Homepage > Instrumental Music > Instruments > This Page


by David Courtney working tools


Part 1 - Introduction - This Page
Part 2 - Parts of the Bansuri
Part 3 - Technique of the Bansuri

Bansuri and venu are common Indian flutes.  They are typically made of bamboo or reed.  There are two varieties; transverse and fipple.  The transverse variety is nothing more than a length of bamboo with holes cut into it.  This is the preferred flute for classical music because the embouchure gives added flexibility and control.  The fipple variety is found in the folk and filmi styles, but seldom used for serious music.  This is usually considered to be just a toy because the absence of any embouchure limits the flexibility of the instrument.  The flute may be called many things in India: bansi, bansuri, murali, venu and many more.

There are two main types; bansuri and venu.  The bansuri is used in the North Indian system.  It typically has six holes, however there has been a tendency in recent years to use seven holes for added flexibility and correctness of pitch in the higher registers.  It was previously associated only with folk music, but today it is found in Hindustani classical, filmi, and numerous other genre.  Venu is the south Indian flute and is used in the Carnatic system.  It typically has eight holes.  The venu is very popular in all south Indian styles.


Cultural and Religious Significance

The bansuri is not just a musical instrument, because it has a great cultural and religious significance among Hindus.  It is an instrument associated with Lord Krishna.  Numerous common names reflect these epitaphs of Krishna.  Common examples are: Venugopal, Bansilal, Murali, Muralidhar, etc.  Furthermore, in traditional Indian metaphysics, it is noted how remarkable it is the way the life force (pran, or literally "breath") is converted into a musical resonance (sur).


Part 1 - Introduction - This Page
Part 2 - Parts of the Bansuri
Part 3 - Technique of the Bansuri

Selected Videos (Performances and Documentaries)



Raga Shivranjani on Bansuri (Indian Bamboo Flute)


Vande mataram: Shashank




Raga Jog


Banglar Banshi - By Jalal Ahmad


K Bhaskaran on flute - Indian traditional classical


algoza, mattian, punjabi music, jugni, gurmeet bawa bava


Dhun - Folk tune on Bansuri


Music from the desert, Jaisalmer, India


Sujay Bobade / Raga Marwa


Part 1 - Introduction - This Page
Part 2 - Parts of the Bansuri
Part 3 - Technique of the Bansuri





This page last updated

© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 David and Chandrakantha Courtney

For comments, corrections, and suggestions, kindly contact David Courtney at [email protected]