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date: 21 January 2020

Yāḻ [yāzh]locked

  • Alastair Dick



Name of the arched harp in old Tamil literature of South India. In the Cilappatikāram (?2nd century ce) and other texts it is described as having a resonator (pattar: ‘wooden trough’); a skin-covered, curved neck (kōṭu: ‘horn’) to which the strings (narampu: ‘gut’) are attached at one end by leather tuning-cords (tivavu); and, probably, a string-bar (tantirikaram) in the resonator to which the strings are attached at the other end (possibly called oṟṟuṟupu). It has been said to have had a tuning-bar (māṭakam), an oblong piece of wood lying on the resonator, with holes through which the strings passed, and pins (āṇi) to hold them tight. Reference is made to yāḻ with 7, 14, 19, and 21 strings, in different tunings. The harp was covered with a colourful cloth and used to accompany song and in the dance orchestra, where it followed the ...

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