(Last Updated on : 08/06/2012)
Usually, there is no direct relation between the wars and the musical instruments. The imagination of war during ancient and medieval India brings into mind the soldiers marching on foot, on horseback or elephant-back clutching various kinds of weapons. The war is also related with much killing, bloodshed, capture and torture.
But, the musical instruments were used earlier in South India during the march and also during the actual battle. The loud sound of the music was used to entertain the soldiers, to motivate and to cheer the soldiers to give their best on the battlefield. In ancient time, the musical instruments were must during the wars in South India. The reference of it can be found in the Rig Veda. The use of musical instruments during wars is mentioned in the great epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata also. But there was a distinct difference between the music which was played in the actual battlefield and that was played in the camps.
This tradition of martial music was quite well known by the ancient South Indian people. The references of the war musical instruments can be found in the ancient Tamil literature, especially of the Sangam age, such as the Purananuru. At that time, the conches, drums, trumpets, cymbals, horns, etc. were all used to create loud music. Some of the musical instruments used during war include the kodumparai, murasu, pandil, niduvayir, patuparai, karadikai and tudi.
One type of Murasu, a type of drum named 'Vira-murasu' was played during victorious moments in South India. The conch instrument was played during warfare. It was played during the Mahabharata war by Krishna and it was known as the famous conch Panchajanya of Krishna. In the ancient Tamil country, the musical instruments like the valvalai and varivalai were used during the war.