History And Construction Of Nadaswaram Musical Instrument In English

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History And Construction Of Nadaswaram Musical Instrument

  • Nadaswaram is a double reed instrument from South India. It is used as a traditional classical instrument in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala and in the north and east of Sri Lanka. The nadaswaram is also known as nagaswaram, or nathaswaram.
  • The instrument is “one of the world’s loudest non-brass acoustic instruments”. It is a wind instrument partly similar to the North Indian shehnai, but much longer, with a hardwood body and a large flaring bell made of wood or metal.
  • In South Indian culture, the nadaswaram is considered very auspicious, and is a major instrument played at almost all Hindu weddings and temples in the South Indian tradition.
  • It is part of the family of instruments known as Mangal Vadyam (literally Mangal “auspicious”, Vadya “instrument”).
  • The instrument is usually played in pairs, and is accompanied by a pair of drums called thavil; It may also be accompanied by a drone from a similar oboe called otu.


  • Nadaswaram is mentioned in many ancient Tamil texts. Silappatikaram refers to an instrument called “Vangiyam”. The structure of this instrument matches that of a nadhaswaram. Since there are seven holes to be played with seven fingers, it was also called “eil”. , This instrument is also played in Tamil Nadu, and is popular among migrant Tamils.


  • It is a double reed instrument with a conical bore which gradually tapers towards the lower end. The top part has a metal staple into which is inserted a small metal cylinder (kendai) that holds a mouthpiece made of reed.
  • In addition to additional reeds, a small ivory or horn needle is attached to the instrument, and is used to clean the reed of saliva and other debris and allow free passage of air. A metallic bell forms the lower end of the instrument.
  • Traditionally the body of the nadhaswaram is made of a tree called acha, although nowadays bamboo, sandalwood, copper, brass, ebony and ivory are also used.
  • For wooden instruments, old wood is considered best, and sometimes wood salvaged from demolished old houses is used.
  • The nadhaswaram has seven finger-holes, and five additional holes drilled at the bottom that can be plugged with wax to modify the tone.
  • The nadaswaram has a range of two and a half octaves, similar to the Indian bansuri flute, which also has uniform fingering. Unlike the bansuri where half and quarter tones are produced by the partial opening and closing of the finger holes, in the nadaswaram they are produced by adjusting the pressure and force of the air-flow in the pipe.
  • Because of its loud volume and power, it is largely an outdoor instrument, and is more suitable for open spaces than for indoor concerts.

Nadaswaram Player

  • Thirumarukal Nadesa Pillai
  • T.N. Rajaratnam Pillai
  • Thiruvengadu Subramania Pillai
  • Vedaranyam Vedamurthy
  • Karukurichi Arunachalam
  • Kulikkarai P Rajendran Pillai
  • Thirucherai Sivasubramanian Pillai
  • Thiruvarur S Lachappa Pillai
  • Acharyapuram Chinnathambillai
  • Kulikkarai Pichaiyappa
  • Kijvelur N.G. Ganesan
  • Thiruvizha Jaishankar
  • Sheikh Chinna Maulana
  • Gosveedu Shaik Hasan Sahab
  • Sheikh Mehboob Subhani
  • Kaleshbi Mehboob
  • Namagiripettai Krishnan
  • Madurai Sethuraman
  • M.P.N. ponnuswamy
  • Ponnusamy brothers
  • Alvedi N.K. padmanathan
  • Mambalan M.K.S. Shiva
  • S. R. D. Vaidyanathan
  • Seshampatti T Shivalingam
  • Domada Chittabai
  • Engikudi EM Subramaniam
  • Umapati Kandasamy

Nadaswaram Question Answer

Nadhaswaram is made of which metal?

The nadhaswaram is made from a tree called acha, although nowadays bamboo, sandalwood, copper, brass, ebony and ivory are also used.

By what other name is Nadhaswaram known?

Nadhaswaram is also known as Nagaswaram, or Nathaswaram.

Nadhaswaram is used in which state?

Nadaswaram is used in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala.

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