|Snippets of Information |
* 17 Jul 2022
The venu / muraļi (Sanskrit) is one of the ancient transverse flutes of
Indian classical music. It is an aerophone typically made from bamboo,
that is a side blown wind instrument. It continues to be in use in the
South Indian Carnatic music tradition. It is referred to as nadi and
tunava in the Rigveda and other Vedic texts of Hinduism. In Northern
Indian music, a similar flute is called bansuri. In the South, it is
also called by various other names such as pullangkuzhal in Tamil ,
oodakuzhal or kurungu kuzhal in Malayalam and koḷalu or muraļi in
Kannada. It is known as pillana grōvi or Vēṇuvu in Telugu. It is also
called as Carnatic Flute.
The venu is discussed as an important musical instrument in the Natya
Shastra, the classic Hindu text on music and performance arts. The
ancient Sanskrit texts of India describe other side blown flutes such as
the murali and vamsika, but sometimes these terms are used
interchangeably. A venu has six holes, is about the thickness of a
thumb, and twelve fingers long. A longer murali has four holes and two
hands longs. The vamsika has eight holes, between twelve and seventeen
* 17 Jul 2022
Basic anatomy of Carnatic flute
Pulangoil, Venu, Karnatic flute, Pullanguzhal are the many names given to this unique eight-hole south Indian flute.
The tonic Sa (or Shadajam) is taken at first two finger holes covered.
First three fingers of left hand cover the top three tone holes (finger
holes) and four fingers of the right one cover the four holes below. The
last i.e. the 8th hole remains open except in special fingerings where
four fingers of each hand work with all 8 holes.
First five fingers covered sounds Pa (or Panchamam). The medium 'ma' can
fingered in two ways - one by covering 6 1/2 holes and the other by
* 17 Jul 2022
Bansuri with its pastoral associations and as the chosen
instrument of Lord Krishna, is one of the oldest musical instruments of
India. It is mentioned in the Vedas and is depicted in the Buddhist art
of 2,000 years ago. One Sanskrit verse credits the bansuri as the source
of Swara Gnana - the wisdom of music.
The bansuri ( bans [bamboo] + swar [a musical note] ) is a transverse
alto flute made of a single length of bamboo and has six or seven open
finger holes. There are no keys to produce sharps and flats, therefore
all accidentals and microtones, as well as meend (glissandi) and other
ornaments, so important in Indian classical music, are produced by a
unique fingering technique.
Previously the bamboo flute of North India had been a soprano instrument
usually no more than fourteen inches long and was used for folk music,
short classical pieces, light music or accompaniment. Pandit Pannalal Ghosh singlehandedly elevated the status of the bansuri
to that of an instrument capable of expressing the sublime and wondrous
nature of the classical vocal style.
Bamboo used in making Bansuri is of a very special variety found
mostly in the north eastern and southern regions of India. This bamboo
is special in the sense that it fulfills the requirement by having
sufficiently long sections between the nodes. Also the wall thickness of
this variety is quite low as compared to the bamboos used in making
flutes in other cultures.
The pioneering work of Pt. Pannalal Ghosh lifted bansuri to the level of
a concert instrument. It was entry of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia into
Hindustani classical music scene in the late sixties that immensely
boosted the popularity of bansuri and established it as one of the the
main instruments of Indian classical music performance.
The bansuri is a flute made of a single hollow shaft of bamboo. It can
be transverse or fipple, although the transverse variety is used in
Indian classical music.
The bansuri has six to seven holes, and, depending on the pitch varies in its size. Longer flutes enable lower pitches.
Because they are made of bamboo, each bansuri is unique and is made by
taking into consideration the individual features of the bamboo.
The Indian flute exists as a solo instrument in both Hindustani and Carnatic music.
It has been extensively used in folk music. The flute can be a part of
the musical orchestration for dance forms like Bharatanatyam and
* 13 May 2022
As with many different instruments, Santoor too has been developed under
various cultures. It is believed that Persian santur is the direct
predecessor of Santoor. Santur originated in Mesopotamia around the 4th
century CE. The first written record of Santur was in Persian history
texts and poetry around the 10th century. Persians have been believed to
brought Santur to Kashmir Valley, which resulted in Kashmiri santoor.
Up until the 20th century, it was considered a folk instrument.
* 12 May 2022
The Santoorís name comes from the name Shata- tantri veena, meaning a
Veena of hundred strings. It consists of a hollow box with twenty five
bridges, each having four strings resting on it. It is played with the
help of two wooden mallets known as mezrabs.
The santoor has traditionally been used in the music of the Kashmir
valley as an accompaniment to Sufiana Mausiqi, a Sufi ensemble. It was brought into the
classical tradition by Pt.Umadutt Sharma, who brought it into
Hindustani classical traditions.
The modernised santoor, played by Pt.Shivkumar Sharma and his disciples
has 31 bridges and 91 strings. The resonance is cut down by placing the
instrument on the lap of the player, rather than on a wooden stand.
The santoor is a predecessor of the piano because it is based on the same principle of a mallet striking metal strings.
Similar instruments are found in different parts of the world, with
different names. In China, the santoor is called Yang Quin, in Iran and
Iraq, the Santoor, in Greece, the Santoori, in Germany Hackbret.