Text Box: DOTARA

Class : Chrodophone


                    The strings of the Dotara are tuned to different notes. According to   researcher and author , Dr. Anil Saikia, the two strings in the middle are kept  in the same scale. The strings on the top and bottom are tuned four notes up and four notes down respectively . The strings are plucked and pressed on the neck to produces different   sounds of the Dotara.

                  Generally Dotara is made from Jackfruit timber in Assam. A piece of timber of 2. 5 feet in length and 6 inch in diameter is selected for making a Dotara.  One end of the piece is bored to a Boat shaped hollow. Then the diameter is gradually reduced to form the neck part of Dotara. The other end of the piece is again wider, and the headstock is bored there. Tuning pegs are introduced in the headstock at desired places. The hollow is traditionally covered with the skin of Monitor Lizard. Some people make a few holes in the skin for better  effect.

                    The Strings of Dotara should be of Muga fiber, however, different materials are used now a days. The Strings are fastened to the bottom of the hollow and taken to the tuning pegs over the skin cover and the neck. The tuning is done by adjusting the tension in the strings with the help of the pegs. To lift the strings from the body wooden Bridge ( called Foring of Ghora ) are used.

                  The plectrum is made of goat/ deer horn , or sometimes a  conical shaped bamboo or wooden piece is used.


               History of Dotara’s use in Assamese folk dates to time  beyond history. Dotara is accompanied with Kamrupee and Goalporia Lokageet, apart from which it is used in folk music of different regions of Assam , and semi religious songs of the Islam population of Assam, such as  Jikir & Jari etc.


                                     Having its mention in ancient literature of Assam ,such as in works of Madhava Kandali and others , Dotatra is an instrument being used in Assamese folk since ages. Dotara is a popular instrument in Bengal and Bihar as well. In those places, Fakirs and The Baouls play Dotatra. But the Assamese Dotara is slightly different in construction and use. Dotara doesn’t sound to be an Assamese word, and it means an instrument having two strings. But the Dotara used in folk music of Assam, generally has four strings. Dotara resembles a Toakri , however differs substantially in Shape, size, look  and sound.

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1. Badya Abhigyan—   Dr. Debajit  Saikia—   Sri Sri Auni aati Xatra


 Dwijen Gogoi – Serekapar – Sibsagar


To  listen to the  sound of Dotara click above