Beginners’ Tamil: a taster course
Beginners’ Tamil: a taster course

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7.1 Examples of Tamil music

In this section you will have the opportunity to listen to some of the instruments used in Tamil music. In Video 1 a musical trio can be seen playing the mirdangam, electric violin, and morsing. The video is a recording from the national sadhana for the 95th Advent of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. You should watch the video from 45:07 to 47:17 to hear the music.

Video 1 Tamil music
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Did you notice the bond between the musicians? For example at 47:08, when the violin player is pleasantly surprised by a note that the morsing player generates!

The vocabulary box below lets you hear how to pronounce these three instruments being played. Listen and practise the pronuniciation yourself and then continue on to hear the harmonium and morsing being played.

Vocabulary

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Mirdangam | மிருதங்கம்
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Download this audio clip.Audio player: Electric violin |
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Electric violin | மின்சார வயலின்
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Download this audio clip.Audio player: Morsing |
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Morsing | முகச்சங்கு
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The morsing is a type of ‘jaw harp’, seen in many cultures, and known by various names, such as the Jew’s harp, mouth harp, gewgaw, guimbard, khomus, trump, Ozark harp, Galician harp, or murchunga.

Now watch Video 2, which gives a detailed explanation of the morsing, as well as a demonstration of how it is used.

Video 2 What is a morsing?
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Finally, before having a go at the last activity in the course, watch Video 3.

Video 3 Harmonium recital
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Activity 8

Match the images of the musical instruments with the correct word.

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. Nadaswaram

  2. Ghatam

  3. Harmonium

  4. Thavil

  • a.Thavil

  • b.Harmonium

  • c.Ghatam

  • d.Nadaswaram

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = d
  • 2 = c
  • 3 = b
  • 4 = a

Name three stringed instruments used in Tamil music.

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Discussion

From Figure 7, you could have said the veena, thambura, and violin.

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