Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bansuri Flute - Learn to play the Indian bamboo flute

The aim of this blog is to promote the Indian bamboo flute in the UK and around the world and to give all players and people interested in the bansuri a place to learn about the flute, meet others who are passionate about the bansuri and share knowledge. This blog also aims to point learners in the right direction helping them to get the best out of their learning experience, avoiding pitfalls and advising all players of the best places where to learn and buy bansuri flutes.

Remember that anyone can learn to play the bansuri - you need a passion for music, a lot of time and patience. You will not become a master in a short period of time - there is a lot to learn and even if you don't become a professional, it doesn't matter because you will still have played one of the most beautiful instruments in the world and playing the bansuri is like meditating - it takes you to another world and helps you become completely relaxed and at peace with yourself. 

If you have never heard of the bansuri, then below you can listen to the videos and read about the history of this beautiful instrument. Please use the side menu to learn where to buy flutes, learn to play and much more. ENJOY!

My own improvised recording one evening

Other recordings

The bansuri is one of the most simple instruments you can imagine and definitely one of the most natural. It is made from just a single shaft of bamboo with 6 or 7 finger holes (excluding the blowing hole). The instrument is also one of the most ancient instruments used in India and is associated with cowherds and the pastoral tradition. References to the bansuri are found in the texts of the 3000 year old holy scriptures of the Hindus; the Vedas. 
The bansuri is considered to be divine and is intimately linked to lord Krishna and Radha. It is believed that when lord krishna played his flute, the beautiful sound had a spellbinding and enthralling effect not only on women but also on animals. Krishna is most often depicted with this flute in Buddhist paintings dating back 2000 years. 
The bansuri was originally about 14 inches in length and used mostly in folk music and for accompaniment in lighter compositions including film music, however the longer, deep pitched flutes were pioneered more recently by Pannalal Ghosh and made even more popular by Hariprasad Chaurasia. This has lead to the bansuri being made an important instrument in both classical and modern Hindustani music.
Bansuri literally means "bamboo musical note" from the Sanskrit "bans" (bamboo) and "swar" (musical note).
The bamboo used to make bansuris must be of a special kind (as it needs a long node) found only in certain regions such as Assam and Kerala in India, but also in other areas such as the bamboo found in Myanmar or Hawaii. Nonetheless, Assamese bamboo remains the most popular bamboo.