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The Thavil (Tamil:தவில்) or Tavil is a barrel (drum) shaped heavy hand percussion instrument from Tamil Nadu. It is used in temple, folk and Carnatic music, often accompanying the nadaswaram. The thavil and the nadaswaram are essential components of traditional festivals and ceremonies in South India.
In folk music contexts, a pair of wider, slimmer sticks are sometimes used. Thanjavur is famous for thavil, so called Thanjavur Thavil. In Kollywood Filmi songs thavils are mostly used, Notable movies: "Thillaanaa Mohanambal", "Paruthiveeran", "Karagattakaran".
Thavil is a traditional musical instrument of the ancient city of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. It is an integral part of the Carnatic music in Thanjavur. It is mostly made in Thanjavur and Valayapatti.These thavils are good quality.
The thavil consists of a cylindrical shell hollowed out of a solid block of jackfruit wood. Layers of animal skin (water buffalo on the right, goat on the left) are stretched across the two sides of the shell using hemp hoops attached to the shell. The right face of the instrument has a larger diameter than the left side, and the right drum head is stretched very tightly, while the left drum head is kept loose to allow pitch bending. The larger face is higher in pitch than the smaller face.
Methods of use / Posture
The instrument is either played while sitting, or hung by a cloth strap (called nadai) from the shoulder of the player. The right head is played with the right hand, wrist and fingers. The player usually wears thumb caps on all the fingers of the right hand, made of hardened glue from maida flour. The left head is played with a short, thick stick made from the wood of the portia tree. It is not uncommon for left-handed players to use the opposite hands, and some nadaswaram groups feature both a right- and a left-handed thavil player.
Some master thavil players:
- Valangaiman A. Shanmugasundaram Pillai
- Kalaimamani Thirucherai.T.G.Muthukumaraswamy Pillai
- Valayapatti A. R. Subramaniam
- Haridwaramangalam A. K. Palanivel
- Thedchanamoorthy - Jaffna
- Needamangalam Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai
- Thirunageshwaram Subramaniana Pillai
- Bhusurapalli Adiseshaiah
- Iluppur Panchami
- Kumbakonam Thangavel Pillai
- Natchiarkoil Raghava Pillai
- Needamangalam Shanmugavadivel
- Valangaiman Shanmugasundaram Pillai
- Thiruvalaputhur T A Kaliyamurthy
- Kalaimamani Pondicherry K. Krishnamoorthy
- Kalaimamani Pondicherry Pon. Shanmugam Thavil vidwan and Professor
- Tanjore T R Govindaraj
- Kovilur K.V.Palanivel an eminent Thavil vidwan and professor
- Thirucherai T.G.M.Radhakrishnan
- Thirurameshwaram T.B.Radhakrishnan.M.com.
- P Karunakaran Polur Thavil and Tabla Vidwan and Manufacturing
- Karuna Murthy 
- Maniyachi Dakshinamoorthy
Famous Nadaswara Vidwans Thiruvaduthuram Rajarathinam Pillai Karukurichi Arunachalam Vadarangam Gopalaswamy Paradhur Rathinasamy Pillai Thirupananthal Kuppusamy Pillai Vedharnayam Vedhamurthi Pillai Thiruveezhimalai Brothers Thiruvengadu Subramaniya Pillai Thrumeignanam Nadarajasundaram Andankoil Selvaerathinam Pillai Chidambaram Radhakrishna Pillai Sivapuri TR Padmanaban Therezhuthur Srinu Pillai Sathanur SN Ganesan Sembanarkoil Brothers Chidambaram Krishnamurthi Pillai Mayuram SRD Brothers Valaigaiman Soundarajan Madurai MPN Sethuram & MPN Ponnusamy
- "Official Web Site of Saneetha Nataka Academy - List of Saneetha Nataka Academy Award Winners".
- Kolappan, B (September 21, 2014). "An artist's experience of 'gurukulavasam'". Chennai. The Hindu. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
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