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The forgotten percussion instrument

by Abbi

Is it not a common sight in carnatic music concerts that many among the audience walk out during the tani avarthanam? I concede that one has to possess the taste and knowledge about laya which is considered the father (sruthi maatha laya pitha) of carnatic music; though it remains a moot point which of the two aspects takes precedence. Whichever way you take it, ignoring the percussion artistes’ performance is a despicable act since they play a vital role in embellishing the main artist’s performance. This might have been said and heard many times but there has been no discernible change in attitude amongst the audience.

Having said the above, apart from mridangam, ghatam and kanjira, there is another percussion instrument called morsing. Like the audience disappearing during tani avarthanam, morsing is fast fading into oblivion. It seldom finds a place in the concerts since there are too few players. The instrument’s legacy can be traced to the 16th century and was known as Harp. It follows the mridangam syllables but cannot produce similar effects due to the constraint of the instrument itself. Srirangam R.Kannan is a fine exponent of this art. There are certainly few others; I am not sure whether Karaikudi R.Mani, a great mridangam vidwan plays this instrument? Some one can throw light on this as I would like to maintain a directory of morsing vidwans. It is a difficult instrument to play as one can get a toothache (some say it can hurt your tongue badly) but this should not deter the aspiring artistes. All music lovers should put in their effort in whatever possible manner to revive this forgotten instrument.


Kuchipudi Fan said...

SFO Bay Area has one of the finest Morsing Vidwans - Sri A. Mahadevan. His concerts are very well received and keeps even the kids interested. Here is a video of one of his concerts - http://www.swaralahari.org/site/playvideo.php?concertid=44 

You can find here profile here - http://www.abhinaya.org/musicians.shtml

Saimuharsing said...

Sir one thing u wrongly said in the above statement.
Morsing will not affect the mouth or toungue badly..
It is jus a thought which many ppl get...
Me too learning morsing but its absolutely easy and not hurt toungue and all.

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