“If music be the food of love, play on…”


‘If music be the food of love, play on…’ (Twelfth Night)

Ravanahatha can be called as a precursor of the violin. Legend has it that,  Ravana the mighty asura king used to play this instrument to please Lord Shiva. The instrument got its name from him ( hath or hasta mean hand). Ravana Hasta Veena another term being given to this stringed, bowed instrument is believed to have brought to India from Lanka by  Hanuman after the great battle of Ramayana. The instrument is popular among the wandering minstrels and folk musicians of Rajasthan. This photogaph is taken at a small village atop a hill, facing the magnificent Sonar Quila in Jaisalmer

Ravanahatha is made of bamboo attached to a coconut shell and covered with goatskin, the string is made from horse hair and played with a wooden bow. 

4 thoughts on ““If music be the food of love, play on…”

  1. I found some street musicians playing this instrument on YouTube, as well. I’d love to hear a duet between someone playing the Ravanahatha, and someone playing what was called the ‘finger piano’ in Liberia. There, the ‘piano’ is made from a gourd, and a metal insert is plucked. There are more sophisticated versions, of course, and it’s sometimes called the kalimba, but this is a good example of the sound.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oops! Realised today that my reply never got posted. Thumb piano/finger piano looks and sounds interesting. Thanks Linda, for sharing that link. I did search and am amazed at this simple, yet complex instrument and the dexterity one needs to play it. I understand that the kalimba is made from cannon ball gourd. Thanks to you for this new learning!
      Are you aware of the instrumental music, jaltarang?

      This may be interesting to you.
      Good day!


  2. This is some new information about Ravana, the mighty Asura! We have only visualised him as carrying the sword! Though his devotion to Lord Shiva is lauded in Puranas, I was not aware of him as an instrumentalist! Interesting.


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