have a happy week-end and thanks for dropping by my place.

  15. wats the song in the background? someone is trying to sing to the tunes of Gogona....the video goes on for 2 minutes...i wud be out of breath by then!!!...u have done it brilliantly in one go.
    Remins me of those guys who come around in the streets playing a different tune, a unique sounds very similar to that.

  16. Juice harp is another name for Jew's harp

  17. @ Rush
    It is a home video, the song in the background is someone else singing something else. :)

  18. hearing it first time...interesting!sounds good.

  19. That was a very informative post once again Kavita and thanks Pramathesh for sharing this.

  20. Amazing. Nice to hear such a wonderful instrument. I enjoyed your post very much.

  21. Sounds interesting..have never heard of it before :D

  22. If you visit Assam, buy one Gogona. A well scaled gogona might be priced @ Rs. 50.

  23. vow... it sounds nice ...even my kids enjoyed it...i like the song tera na hona jaane... .thanks.

  24. Thats really interesting!!
    Music n knowledge has really no boundaries..!!

  25. आपकी इस शानदार पोस्ट को पढ़ कर बहुत आनन्द आया.
    आन्ध्रप्रदेश और कर्नाटक में मोरसिन्ग, तमिलनाडू में मुगुरसिन्ग, आसाम में गोगोना, केरल में मुखुरसिन्ग और राजस्थान में मोरचंग के नाम से जाने जाना वाला ये लोक वाद्य आदिम सभ्यता से हमारे साथ है. चीन में तीसरी सदी की एक पुस्तक में इसका चित्र मिलता है. मूलतः ये एशिया का वाध्य है किन्तु समस्त विश्व में विभिन्न आकारों और स्वरूप में आज भी उपस्थित है. अफ़गानी लोग इसे चंग कहते हैं, बोस्नियाई ड्रोम्बुल्जा, चीनी इसे काओ झियांग ऎसे ही लगभग हर देश में इसकी उपस्थिति है और एक अलग नाम भी. यह तन्तु और फ़ूंक वाध्य का मिला जुला रूप है इसके स्वर सिर्फ़ बीहू में ही नहीं वरन हर प्रदेश के नॄत्य में विशेष स्थान रखते है.
    आपने जो वीडियो दिखाया है वह किसी शौकिया कलाकार की प्रस्तुति लग रही है. भारतीय शास्त्रीय संगीत मे भी इसको उचित सम्मान से देखा जाता है. तबला के साथ इसकी युगलबन्दी और कर्नाटक संगीत मे तो अनगिनत उदाहरण मिलते हैं.
    क्या ये मुझे मिल सकता है ?

  26. @ Kishore
    Aapka comment pad kar mann prafuulit ho gaya. Itni saari jaankari paakar khudko bhaagyashaali paaya.

    Aur ha, iss post se pehle mujhe itni jaankaari nahi thi issiliye mujhe koi dhang ka video nahi mila. Toh maine khud koshish kar yeh vadya sikha aur video banaya.

    Bhul chuk ke liye kshama kijiyega.

  27. प्रमथेश जी,
    [आपका नाम सही ना लिखा हो तो माफ़ कर दीजियेगा ] आप सच में बधाई के पात्र हैं, हमारे लोक संगीत और लोक वाद्यों की जानकारी, इन्हीं प्रयासों से अपनी अगली पीढी के लिए सुरक्षित रखी जा सकती है. वीडियो में आप हैं ये जान कर और अधिक प्रसन्नता हुई. मैं बहुत खुश हूँ कि आप इसे बजा पाए, महत्वपूर्ण बात है कि आपने वाद्य के प्रति असीम लगाव दिखाया है. मुझे अधिक जानकारी नहीं है किन्तु सुना है कि ये वाध्य बांस का बना होता है ? हमारे यहाँ लोहे और पीतल से बने मोरचंग बजाये जाते हैं. मैं कोशिश करता हूँ कि आपको मोरचंग भिजवा सकूँ.

    @ कविता जी,
    नमस्ते, आप असम प्रदेश की संस्कृति की राजदूत हैं मेरे लिए. बहुत सुंदर पोस्ट, ऐसे ही खोज के नयी जानकारियाँ हमारे लिए लाती रहेंगी तो ये दिल आपको दुआएं देता रहेगा.

  28. Kishore jee,
    Namaskaar.Apne hamare hausle ko barava diya is ke leye bahut dhanyavad.Na he sirf apke lekhan ke varan apke prati bhi mere drishti mein bahut samman hai,aur mein khud ko bhagyashali manti hun ke aap se blogger ke zareye parichay hua.....apka comment bahut informative aur rochak tha...yahee healthy interaction hum sab bhartiyon ko ek doosre se aur bhe sashaktata se jorta hain....ek baar aur apka dhanyavaad.

  29. kavita u r among my best friends...cheers

  30. Feels nice and interesting to know about this instrument called as Gogona :)

    And Didi, here in the comments column, I agree with what Aparnaji said - yes it reminds me of the sound made with rubber bands during our school days :)

  31. At last, an instrument that even I can play...

  32. Kishore Ji,

    Namashkaar. Mujhe prasannata hai ki aap mera naam sahi likh paaye varna yeh mere jivaan ki bahut hi duhad ghatna hai ki adhiktam log mere naam ko galat likhte hai (:P)

    Gogona na hi sirf baas ka banta hai, balki isme mukhyatah hothon ka prayog hota hai. Jabki lohe ya pital ke vadya me daaton ka prayog hota hai.

    Aur ha main aapki morchang ki pratiksha karoonga. Mera Pata:

    Mr. Pramathesh Borkotokym

    @ Ramesh
    Your smiling face makes the comment section very friendly :)

    @ Sai

    It is very similar to rubber bands. We also got an SUPW project in out school to make a gogona out of rubber bands. Try making one.

    @ Dad
    It is one of the easiest instruments to play. You just need practice to get the perfect synchronization between your thumb and tongue.