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Music - Instruments

* 28 Nov 2022
According to historian Sriram Venkatakrishnan the clarinet came to India, courtesy, King Sarabhoji II of Thanjavur. His training in western music and his vision of Thanjavur as a seat of culture inspired him to include the instrument in his court music. Mahadeva Nattuvanar, an ancestor of the Thanjavur Quartet, was the first to use the clarinet in performance as a part of the chinna melam. While the violin gained mainstream prominence, the clarinet was not accepted as easily, but remained a feature of the dance tradition for several years.
Source: Source: Bharatanatyam with a bagpipe? by Gayathri Iyer, The Hindu Friday Review, Aug 5, 2022

* 28 Nov 2022
Great composers like Muthuswami Dikshitar and the Thanjavur Quartet brought the violin into Carnatic performance during the era of the British Raj.
Source: Source: Bharatanatyam with a bagpipe? by Gayathri Iyer, The Hindu Friday Review, Aug 5, 2022

* 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 fingers long.

* 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 cross-fingering.

* 17 Jul 2022
Bansuri - Inida-info pinterest collection
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 Kuchipudi.

* 13 May 2022
Santoor - Inida-info pinterest collection
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.