Nadaswaram

Name: Nadaswaram.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Shawms.
Family: Mangala vadyam.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Area: Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The Nadaswaram, [in Tamil: நாதஸ்வரம் Natasvaram ; in  Kannada: ನಾದಸ್ವರಂ Nādasvaraṁ; in Telugu: నాదస్వరం in Hindi: in Malayalam; നാദസ്വരം Nadaswaram and in नादस्वरम Nadaswaram] it is a double-reed shawm from Tamil Nadu. It is used as a classical instrument in Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. Considered among the worlds loudest non-brass wind instruments.

In Tamil culture, the nadaswaram is considered to be very auspicious. The nadaswaram is a key musical instrument played in almost all Hindu weddings and temples of the South Indian tradition.

Usage: It is part of the family of instruments known as Mangala vadyam [in Hindi; मंगला वदाम mangala ; in Hindi: मंगला vadyam] . lit. mangala [auspicious], [in Hindi; वाद्य; vadya lit. meaning instrument]. The instrument is usually played in pairs and accompanied by the thavil. The nadaswaram is often accompanied with the ottu.

Playing Techniques: In playing the nadaswaram  the notes are produced by adjusting the pressure and strength of the air-flow into the pipe. Due to its intense volume and strength it is largely an outdoor instrument and much more suited for open spaces than for indoor concerts.

Construction: It is a wind instrument similar to the North Indian shenai but much longer. With a trunk of wood spun from a lathe. A large flaring metal bell is affixed to the bottom end of the conical bore the bell is either made of wood or metal. The nadaswaram contains three parts namely, kuzhal [குழல்] being the main conical body, thimiru [in Tamil: திமிரு Timiru] and [in Tamil: மனசு anasu].

The top portion has a metal staple is inserted into a small metallic tube of a thin diameter, in equivalent of the diameter of a pencil or less. The [in Tamil: கெண்டை kendai] which carries the mouthpiece made of reed.

Accessories for the nadaswaram are often packaged with this instrument. They include spare reeds, a small ivory or horn needle is attached to the instrument, and used to clear the reed of saliva and other debris and allows free passage of air. A metallic bell [keezh anaichu] forms the bottom end of the instrument.

Traditionally the body of the nadaswaram is made out of a tree called aacha [hardwickia] in Tamil ஆச்சா; Hindi अंजन. Although nowadays bamboo, sandalwood [Santalum L.], copper, brass, ebony [Diospyros Ebenum] and ivory are used. For wooden instruments, old wood is considered the best. Sometimes wood that has been salvaged from demolished old houses is used.

The nadaswaram has seven finger-holes, and five additional holes drilled at the bottom which can be stopped with wax to modify the tone. The nadaswaram has a range of two and a half octaves, similar to the Indian bansuri flute, which also has a similar fingering. Unlike the flute where semi and quarter tones are produced by the partial opening and closing of the finger holes.

Citations: Bibliography: O. Gosvami, 1 January 1961 – The story of Indian music: its growth and synthesis. Scholarly Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-403-01567-2 ; Retrieved 25 December 2012. Andankoil AV Selvarathnam Pillai ; B. Kolappan 2010-12-15 ; “Arts / Music – An art that’s still awaiting its due”. The Hindu – Retrieved 2012-01-09. Sampath, Revathi 16 March 2008 ;

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