Music is an art of sounds. Like language, music is an unique form of communication. But conversation takes place only when the speaker and the listener speak the same language. But language is not a problem to listen and enjoy the music. It is not easy to say when music began or from which cultures the music originated.

The proximity of the sea may be the reason for the Keralite’s love of music. Rhythm is the unique feature of Kerala music. Perhaps, Kerala may be a region where largest numbers of musical instruments are played. Performance of Panchavadyam in which percussion and wind musical instruments are blended will certify that Kerala is immensely rich in music.

In tribal societies, music has an important role in religious rituals and serves as a form of communication with supernatural beings. Tribal of Kerala still follow the pre-Dravidian music. Chattupattu is the excellent example. Thottampattu is another primitive form of Kerala music. Panarpattu still represent the pre-Dravidian tradition. Similarly, Pulluvanpattu is sung even now to please the snake-deities.

Kerala music can be divided into two; common and classical. Ritual folk songs and work related folk songs could be treated as common music. Folk Music is the music that reflects diversity of ethnic group of people, their lifestyle and culture. It consists of songs sung through ages. There may not be a written musical notes and prescribed standards. One learns it by hearing. The composers of folk music are unknown to the present. It is the music of the socially and economically lower classes of the society. It is simple in style. Folk music exists in many different forms and under a variety of social and cultural conditions.

Ayyappanpattu, Bhadrakalipattu, Bhagavathypattu, Bharanipattu, Chattupattu, Gandharvanpattu, Kalamezhuthumpattu, Kalampattu, Kalashapattu, Kanipattu, Kaniyanpattu, Kamanpattu, Kannerpattu, Kurunthiripattu, Kuthiyottampattu, Mannarpattu, Marakkalapattu, Maripattu, Mundiyanpattu, Nallummapattu, Panarpattu, Pappinipattu, Poorakalipattu, Poothpattu, Sanghamkalipattu, Sarpampattu, Sarpapattu, Theeyattupattu, Vallapattu, Velarpattu, and Villadichanpattu, are the devotional, ritual or entertainment folk songs.

Kathirupattu, Kattapattu, Kevuvallapattu, Koithupattu, Malakilapattu, Njattuvelapattu, Pulayanpattu, Thinapattu, Vandipattu, Vattipattu are the folk songs related to work.

Classical music includes Carnatic music, Sopana sangeetham and Kathakali song.

Musical instruments

Musical instruments of Kerala are divided into four categories. They are Thatham, Vithatham, Khanam and Sushiram. Thatham are string instruments. Nanthuni and Pulluva Veena fall into this category. Vithatham are percussion instruments (drums). Para, Chenda, Madhalam, Mizhavu, Idakka, Udukku, Thudi are the prominent percussion instruments. They are of two shapes – spherical (Eg., Madhalam) and cylindrical (Eg.Thudi). Musical instruments made of metals are known as Khanam. Ilathalam, Mani, Chengila, Kuzithalam, Panankinnom belong to Khanam category. Wind instruments like Kombu, Kuzhal (pipe), Pullamkuzhal (flute) are grouped under Sushiram. In addition to the above, Villu (bow) and Chandravalayam are also used in Kerala for Villadichanpattu and Ramakathapattu.

Para (drum) is the most common musical instrument of the tribal community. Nanthuni is used along with Onappattu and Kalamezhuthupattu. Idakka is the background instrument for Sopana sangeetham. Mizhavu is the instrument for Koothu. Chenda, Madhalam and Chengila are the instruments played in Kath Kali.




Pulluva sing

Pulluva sing

Pulluva veena

Pulluva veena