There are many types of musical instrument around the world, with dozens in common use. Both the North and South of India have their own specialities and their own styles of musical performance. They do share a few instruments but not many. Flute, guitar, harmonium and violin may be found almost anyhere in India but the last three all originated in other countries.|
How they are played depends on the type of instrument. Maybe it has strings, maybe it has membranes and maybe it has holes. So, you may need to pluck it or to bow it or to strike it or to blow it.
Here are some stringed instruments, which generally require a bow to excite the strings: double bass, sarangi, violin.
The first and last are Western instruments. Sometimes they are also played by plucking the strings. A bow would not normally be used to play Jazz with a double bass. Violins are increasingly popular in India, particularly in the South.
Next is a stringed instrument, with a trapezoidal shape, which is neither bowed nor plucked: the strings of a santoor are struck with small wooden hammers. Right Time Music offers a sample from the Sona Rupa CD Harmony. The music is presented in an easy-listening style and features flute and santoor, without any percussion instruments. You can play the sample from here. The santoor starts to play at 10 seconds.