Though Hindustani classical music is mainly focused on the vocal performance but a number of instruments have also associated with it since ancient times. In other parts of the world, instrumental form of music is more popular than vocal music. The reason being, it is more soul-stirring than the other forms according to them. Additionally, different style, faster tempo and no language barrier of Indian instrumental music are other reasons for its extreme popularity in South Asia.
A number of musical instruments are associated with both the forms of classic music of India. These include Veena, Sitar, Sarod, Tabla, Santoor, Shenai, Bansuri, Pakhavaj and Sarangi; Veena being the most important one. It is regarded as one of the most traditional and oldest musical instruments. It is a string instrument that induces a soul-stirring and soothing effect on listeners. Nowadays, it is played by very few artists and has been superseded by the Sarod and the Sitar. Although they are truly Indian musical instrument but they owe their origin to Persian influences. Apart from this, there are several other strings or plucked instruments including surbahar, santoor, sursingar and other sliding guitars. In Carnatic or South Indian music, Ghatam, Kanjira, Veena, Flute, Tanpura, Violin and Morsing are the popular ones.
Indian music has seen a lot of changes over a period of time. Other musical instruments that are not of Indian origin have also gained popularity. The fusion music (classical and western music) is more experimental in nature and uses all types of instruments including violin, guitar and harmonium. The instruments have been classified under different categories such as wind instruments, bow instruments, plucked instruments and string stuck instruments. Various instruments are used to induce different effects of varying degree. They have magical powers that can affect the mood and tone of the listeners and take them to an entirely different state of mind.
The well known personalities associated with instrumental form of Indian classical music including Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Nikhil Banerji and Ustad Amzad Ali Khan have played an important role in popularizing the musical instruments. Ustad Zakir Hussain and his father Allah Rakha have immensely popularized the percussion instrument Tabla in the world. The most striking feature of instrumental form of music is that it breaks all the barriers of the language and is regarded as one of the purest forms of music that can be understood by anyone and everyone.