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"Aacha" is listed as the traditional wood for the body of the instrument, then the body is described as being made from "ebony". "Aacha" would be Indian Mulberry, "ebony" would be known as Indian ebony to distinguish it from African ebony, though it is a true ebony (as are the persimmons of America and Japan).

Could someone clear this up a bit? It's typical of woodwind instruments that different materials are used in different price ranges and eras, and so it is likely the case that older or less expensive instruments are made of mulberry and concert instruments of ebony, and this would a natural assumption not contradicted by the wiki as it stands. However, the choice of material may be otherwise dictated! Perhaps the finest instruments are still made of the traditional mulberry, etc.

I bring this up because the wood of construction of musical instruments is an important and historically fascinating issue.Frank Zamjatin (talk) 05:24, 27 May 2010 (UTC)


Thank you for adding such a valuable set of information about western artists playing Nagasuram. I'm a lover of Nagasuram music but had not heard of these jazz artists playing this instrument. Rajaratnam Pillai is considered to be one of the greatest Nagasuram musicians. --Aadal 13:35, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Alternate spelling[edit]

Where does the alternate spelling "nagasuram" come from and is this accurate? Badagnani 17:18, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

The word svara or swara is sanskrit-based and suram is Tamil-based. The origin and meaning of the words are different. Dr. V.P.K.Sundaram had explained that the tamil word suram is based on the musical notes played on flute and sur stems from burning holes in the flute (an earliest form of musical instrument) and the north indian word is also sur and not svara. I believe sanskrit-based and non-sanskrit based words should both be used for a NPOV. I would request reverting it. Also, about Nagasuram (Nagaswaram) influencing sangathis in Carnaric music is very well known fact and Balamurali Krishna and many others have emphatically expressed this fact several times. It is not a POV, it is a fact. I would request you to revert back to my statement there. --Aadal 17:47, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for the detailed information. This etymology should be given in detail, I believe, if you believe it to be accurate and not simply the guess of one scholar without documentary evidence that the original suffix was "-suram" and not "swaram." The "naga-"/"nada-"/"nadha-" controversy has been gone over quite a bit; what is your opinion on this? Isn't "naga" a Sanskrit root? If so, why does it make sense to have a word mixing a Sanskrit prefix with a Tamil suffix? Also, I've never seen "nagasuram" appear in print. Badagnani 17:58, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Regarding influence on vocalists, I had thought it was likely the other way around, that vocal music existed before the nagaswaram in South India, and thus nagaswaram players imitated vocalists (as shehnai players do in the north). But now that you have cited a very great vocalist who claims this (do you have a source?), then I agree it should be added back. Badagnani 17:56, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

I'll to get the description from Dr. V.P.K Sundaram's book and any further thoughts on the etymology., but about the second point of the influence of Nagasuram (Nagaswaram), let me give a backhanded quote from a well-known music critic ('SVK' in The Hindu newspaper) though it is about violin which is supposed to follow vocal music:

Charumati Raghuram, teenage violinist, stole the show with aesthetic graces and elegance. That she played the gayaka Todi without a trace of Nadaswaram influence (emphasis mine) speaks highly of her instinctive musical maturity. The contours of the raga's beauty stood out representing her musical perception at its best. Mudhra Bhaskar on the mridangam lent a touch of experience to the concert." (The Hindu Aug 8, 2003)

I don't have any ready access to the source quotes of Balamurali Krishna on this. But it was well known. The comment I remember was about the famous song Nagumomu and several senior artists' comments about the evolution of sangathis (as compared to the original kritis and how they were sung).--Aadal 01:07, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, of course that's extremely interesting. I wonder if you could verbalize exactly what in the nagaswaram style is being imitated by the violinists or vocalists who are influenced by the style? I assume it might have something to do with a strong use of fast, "busy" ornamentation? Thank you also for looking up the etymology. Whatever sources you can find will be great, and thus the information in the article will get more and more detailed (and thus useful to people wishing to learn the correct information about this instrument around the world). I agree that it's fascinating that a few Americans and Europeans have picked up this extremely difficult instrument. I haven't actually heard what any of them do with it, but I'd like to hear! Badagnani 01:31, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Move proposal[edit]

  • Move to Nagaswaram - Actual name and spelling used before revisionists began to promote "nadaswaram" as the "more correct" version (possibly because the connotation of "sound" is preferable to that of "snakes"). Badagnani (talk) 20:07, 13 February 2008 (UTC)