Bansuri History and Info

  • 394639_218009094991774_1867017655_nThe Bansuri is a transverse flute made from a single hollow shaft of bamboo with six finger holes. The Bansuri is an ancient musical instrument associated with cowherds and the divine love story of Sri Krishna and Sri Radha. The Bansuri is Lord Krishna’s divine instrument, and is esoterically associated with spiritual awakening or the call of God to his devotees. Stories depict Krishna’s Bansuri having an enchanting effect not only on the women of the vrindavan, but even on the animals of the region.

    Bansuri is one the finest instruments to express the emotional subtleties of Indian Raagas, the pure and rich tones of Bansuri are like a continuous prayer having the capacity to deeply sooth and open the hearts of listener and player alike

    The North Indian Bansuri, typically about 14 inches in length, was traditionally used as a soprano instrument in folk. Classical music is the daughter of folk music (in all traditions!) . The Bansuris movement into Indian classical music was relatively recent, Pt. Pannalal Ghosh (1911–1960) pioneered the low pitched versions of Bansuri and brought the instrument from a folk instrument to the stage of serious classical music. The Bansuri has since been  further elevated by the globally renowned brilliance of Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia. Bansuri has been indispensable  part of Hindustani Classical music for well over half a century.

    Bansuri comes from the Sanskrit- bans [bamboo] + swar [musical note].  Bansuris are transverse flutes they enable the superior control, variations and embellishments, needed for Indian classical music and range in size from less than 12″ to nearly 40″.

    Making  Bansuri flutes  is a fine art. The bamboo suitable for making a Bansuri needs to possess many qualities. It must be thin walled and straight with a uniform circular cross section. Bansuris must be clear of nodes so the Bamboo selected needs long spaces between nodes. Being a natural material, it is difficult to find bamboo shafts with all these characteristics, which in turn makes good bansuris rare and expensive. Suitable species of bamboo (such as Pseudostachyum) with these traits are endemic to the forests of Assam and kerala.