Tuning of Valanthalai

 
 

Identify the desired pitch the Miruthangam should be tuned to, usually this is the identical pitch to that of the Carnatic vocalist or instrumentalist. Set the Sruthi box or Tuner to the desired pitch ensuring that it is loud enough to be heard while playing the Miruthangam or if using the tuner that it is near the Valanthalai and the environment is away from any other sound interferences.

Strike the Thin or Chaapu and listen to see if it matches the desired pitch of the Sruthi Box. If the Valanthalai does not match the desired pitch then it is in need of tuning.

A) Increasing the Pitch

If the pitch of the Valanthalai is lower than the desired pitch then it needs to be increased, which is achieved by striking the Valanthalai Mootu from the top (this causes the skin to be tightened).

To do this beat that particular point on the Valanthalai Mootu (ideally between the leather straps) from the top with the Kallu. If the variation is deemed large then the Kallu can be used in conjunction with the Pollu where the Pollu is placed on the point that requires an increase and is intern beaten with the Kallu in a downward motion.

 

Repeat the process on all the required sides of the Valanthalai until the pitch matches with the pitch produced by the Sruthi Box or when the tuner shows (usually indicated by a green light) the required pitch.

B) Decreasing the Pitch

If the pitch of the Valanthalai is higher than the desired pitch then it needs to be decreased, which is achieved by striking the Mootu from the bottom (this causes the skin to be loosened).

To do this beat that particular point on the Valanthalai Mootu (between the leather straps) from the bottom with the Kallu in conjunction with the Pollu. The Pollu is placed under the point that requires a decrease and is beaten with the Kallu in an upward motion.

 

 

Fine adjustments of the pitch can be made with the Kallu on its own. Strike the Valanthalai Mootu as required faintly with the Kallu to make minor variations in the pitch so as to make the pitch of the Miruthangam perfectly align to the desired pitch.

Repeat the process on all the required sides of the Valanthalai until the pitch matches with the pitch produced by the Sruthi Box or when the tuner shows (usually indicated by a green light) the required pitch.