Applying the Ravai Paste


Ravai paste is applied at the centre of the Idanthalai (Thoppi). The quantity of paste that needs to be applied is entirely dependent on the desired Sruthi (Pitch) and the Karvai (good length of vibration and sound).

Add few droplets of water to the centre of the Idanthalai and spread all over the Idanthalai with the finger tips. Repeat the process until the Idanthalai is hydrated i.e. the skin loosens to a desired level.



Apply small amount of the Ravai at the centre of the Idanthalai and press down with the fingers. Push around the edge of the Ravai paste so that it sticks well to the skin and forms a small spot like shape.



The diameter of the Ravai paste to be applied depends entirely on the age and tension of the skin. If the skin is too loose then only a small amount of Ravai will be required, the skin will also hold the applied water well. If the skin is too tight a large amount of Ravai will be required and the skin will require constant application of water to keep it moist. Usually the size of the applied Ravai paste is about the same size as that of a sovereign coin.



Where required press the Ravai paste down lightly with the face of the palm to secure it in place and to create an even rounded shape.



If the desired Natham has not been achieved add small amounts of Ravai paste in steps until such Natham has been achieved.

Usually the Thoppi area of the Idanthalai is small so applying a greater diameter of paste will prevent one from playing the Gumakaram, a variety of Thoppi Natham that produces various tonal effects (This is similar to the ‘Gum’ played on the Duggi or Bayan of the Tabla).

A Miruthangam may be custom made and sometimes modified so that the Veddu Thaddu of the Idanthalai Mootu is smaller i.e. the Thoppi area is of a larger diameter. This will greatly increase the ability to play Gumakaram.

It is worth noting that although various substitute paste for Ravai are available the use of Ravai is indeed superior and brings the best Gumakaram.