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date: 15 November 2019


  • Reis Flora


Short oboe of southern India. Currently, mukhavīṇā carries both a general and a more specific meaning: it has been used to denote the large family of double-reed aerophones found in the subcontinent, of which the Karnatic (south Indian) nāgasvaram, the Hindustani (north Indian) Śahnāī and the sanāī and sundrī from Maharashtra, together with various folk instruments, are examples. Mukhavīṇā also identifies a diminutive nāgasvaram, a conical oboe about 35 cm long, found in south India.

A bagpipe known as śruti upaṅga provides the drone for the south Indian mukhavīṇā. It is accompanied by the mṛdaṅga (double-headed drum) or by the ḍhankī (a type of kettledrum), and its sound is evidently more subdued than that of many other double-reed aerophones.

The mukhavīṅā was once used to accompany dance; traditional gifts would be presented to the mukhavīṅā musicians when they visited and played at the homes of various patrons during special festivals such as Dīpāvali and Pongal. Apparently quite rare nowadays, the ...

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