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GALLERY


Thavil

The thavil is a South Indian drum used in Carnatic music in the nagaswaram ensemble and in folk music. A typical ensemble includes 2 thavil players (both right-handed and left-handed players), 2 nagaswaram players (traditional double reed instruments although Western clarinets can also be found in place of nagaswarams) and some times a percussionist who marks the talam on a pair of small cymbals. Nagaswaram is the term for both the entire ensemble as well as the double reed instrument.

The thavil is played with a stick in one hand (on the smaller bass head) and the index, middle, and ring fingers with thimbles of the other hand (on the larger treble head). The technique and rhythmic style are very refined, a difference with other Carnatic percussion instruments being that the thavil makes much more use of independence between the hands than the mridangam or ghatam (and the tabla in North India used in Hindustani music). The top photo is a side view of a thavil. The second photo down is the smaller bass head, which has a black patch on the inside center. The third photo down is the larger treble head. The bottom photo is a modern thavil with the decorative wrap removed to show the metal tuning hardware used to independently tune each head.

 

 

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