November 14, 2014

The Mayuri: A Very Decorative Musical Instrument


There is not much information around concerning the Mayuri.
This is about all I could find but it is very decorative and unusual.

From The Met pictured above.

Popular at nineteenth century Indian courts, this bowed lute borrows features of other Indian stringed instruments, such as the body shape of the sarangi and the frets and neck of the sitar. There are four melody strings and fifteen sympathetic strings that sound when the instrument is played to accompany popular religious song. The peacock is the vehicle of Sarasvatî, the goddess of music, and it appears in Indian poetry as a metaphor for courtship.

Date: 19th century
Geography: India
Medium: Wood, parchment, metal, feathers
Dimensions: L: ±115.5 cm (45 1/2 in.); W: Body incl. side pegboard 14 cm; with peg 15 cm (5 7/8 in.); Fingerboard 6.3 - 6 cm; D: Peacock 44 cm (17 5/16 in.); Pegblock 4.6 cm
Classification: Chordophone-Lute-bowed-fretted
Credit Line: The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889

And this piece:
Taus is Persian for Peacock. This musical instrument is also called  Mayuri Veena and is made in the shape of Peacock hence the name given to it is Taus. It produces an incredible sound. Its large in size like sitar.

The Taus has 28-30 strings. It resembles the Dilruba in the making as well as in playing technique. However, since Ttaus has a bigger sound box so it can produce a much more resonant and mellow sound than what a player can expect from Dilruba.

Besides Dilruba, Taus also resembles Esraj. Taus was almost out of the scene until a few years back. But in last few years its seen a somewhat healthy revival and has been seen in several concerts as an accompaniment instrument.

All these instruments that more or less belong to the same family can be played with ease by someone who can play at least one of these.

Taus is played with the help of a bow and has a sound hole at the ‘tail’ end and stands on bird-feet carved in wood. It is tuned like Dilruba.

Whether you get your Taus all the way from India or from anywhere else in the world or order it online, every option has its pros and cons. Be sure you know what you want and the price you are ready to pay and quality you are expecting for that price and finally is it workable? What if you have to compromise on quality because of your restrained budget? 

IN that case would you rather hang on for a while, and save some more to get a good quality Taus once and for all or you’d go with whatever is available at that price and when you learn to play the instrument properly, you plan to order the more expensive one?

Have as many options and be clear in your mind about every alternative.

With thanks to Tablasitar


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