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date: 07 December 2019

Āvaj [āvaja]locked

  • Alastair Dick



Indian drum name of medieval and later times, found nowadays only in certain compound and derivative forms. It probably derives from the Sanskrit ātodya, through the intermediate Prakrit (Middle Indo-Aryan) form āojja (‘musical instrument’, but with a root meaning ‘percussion’), rather than from vādya, as has been thought. The 13th-century Saṅgītaratnākara gives the huḍukkā (barrel drum) the alternative names āvaja or skandhāvaja (‘shoulder āvaja’), the latter referring to the use of the shoulder-strap in obtaining variable tension. In the same source the smaller local (deśi) version of the elongated barrel drum paṭ aha is named aḍḍāvaja (‘half āvaja’). The late 16th-century Ā’īn-i–akbarī describes the āvaj as ‘similar to two falconers’ drums joined together’, probably, like the modern huṙuk (hourglass drum), also played with variable tension. As well as mentioning the ardhāvaj, the same source gives an early reference to the pakhāvaj (‘side ...

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