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by David Courtney working tools


The shehnai is a north Indian oboe.  Although it is referred to as a double-reeded instrument it is actually a quadruple-reed instrument.  This is because it has two upper reeds and two lower reeds.  The instrument has a wooden body with a brass bell.  The reed is attached to a brass tube which is wrapped in string.  The shehnai has eight holes but it is common to find some of the holes partially or completely occluded with wax.  The sound of the shehnai is considered particularly auspicious.  For this reason it is found in temples and is an indispensable component of any North Indian wedding.  In the past, shehnai was part of the naubat or traditional ensembles of nine instruments found at royal courts.  This instrument is a close relative of the nadaswaram found in south Indian music.

shehnai reed

notice that there are two reeds on top and two reeds on the bottom.




Selected Video



A Sad tune on Shehnai(raag Bhervi)


Sanjeev & Ashwani Shankar, Shehnai




shehnai and tabla live shailendra


Ustad Aurangzeb Khan




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