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Nadaswaram

Nadaswaram

The SwarShala Indian music software includes Nadaswaram and over 80 other perfectly sampled virtual Indian instruments.

About Nadaswaram:

The Nadaswaram, sometimes known as nagaswaram, nadhaswaram, or nathaswaram, is a prominent South Indian classical musical instrument resembling the western oboe. It's a two-reed trumpet with a conical bore that gradually widens toward the bottom. The top half contains a metal staple through which a tiny metallic cylinder containing the reed mouthpiece is put. A little ivory or horn needle is connected to it, along with extra reeds, and is used to remove the reed of saliva and other debris, allowing free airflow. Its bottom end is a metallic bell.

The Nadaswaram's body is traditionally constructed of aacha tree, although bamboo, sandalwood, copper, bronze, ebony, and ivory are also used nowadays. Ancient wood is preferred for wooden instruments, and wood rescued from demolished old buildings is occasionally used. The Nadaswaram features seven finger holes and five extra holes at the bottom that may be filled with wax to change the tone. The Nadaswaram's many components are thought to have diverse religious significance.

The Nadaswaram is played at practically all Hindu weddings and temples in the South Indian tradition and is regarded as particularly auspicious. It belongs to the Mangala vadyam family of instruments (lit. Mangala ["auspicious"], vadya ["instrument"]). This instrument is usually played together with a pair of thavil drums accompanying it, or along with a drone from a similar oboe known as the ottu.

Many ancient Tamil scriptures mention Nadaswaram. Silappatikaram refers to the "vangiyam" instrument, and surprisingly, it has the same construction as Nadaswaram. This was also known as "Ezhil" since seven holes are played with seven fingers. It has maintained popularity among the Tamil Diaspora and is regularly played in Tamil Nadu.

The Nadaswaram has a two-and-a-half-octave range, comparable to the Indian bansuri flute, which has the same fingering. Unlike the flute, which produces half and quarter tones by partially opening and shutting finger holes, the Nadaswaram produces them by altering the pressure and intensity of the airflow through the pipe. Due to its high volume and strength, it is primarily an outdoor instrument, suitable to open settings rather than interior concerts.

 

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