Single-Stringed Fiddle

  • The romance of the single-stringed fiddle may stir up childhood memories of a lone hawker playing popular film hits on his instrument, made of bamboo.
  • The single-stringed fiddle also has a spiritual message.
  • The single string representing Adhvaita, the non-duality of the Supreme from which emanates the whole universe, like the seven notes emerging from the one single string.
  • It has been a companion of poets, saints, bards and minstrels in different parts of the world.
  • Meera and her legendary plucked ‘ektara’; or the the Bauls of Bengal are some examples.
  • Most of the single-stringed fiddle belong to the ‘spike fiddle’ category due to their shape. Many are played solo, while most accompany singing or are a part of a larger orchestra.
  • In India, the oldest known single-stringed fiddle is said to be the Ravanhattha , attributed to Ravana.
  • Rajasthani folk musicians play a refined version of it with a main gut or nylo-gut string and several resonating strings.
  • The Vicharti Jaati gypsies and Vaaghris of Kathiawad and Gujarat along with other indigenous communities play instruments with a coconut shell resonator and bamboo neck with a thin metal string.
  • The sound is high-pitched, but sweet.
  • Other notable indigenous fiddles are the Baana of the Bardic Pardhan Gonds of Madhya Pradesh and the Pulluvan Veena of Kerala.

Source: The Hindu

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