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PARTS OF THE BANSURI

by David Courtney working tools


 

Part 1 - Introduction
Part 2 - Parts of the Bansuri - This Page
Part 3 - Technique of the Bansuri

 

parts of bansuri

We will now take a closer look at the north Indian Bansuri.  It is always difficult to talk about the names for the various parts of the instrument because India is a land of many languages and dialects; therefore the following terms should be considered as representative but not universal.

 

Dandi - The dandi is the body of the bansuriBansuris may be fashioned from a variety of materials, but reeds, canes and bamboo are the most common.  Ideally they should be constructed so that they taper towards the embouchure (mouth hole or mukharandra).  They are therefore larger at the open end.  This arrangement gives an extend range.

 

Mukha Randhra - This is the embouchure, or the blowing hole.  professional quality bansuris in India are invariably of the transverse variety.  However, there are also a number of fipple flutes which are also available.  These are sometimes found among folk musicians and they are frequently given to children as toys.  The transverse variety yields much better control by allowing blowing techniques to bend the notes to the desired pitches.

 

Swar Randhra - These are the finger holes.  They are the holes that are used to play the melodies.  For a 7-hole flute as shown in the side picture, the musical intervals are: half-step, whole-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step, whole-step, whole-step.  (Please note that these are approximations; the use of equal-temperament is not to be construed from this discussion.)  The 7th hole (closest to the open end) is optional.  When it is absent, the 6-hole flutes are tuned to: whole-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step, whole-step, whole-step.

This 7th hole deserves special mention.  Traditional north Indian folk flutes generally do not have it.  The obvious advantage is that the presence of this hole extends the range of the instrument by one note.  However, there is a more important and not quite so obvious advantage.  Its presence gives the bansuri a more accurate pitch when overblown to produce the higher octaves.

 

Garbha Randhra - This is the opening of the bansuri.  It should remain unoccluded at all times

 

Rassi - The body of the bansuri tends to crack.  This is simply one of the undesirable qualities of bamboo and reed.  This cracking may be reduced or eliminated by tightly binding the body with twine.  This is known as rassi.  One trick used by craftsmen to assure an even and reproducible tension is to tie a fixed weight to the end of the string and slowly turn the body of the bansuri to wrap the twine around it.

 


 

Part 1 - Introduction
Part 2 - Parts of the Bansuri - This Page
Part 3 - Technique of the Bansuri

 

Selected Videos

Making a Bamboo Flute

 

DIY Flute - Finger Hole Marking

 

Part 1 - Introduction
Part 2 - Parts of the Bansuri - This Page
Part 3 - Technique of the Bansuri

 


 

 

 

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© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 David and Chandrakantha Courtney

For comments, corrections, and suggestions, kindly contact David Courtney at david@chandrakantha.com