Yazh is an ancient Dravidian string instrument. It finds mention in many Tamil literary classics and is seen in many sculptures adoring the ancient temples in Tamil Nadu
. In olden days, it was one of the main instruments in a classical music concert.
The Yazh is an open-stringed instrument producing a polyphonic sound. It contains a boat-shaped wooden resonator, covered with animal hide. The stem of the body, made of ebony, is shaped like a mythological animal named ‘yali.’ The Yazh derives its name from this animal. The design of this instrument may vary, giving it different names like 'Mayuri Yazh' (mayuri means peacock) and Vil Yazh (vil means bowstring).
The number of strings of the Yazh may vary. While playing this instrument, rings made of gut are moved up and down over the strings to tune the sound.