A traditional Indian trumpet

nadaswaram players There are hundreds of little-known Indian musical instruments , which sound strange and new to most people. One traditional horn, the Nadasvaram is popular in South India.

It is made of wood and has a double reed mouthpiece. Usually two horns are played together, one for fixing the scale and the other the lead, as in the picture.

Vigorous drumming accompanies a Nadasvaram recital. It evolved much before loudspeakers and microphones : the piercing sound carries far across the fields. Close up, inside stone temple halls, the effect can be rather overpowering.

Mastering theNadasvaram takes years of practice, especially for Carnatic classical music. But simple music can be played easily even by beginners.

It is commonly played at celebrations, weddings, music concerts, dance performances....nowadays politicians cutting ribbons expect to be welcomed by the blare of a nadasvaram. The Nadasvaram really combines well with traditional drums. While western musiicians have learnt the intricacies of the Nadasvaram, only a few have used it in rock music.

NEWS : One such player is Roland Schaeffer, (available on . CD-- Indian Air by free winds) who spent several years learning it. The group "guruguru " has put a mp3 of a number called idlikiller-east and probably Izmiz where the nadasvaram sounds off.

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originally published on stph.net 1996.
©v ramchandra rao.||email vramrao@yahoo