(Last Updated on : 25/05/2012)
Thavil also known as Tavil, is a word found in Tamil language
. It is a barrel shaped drum from southern part of India. It is used as an instrument in temples, folk music and also in Carnatic music
, often accompanying the nadaswaram. The Thavil and the nadaswaram are essential ingredients of usual festivals and ceremonies in South India.
The Thavil also consists of a cylindrical shell hollowed out of solid block of jackfruit wood. Layers of animal skin (water buffalo on the right, goat on the left) are stretched across the two sides of the shell using hemp hoops attached to the shell. The right face of this instrument has a larger diameter than the left side of course, and the right drum head is stretched across the two sides of the shell using hemp hoops attached to the shell. The right face of this very instrument actually has a larger diameter than the left side, and the right drum head is stretched very tightly, while the left side of the drum is also kept loose to allow pitch bending. The larger face is higher in pitch than the smaller face.
Layers of various types of animal skin are stretched across two sides of the shell using hemp hoops attached to the shell. The right hand face of the instrument actually has a large diameter than the left side, and the right drum head is stretched very tightly, while the left drum head is then kept loose to allow pitch bending. The larger face is higher in pitch than the smaller face.
There are various styles that can be followed while playing the instrument. It can either be played while sitting, or hung by cloth strap (known as Nadai) from the shoulder of the player. The right head is then played with the right hand, fingers and wrist. The players usually wear thumb caps on all the fingers of the right hand, made of hardened glue from Maida flour. The left head is then played with a short but thick stick made from the wood of the Portia tree. It is not uncommon for left handed player to use the opposite hands and some nadaswaram groups also feature in both left handed and eight handed Thavil player.
If the content of folk music, a pair of slimmer, wider sticks is sometimes used. Thanjavur is also famous Thavil, so called Thanjavur Thavil. In Kollywood Filmi songs thavils are mostly used, Notable movies: "Thillana Mohanambal", "Paruthiveeran", "Karagattakaran".
Some Master Thavil Players:
Valangaiman A. Shanmugasundaram Pillai; Valayapatti A.R. Subramaniam; Haridwaramangalam A. K. Palanivel; Thedchanamoorthy; Needamangalam Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai; Bhusurapalli Adiseshaiah; Iluppur Panchami; Kumbakonam Thangavel Pillai; Natchiarkoil Raghava Pillai; Needamangalam Shanmugavadivel; Valangaiman Shanmugasundaram Pillai; Thiruvalaputhur T.A. Kaliyamurthy.