Kathakali Performing kerala Photo Gallery
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Kathakali Performing

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Music is an important and essential element in Kathakali. The orchestra in it is composed of two vocal musician, one keeping time with a resounding song called chengala and the other with a pair of clanking cymbals called elathalam, a chenda player and maddalam player. The chenda is a cylindrical drum with a loud but sweet sound while the maddalam has the appearance of a big mridangam.

Kathakali music has developed into a distinctive type of singing known as the sopana style which is of a very slow tempo. There is neither raga, ragaalapana as such nor are there elaborations like niraval and swaral singing. Preserving the broad features of the ragas and adhering meticulously to the talas they sing the songs in such a manner as to give the actors full scope for abhinaya. There are two vocal musicians in Kathakali of whom the main one is known as ponani and the minor partner as the sinkidi. The Kathakali songs couched in rich poetic diction are among the gems of Malayalam literature.

Kathakali Performing
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