Nadaswaram is a very famous classical instrument played mainly in the southern states of India. The world's loudest non-brass acoustic instrument, Nadaswaram is also known as Nadhaswaram and Nagaswaram. It is a wind instrument, which is quite similar in its appearance to the North Indian musical instrument, Shehnai. However, Nadaswaram is much larger and has a hardwood body, along with a large flaring bell made of wood or metal.

The South Indians consider Nadhaswaram to be a very auspicious instrument and make it a point to play it at the time of marriage. As per the information available with us, Nadaswaram is also played in almost all the major temples of South India. The instrument is usually played in pairs and is always accompanied by a pair of drums, known as Thavil. It is made up of mainly three parts, namely kuzhal, thimiru, and anasu. Traditionally, the body of the Nagaswaram used to be composed of the wood of a tree called aacha.

Nadaswaram is a double reed instrument, which has a conical bore that steadily expands as one moves towards the lower end. The wood of ebony is usually used to make the instrument. The upper portion of Nadaswaram instrument comprises of a metal staple, known as 'Mel Anaichu'. A small metallic cylinder known as 'Kendai', which holds the mouthpiece made of reed, is inserted into the staple.

Apart from the spare reeds, a small ivory or horn needle is also connected with the instrument. This needle helps in making the mouthpiece free of any saliva particles and at the same time, allows the air to pass freely. Adorning the bottom of Nadhaswaram is a metallic bell called 'Keezh anaichu'. There are seven finger holes in the instrument, with five additional holes at the bottom that are used for controlling purposes.

The range of Nadaswaram is two and a half octaves and its system of fingering is very much same to that of the flute. However, in this instrument, the semi and the quarter tones are produced by regulating the pressure and force of the airflow into the pipe. This makes Nadaswaram a very demanding as well as tiring instrument. The sound of the instrument is so high and powerful that one cannot use it indoors. It is best suited for open outdoor concerts.

Famous Nadaswaram Players
Thiruvavadudurai Rajaratnam Pillai
Sangita Kalanidi Thiruvizhimizhalai Subrahmanya Pillai
Namagiripettai Krishnan
Karukurichi Arunachalam
Sheik Chinna Moulana
Charlie Mariano
Vinny Golia