Our Bansuri, Professional Flute in A, 22" has a mouthpiece that is played in a similar way as
the western transverse flute. It is made from a single piece of bamboo
with seven holes. The pitch indicated for the bansuri means the flute
will play that pitch with the first 3 holes covered. The dominate hand
plays the lower three holes. The seventh hole is optional and rarely
played. Its main purpose is to give greater accuracy in the upper
octaves. It may be played on the rare occasion when you need to play
the Ni in the lower octave.
The bansuri is a transverse flute from India,
literally from the words bans (bamboo) and suri. It is one of the oldest
musical instruments. All half notes, accidentals and microtones are
produced by a unique fingering system. The finger holes have to be
precisely covered either fully or half by the phalanxes of the fingers
and not by the fingertips. This technique also simplifies the playing of
longer bansuris. The standard quality of the Indian bansuris produce a
quite beautiful sound, but their tuning is often not exactly to the
western standard notes. It can happen that they sometimes sound slightly
out of tune to the western ear.
The professional Bansuri flutes are made from only
one type of bamboo, called cinchor. This bamboo only grows in the
interior forests of Assam. Only straight Bamboo of 3 to 4 years old and
of the proper diameter can be used. The cut bamboo is then treated,
dried and stored for years until it is properly seasoned. The longer it
is seasoned the better the flute. The correct notes are achieved by
piercing the seasoned bamboo with hot iron rods in precise positions
along the length.
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