Thavil : The rhythm of south India
Tavil is played generally with Nagaswaram and Saxophone. Here one can have glimpse of high toned Tavil with Saxophones. (Video by team leader)
Thavil or Tavil is a very famous and a commonly used instrument in south India. It is used in folk songs, very commonly in temples and in Carnatic music. It is a very importantly played instrument on occasions like weddings, Kola and other traditional festivals and ceremonies. It is often accompanied by Nadswaram.
This instrument is made up of wood, animal skin and steel. It consists of a hallow cylindrical shell made of jack fruit wood. The left membrane is made of goat's skin and the right membrane is made of water buffalo's skin. The right face has a larger diameter than the left face. The right face of this instrument is stretched tightly to produce high pitch and sharp sound while the left face is kept loose to allow the pitch to bounce. This indigenous percussion instrument Thavil is generally 47 cm in length.
This instrument is played on in sitting position or it is tied on the shoulder with a
cloth called Nadai.The modern Thavil has a body made of jack wood and it is surrounded by steel rings. Two skins are separately fixed to this ring with steel tapes which are coated with plastic material. The modern caps or rings for playing this instrument are made of very fine cement type material.
The right head is played on with the right palm,wrist and fingers. The player usually wears hard rings (also called caps) on all fingers of right hand. They are made of rice flour or Maida flour called 'Koodu' to give a deeper effect and volume. The left head is played on by using a short, thick stick made of the portia tree(Poovarasam).
|The rings or caps used while playing Thavil|
It is a traditional musical instrument of the ancient city of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. It is also said that this instrument was originated in this place. So any religious, social or cultural event in Thanjavur is incomplete without this traditional instrument.
Thavil is played by the artistes with great enthusiasm and
fervor. The trained musicians of the rich Carnatic music sing
in tune with the beats of Thavil. The loud beats of Thavil
relieve the audiences of the stress and strains of daily
mundane life and refreshes them with renewed energy and
An artiste plays Tavil with saxophone. Photo by Nandan Herlekar
By Shivani Rao