(Last Updated on : 26/11/2014)
Villadi Vadyam is a string musical instrument from the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu
. The name of the instrument itself is indicative of its nature, for Villu in Tamil and Malayalam
means a bow and Adi is to strike. In other words, it is a struck bow. It is a bow-shaped string instrument which is struck in order to produce sound. This instrument has only a single string which is struck, and unlike other string instruments, no melody is produced. Thus, though it seems an anomaly to include it in the class of string instruments, in shape, it does resemble others of the type. Also, it may be noted that the entire genus- harps, lyres inclusive-can be said to have derived from a bow, the Villadi Vadyam having one string and the others many.
The instrument itself comprises a large bow, called the Villu, across which is tied a rope or a leather thong. The bow is nearly two to three meters long. The bowstring is a hemp or leather strap. From the bow, there are suspended large jingle bells. The rope of the bow is beaten with a pair of sticks (Villadi Kole or Veesu Kole) by the main singer. A resonator in the form of an inverted earthen pot is used, and it serves as a detachable sound amplifier. However, this is separate from the bow which is only rested on it. It is usual for another singer to beat rhythm with a Palmyra leaf bat on the vessel. A group of vocalists act as a chorus, using rhythmic instruments like Idukkai, Cymbals,
Kattai (long wooden clappers) and so on. The song sung is called Villu Pattu (song of the bow) in Tamil and is a folk-song, either a ballad or a religious discourse.
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