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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