Text Box: Ppa ( Mohor Xingor Ppa)

Type: Aero phone

There are four main components of a Ppa,

1. Supohi

2. Thuri or Rif

3. Nalisa or Gobnola

4. Xinga or Thula

A dismantled Ppa

Assembling & testing Ppa

1. Oxomor badyajontro Sri Dharmeswar Duwara- Bani Mandir

2. Bihure Birina Pat Sri Joykanta Gandhiya and Dr. Nomal Gogoi _ Prthviraj Media

1. Sri Dwijen Gogoi Serekapar; Sibsagar

2. Sri Ananda Gogoi Nitai Pukhuri; Sibsagar.

3. Sri Sanjib Gogoi Bhadoi Pans- Ali Duliajan

Text Box: Page credits :

      composition : Bornali 
      Translation : Abhijit
      Editing : Abhijit 
      Photographs : Pallavi
       Sketch : Abhijit

copyright www.anvesha.co.in 2011

There are two types of Ppa

A) Gutiya Ppa/ Gowal Ppa ( Simplex)

B) Juria Ppa ( Duplex)

 

Gutiya Ppa/ Gowal Ppa : The most common type of Ppa, made of a single Horn is called a Gutiya Ppa. In ancient times, the Buffalo keepers made this Ppa of easily available buffalo horn and it was often found with them. Since it was the favorite Musical Instrument of Buffalo Keepers, is was aptly named as Gowal Ppa ( The Milkmens Ppa)

 

Juria Ppa : As the name suggests, this Ppa is a combination of two Gutiya Ppas, tuned to the same scale. This Ppa has two Xingas, two Nalisas and two Thuris, but has only one Supohi. Two holes are made in the Supohi to accommodate two Nalisas. The Juria Ppa if more intricate and hence costly.

All the parts are assembled methodically and then air is blown from mouth to play the Ppa. Ppa playing not an easier art than making a Ppa. The tune of the Ppa is dependent on the Supohi, - the thickness of the aperture(the Jibha), the gap, and the length to what it is inserted in the Nalisa is the variables to tune of a Ppa. The length and shape of the Xinga, the position of the key hoes on the Buloni are also important. To tune a number of Ppas in the same scale, apart from the above, wall thickness of the Xinga, its length, curvature, diameter, shape of the Nalisa, and placement of the keyholes etc. also need to be considered.

The sound Ppa in inspired by the soothing sound of mild breeze- starts with low pace and then slowly builds up the tempo. The skill of breath control of the player is unique while playing Ppa, because they use a Breathless technique.- that means while breathing in also, he keeps on blowing to the Ppa, by controlling his facial muscles- thereby producing uninterrupted sound . The player keeps the beat with the first key hole and plays with other three to produce notes. A Bihu songs explains the technique of Ppa playing

Ppati bojabor tiniti aanguli majorti anguli lore,( Three fingers to play the Ppa, the middle once would dance,)

Jeteke loriba Ppuwar Anguli teteke jeuti sore. (More the fingers dance, soothing the sound of Ppa would be )

Notes of Ppa :

The first note of Ppa is

Ri. Ri. Ri. Ta. Bi. Ta.

Ri. Ri. Ri. Ta. Bi. Ta.

Addendum Ri. Ri. Ri. Talou., Taheti. Ti. Tilou

Ri. Ta. Lou. Ti. Tolou. Ta. Ta.

Second Note :

Tit. Tit. Tit. Taheti. Ti. Ti. Ti.

Taheti. Taheti. Taheti. Ti. Talow.

Ri. Ri. Ri. Taheti. Ti. Lou.

Taheti. Ti. Tilou. Bi. Tolou. T. T.

It might be worth mentioning that, because scarcity of Buffalo horns now a days and strict govt. regulations, some folk artist are trying to fabricate Ppas with Bamboo. The bamboo Ppa in all respects similar to Mohor Xingor Ppa, but the Xinga part is also made of Bamboo.

 

Fabricating the Xinga from a Horn is a tedious job and needs special skills. The Horn is boiled in hot water after initial cleaning, which makes it tender and easy to mould. Some people bury the horn in mud for a few days, then removes the core, wraps it in Banana leaves and roasts it in fire to make it tender. Once it is tender a wooden mould is inserted in it to make it rounder as required. The pointed end is then cut to facilitate attaching the Nalisa. Sometimes the Xinga in braced with Bell Metal, but that is believed to be ornamental.

 

Supohi or the Mouth piece : Supohi is the part of Ppa the where air is blown in. The Supohi is attached to the Nalisa. Traditionally the Supohi is made of Bojal or the Nal (the Giant reed- a local grass plant) . But Bamboo Supohis are common too. One end of the Supohi is has a joint (node of a Bamboo ), a hole is made at that end with hot iron needle so that the Nalisa can in inserted into that. It is important to be careful so that the Thuri , which is fitted to the Nalisa doesnt touch the inner walls of the Supohi.

 

Thuri ( The Wind-way and Labium lip): The main sound producing element of Ppa is the Thuri , which is made of the stem of Nal or The Giant Reed. The Thuri is inserted tightly to the Nalisa. An about 2 inch piece of Nal is selected to make the Thuri, and a small aperture called Jibha or the Tongue is carefully cut from one side in the Node end of it, with a very sharp knife. Sometimes a piece of thread is inserted under the Jibha to maintain the gap. This work requires high skills of craft work and called Ppa bonokiuwa. Sometimes the Thuri is deep fried in Mustard oil, so that it is not spoiled by saliva while playing.

 

Nalisa or Gobnala or the Body : The Nalisa is in the middle part of the Instrument, to its one end the Supohi & The Thuri is connected and The Buffalo Horn to the other. The upper part of a matured bamboo Culm is used for making the Nalisa. Nalisa is 4 to 6 inches in length and almost half a inch in diameter. Our holes are made in a straight line in the Nalisa, which serve as the keys. This part of the Nalisa is called the Buloni. The artist plays in these hole with his fingers to produce different notes.

Xinga or Thula (The Bell) : This is the largest part of the Ppa is made of Buffalo horn, for this the Ppa got its name Mohor Xingor Ppa . This section works as a resonator to the air coming through the Nalisa from Thuri and significantly enhances the sound. The Horn of a dead buffalo is used to make the Xinga, however the selection of the horn is of particular importance for the Ppa to be good. The Short and round horns are considered better. Some makers are of the opinion that the horn of a black young female buffalo is the best for the Ppa. Moreover, it is also believed that the right horn gives a Khong Xinga ( The Alarm pipe) and the left side the Rong Xinga ( The Happy Pipe). However, it is difficult establish all these scientifically, but this is true that , the sound varies with the type of horn used. The Makers say that the horn is the best if the buffalo dies with 4 to 6 teeth. ( This is a traditional method of estimating age of cows & buffalos, by counting the number of lower incisors).

 

Ppa is a integral part of the Bihu. Lot of Bihu songs mention about and are related to Ppa . Ppa is generally played by a young Bihuwas ( A male Bihu artist) . When the Ppuwa ( the Ppa player) plays, the rest accompany him by clapping hands and playing the Toka. The Dhol is played with less intensity , so that the Ppuwa get the most importance.

 

Apart from Bihu, the Cow / Buffalo keepers playing Ppa riding a Buffalo, in the evening is a spectacular visual of Assamese rural life. The love stories about The Buffalo riding Ppuwa is one of the most favorite themes of Assamese Folklore.

 

One of the most important and charming Musical instruments of Assamese Bihu, is the Ppa. In age old literature on music the name of Ppa is mentioned frequently. During the reign of Ahom Kings in Assam, sounding Rong Xinga (The Happy Pipe) indicated good news and Khong Xinga ( The Alarm Pipe) indicated warning, thus the news of the Sate is passed to the Masses. The Ppa made from buffalo horn is basically a result of Chino- Tibetan influence in Assamese culture. But the Ppa used in Tibet is made of bell metal and significantly larger than Assamese Ppa.

 

However, how Ppa was introduced to Bihu or how it was developed as a musical instrument is not known very clearly. Some folklores suggest that, the horn of dead buffalo lying on the banks of Brahmaputra started to play itself in the breeze, and thus the idea of developing it to a musical instrument originated. Traditionally it is an instrument discovered and used by the Buffalo keepers and later on it the hands of the folk artist it was developed to a full flagged musical instrument.

 

Ppa is know by different names in different tribal communities of Assam, such as , the Missings call it Pempa, The Dimasas xuri the Rabhas Singra and the tea tribe calls it Ppati

Image from internet