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date: 09 December 2019

Kuḻal [kuzhal, kuṛal]locked

  • Alastair Dick


[kuzhal, kuṛal]

Ancient Tamil name for the transverse flute, found in the literature of south India in the 1st millennium ce. Another name was vankiyam. Descriptions suggest the flute was about 38 cm long and 9 cm in circumference; it was generally made of bamboo, but bronze, sandalwood, and rosewood are also mentioned. The left end was closed and ringed with thin bronze. The embouchure was about 4 cm from the left end and there were seven fingerholes, with an eighth hole (muttirai) left open. Other kuḻal are mentioned, such as the mullaikuḻal with five holes. The flute was a leading instrument of the dance orchestra. It is nowadays usually called veṇu. The same name is found in modern times for a reed or bamboo panpipe played by shepherds in south India.

H.A. Popley: The Music of India (Calcutta, 1921, 3/1966) S. Ramanathan: Music in Cilapatikaaram (diss., Wesleyan U., Middletown, 1974)...

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