Music has the power to enliven the spirits and transfer us to a world of ecstasy. Music is the worldwide language which can be comprehended by anybody and the melodious strains are ever- delighting. Kerala with its elaborate range of rich traditional, vocal and instrumental music has enhanced the cultural heritage of India. The music of God’s Own Country owes its origin to the ancient, illustrious traditional heritage of the land and the unique culture of the people. The significance of the music of Kerala , its crudity, indigenousness and spontaneousness can be evaluated from its fundamental usage stored in the agrestic musical and an assortment of dance forms.
The rule of Swati Tirunal, the ruler of Travancore, is noted as "the Augustan Age of Kerala Music". He patronized art to a great instant and his court boosted of a galaxy of musicians. The South Indian Carnatic Music originated and flourished during his reign. The eminent Karnatic musicians of Kerala are Vina Kalyanakrishna Bhagavatar, Kathakalashepam Anantarama Bhagavatar, Palghat Mani and Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar.
The different forms of Kerala Music are-
Sopanam Style - Kerala has its own indigenous music system, known as Sopanam Sangeetam, which consists of step-by-step version of raga-based songs. These songs are sung in the bhakti (loving devotion to God in the form of music and poetry) tradition in front of sopana (steps in front of the holy place) and are dedicated to the deity of a temple. Musicians normally stand on the left side of the steps or sopana and and sing devotional songs with the accompaniment of musical instruments like edakka drum (a typical Kerala percussion instrument), and chengila. So the name Sopanam Sangeetam has been derived from the term Sopana or Sopanam meaning 'Sanctum Sanctorum' of the temple. Sopana Music or Sopana Sangeetam was an exponent of the Kerala Bhakti Cult Movement and most of the lyrics (asthapathi) are rooted in famous poet Jayadeva’s immortal work, 'Geeta Govinda'. The traditional Kathakali music is the perfect instance of the uniqueness of Sopana sangeetam.
Folk Songs - Kerala is very rich in its folk song tradition and has many varying folk songs as there are there are variances in the climate, land, people and their occupations.The nadanpattu (nadan-native, pattu-songs) of Kerala or Kerala folk songs narrate unrecorded tales of the land and people. These lyrical songs are evoked from the emotions and simple wisdom of agrestic folk. Almost every aspect of life and occasions such as childbirth marriage, festivals, the glee of the harvest season, weddings, war, the union of man and woman, mythology and religion and death finds a place in Kerala folksongs. Mappilapattukal, Pallipattukal, Onapattukal, Mappilapattu, Vilppattu and Vanchipattukal, are some of these native songs of different castes and communities of Kerala.
Mizhavu - Kerala has its individual heritage in instrumental music like Mizhavu and Panchavadyam. Mizhavu or Mizhav is a large drum made of copper or clay and is played as an accompanying percussion instrument in the famous ceremonial temple performances of Kerala- Koothu and Koodiyattam .It resembles a big jar and has a narrow mouth with a leather covering. This musical instrument is solely played with hands. Only the traditional Ambalavasi Nambiar community, Chakkiyar and the Nangiars were entitled to play the Mizhavu inside the temples or Koothambalams. The reverberating beat of the Mizhavu is still unparalleled when compared with the sonata of other percussion instruments. Panchavadyam- Panchavadyam is a classical performance of various musical instruments that are endemic Kerala. As the term “pancha” in Sanscrit means five, Panchavadyam consists of five percussion instruments- Edakka, Elathalam, Kombu, Shudha Madhalam and Timila. Edakka, Shudha Madhalam and Timila are different kind of drums while Elathalam is a cymbal and the Kombu is a kind of trumpet. Altogether symphony of these five musical instruments captivates the listeners. The performance of Panchavadyam is an integral part of the festivals of the Temples in Kerala, especially in Central Kerala. The most celebrated performance is put up at Thiruvambadi Temple during the Thrissur Pooram.
Instrumental Music - The instrumental music of Kerala is dramatic and lively with with a large number of musical instruments such as Chenda , Dolak, Edakka, Mizhavu, Mridangam, Udukku, Takil and Timila and a few percussion instruments. Wind instruments include Kombu, Kuzhal, Nadaswaram and Mughavina and so on.
The varied stringed instruments include Tamburu, Sarangi, Swarabi, Vina and Violin. The Chendamelam has become an inseparable part of all the temple festivals of Kerala. 'Thayampaka' is another unique temple vadya. 'Panchavadyam' consists of five musical instruments which are played together to create a melodious tune.

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