Bansuri Info

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Bansuri is one of the most famous Indian Flute made out of Bamboo. It is also known as bansi, bansuri, murali, venu etc. Though venu is mostly used in southern part of india, bansuri is preferred in northern india. It contains 6 or 7 holes for flexibility and correctness  of pitch.

Bansuri is derived from two words namely bans+sur. Bans means bamboo and sur is melody. Generally Flute is of two types namely: Flipple and Transverse. Flipple one is used in folk music and generates sound like a western recorder. Transverse flutes provide more flexibility and control and hence preferred in classical music. Bansuri is a transverse flute.

It has great religious and cultural significance as it was used by Lord Krishna. Legend goes when Lord Krishna played His flute, lost animals would find their way home and women from the village would get mesmerised and run to see Him. Flutes also hold a significant position as these are the only way of converting the life force(breathe) into musical resonance called sur.

Generally a bansuri consists of

  • a blowing hole,

  • 6 fingering holes &

  • a tuning hole (not always present).

Pitch of the bansuri(flute) varies with its size. The longer the flute, the deeper is its pitch. The index, middle, and ring fingers of both hands are usually used to play the six hole bansuri. For the seventh hole, the little finger of the lower hand is generally used.

A bamboo required for a flute must possess the following attributes:

  1. Thin-walled

  2. Straight

  3. Uniform cross-section

  4. Longer internodes

Flutes are versatile instruments as all basic elements of Hindustani music variation such as meend (glide), gamak, kan etc. can easily be produced.

Flutes set available in the market contains may either contain 13 flutes or 18 flutes. Generally flutes vary in size from 12 to 40 inches in length but most commonly used ones are of 20 inches. Sound in bansuri is produced by resonance of the air column inside it. The length of this column can be varied by closing or opening the holes. Half-holing is employed for playing flat or minor notes.

The bansuri has always been known as the instrument of the shepherds and has been widely used in folk as well as classical music. As it is made from natural wood, it requires utmost care so that its lifetime can be enhanced.

Some of the famous bansuri players of India are: Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt. Pannalal Ghosh, Pt. Vijay Raghav Rao, G. S. Sachdev, Pt. Devendra Murdeshwar, Pt. Raghunath Seth, Pt.Rupak Kulkarni, Pt. Ronu Majumdar and Pt. Nityanand Haldipur, Pt. Ravi Shankar.

Some of the notable bansuri makers in India are: Harsh Wardhan, Ravi Shankar Mishra, Anubodh, Subhash Thakur.

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