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date: 18 November 2019


  • Alastair Dick


Struck lute of south India. The body, of wood, is similar in construction to that of the southern sarasvatī vīnā and tambūrā, but smaller (about 80 cm long). The long wooden neck is attached to a hemispherical resonator, about 25 cm deep, covered with a flat wooden soundtable; there are no frets. Near the top of the neck is a gourd (or mock-gourd) on which the instrument can be rested, face upwards, on the floor in front of the player. There are two thick wire double courses, tuned a 5th apart. They are beaten rhythmically by two small sticks and sometimes also played melodically (neither the stopping operation nor its context has been described). ‘Gettuvadyām’ should not be confused with ‘gottuvadyam’. The ‘tambūrā’ shown by P. Sambamoorthy (Catalogue of Musical Instruments Exhibited in the Government Museum, Madras (Madras, 3/1962), pl.3), with octagonal resonators, is probably this instrument....

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