Nallathor Veenai seithen

Maasil Veenaiyum Maalai Madhiyamum
Veesu thendralum veengila veynilum
Moosu vandarai poygayum ponradhe
Eesan endhai inayadi nizhale!!

An excerpt from Thevaram by Thirunavukkarasar says it all!!

The shelter under Eesan (Lord Shiva) is like the sweet melodious music of Veenai, the evening moon, the gentle breeze, the spring season (ilavenil kaalam), a pond with buzzing bees.

Such is the greatness of Veenai, the string instrument that ages back to the vedic times.

It is definitely a spiritual instrument with divine music!!

Still remember my college function where I played Veenai for a song, bilahari raagam, adi thalam.. how amateur .. man .. I wish that never happened :O)

After a loooong break, got back to my Veenai learning. It was very exciting this morning .. class was at 6:15 am. Literally could not sleep the previous night .. woke up even without an alarm. Typically this is not who I am .. oh yes, the snooze button on my alarm knows me well .. how many times have I hugged it, kissed it and held it tight!!

I have no clue why I am mesmerized every time I see my Veenai. The imperial queenly look it gives me every time I pass by it is just fascinating. Makes me speechless.

Reminds me of Barathi’s ‘Veenai adi nee enakku .. mevum viral naan unakku.. kaadhal adi nee enakku, kantham adi naan unakku’!!

The South Indian Veenai, is referred to as the Saraswathi Veenai. The Veenai is generally made from the Jackfruit wood, seasoned so the wood grains absorb the music.

The Veenai I have now they say is Ekantha Veenai, which is made of one single wood. The music from it is devotional!!

It is amazing to know that the Veenai has 24 divisions or frets which corresponds to the 24 vertebrae in the spinal cord of the human beings, not including the 9 fused vertebrae in the Sacrum and Coccyx.

Furthermore, like the Cervical, dorsal and lumbar sections, the Veenai is logically portioned into the neck, middle and base and number of frets on each of these match the count on the Cervical, dorsal and lumbar – 7, 12 and 5 respectively.

The base then extends and curves into simha mukha (lion’s face), like the curve at the end of the spine. This is phenomenal!!

Attached to the neck is the Kudam, the head, where the music resonates from. As the player (aka Vainika) plays on the Veenai, it will start sounding gradually like the nature of the player. So for the Veenai to sound good we better behave good 😉

The Veenai, as we know is a string instrument. It has 7 strings in all .. 4 main and 3 side strings.

Out of the 4, 1 and 2 are the mostly used and 3 and 4 are supportive.

Other 3 are side strings used for thalam!! Ye he this was a challenge today .. but will get there) For those of you who know about the thalam strokes on the Veenai, you know what I am saying .. my poor little finger). And yes of course, had trouble with alternating the index and middle fingers .. My guru Sarranyaa was tired fixing me .. but will get there!!

The other part is the Surakkai or the part that sits on the lap while playing the Veenai.

Then, there are the biradas or the pegs that hold the strings tightly (what is the birada that holds our strings together ?) :)

Then the meetu that is used to pluck the strings.

Waiting for the gamakkas 🙂 

Categories: Music

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