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North Indian Bansuri Flutes

The North Indian bansuri is a side-blown flute invented in this century by Pannalal Ghosh. It is made of single-jointed, thin-walled bamboo and is tuned to an untempered chromatic scale. Ghosh created the modern bansuri by adding a seventh finger hole to the traditional instrument. Bansuri have a range of approximately three octaves.

These flutes are made of the finest quality bamboo, cut by the maker, Jeff Whittier, in the Nuuanu Pal region of Oahu, Hawaii or specially selected in India.


Keys & Sizes
North Indian bansuri are available in the following sizes:

 Model #
 * Tonic

Key

Approx.Length

AF-1
F

C

14"

AF-2
E

B

15"

AF-3
D#

B Flat

16"

AF-4
D

A

17"

AF-5
C#

G#

18"

AF-6
C

G

19"

AF-7
B

F#

20"

AF-8
A#

F

21"

AF-9
A

E

22"

AF-10
G#

D#

23"

AF-11
G

D

24"

AF-12
F#

C#

25"

AF-13
F

C

26"

AF-14
E

B

27"

AF-15
D# (Bass)

A#

28"

AF-16
D (Bass)

A

29"

* The tonic of the bansuri is the note sounded when 3 finger holes are closed. 6 holes closed determines the key. The same flute may be referred to by either its tonic or key.

Availabe in Hawaiinan bamboo or specially-selected rare Indian bamboo.

Special Edition Bansuri
These bansuri flutes are made in the styles of renowned masters of this instrument.
Learn more about Bansuri Styles & Techniques.

AF-S1

HARI PRASAD STYLE

The flutes used by Pt. Hari Prasad are wide-bore bansuris which are designed to favor the lowest notes of the 2 1/2 octave range. They are crafted with six finger holes, and a seventh tuning hole under the flute which sounds the lowest note. This is an old design style of bansuri often used for folk flutes. This style is available with the Tonic of E or D#, the sizes Hari Prasad has most often used. Available in right or left-handed models. Approximately 30" to 31" in length depending upon the bamboo used.

Front View

Back View

Tabla & Bansuri Dialogue. Zakir Hussain & Hariprasad Chaurasia

AF-S5

HARI PRASAD STYLE PICCOLO

A small piccolo-sized small flute like the ones used by Hari Prasad Chaurasia for folk music pieces to end his concerts. May be ordered as a pair with the longer Hari Prasad styleflute, insuring exact compatibility of pitch. Made in the Key of E/Tonic A, the hole sounded when six holes closed is the High Sa, or tonic E, of the longer Hari Prasad flute. Also available in the Key of D#.

AF-S2

G. S. SACHDEV STYLE

Sachdev's flutes are much narrower than Hari Prasad's and are designed to produce a full 3 octave range. Because of the narrow bore, they favor the upper notes. Such musicians as Panna Lal Ghosh and Vijay Raghav Rao, Sachdev's teacher, pioneered the use of the third octave on the bansuri, and this necessitates a narrower flute, somewhat similar to the silver flute in this respect. Sachdev performs on an F flute with seven finger holes, the lowest being fingered by the little finger of the right hand. This design is available in the tonics F#, F, and E.

G. S. Sachdev discussing Basics of the Bansuri

AF-S3

Learn more about Pannalal Ghosh

 PANNALAL GHOSH STYLE

The inventor of the modern seven hole bansuri was Panna Lal Ghosh who died in 1960 at the age of 49. His flutes were of a wider bore than the ones used by Sachdev, but also feature a seventh hole, set in a slightly different position. They have somewhat larger finger holes as well. A flute of this style made by Jeff Whittier is used by David Philipson, the American representative of the Panna Lal Ghosh tradition. This model flute is available in the tonics F#, F, E, D# and "Calcutta D#" - a note between D# and E which is often used in India. Panna Lal recorded using all these pitches. Available in right or left-handed models.

Pandit Panalal Ghosh plays Kajari

 

AF-S4

  BANSURI EQUIVALENT OF THE SILVER FLUTE

A seven finger hole bansuri in the narrow bore with the tonic G is the bamboo flute most similar to the Western instrument. Three holes covered sounds the note G while six finger holes covered sounds the note D.

All of the Special Edition Bansuri are made from specially-selected rare Indian bamboo.

Due to maker's policy, all orders for bansuri are final and cannot be returned for a refund.


What People Say About Jeff Whittier's Bansuri Flutes:

Hi Monty,

Well, I got the bansuri and I must say I'm SHOCKED at how good this simple flute is! I'm sure it's a testament not only to Jeff's flutemaking, but also to Indian musical culture. Having played many types of flutes for decades, this bansuri is already one of my favorites. The tone is delicious, the tuning approaches perfection, and the "half-holing" technique works astonishingly well. And most amazing of all, the flute seems to have a built-in program for playing Indian music! Somehow just blowing into it taps into my limited memory of hearing Indian vocal music and reproduces a similar type of sound. It's truly a Magic Flute! Thanks for making it available on your web site. And please pass this along to Jeff!

Thanks again,

Werner John


 
Jeff Whittier began his formal study of North Indian classical flute in 1971 at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California with G.S. Sachdev. He is an exponent of the Indian classical tradition called “Gayaki Ang” or the style of playing based on Hindustani vocal music. His music is noted for its purity of rag and tal, the exposition of the ancient principles of melody and rhythm which are the basis of all classical improvisations. He frequently performs at venues such as Hindu ashrams and temples in addition to the concert stage, and often plays light classical music for Hindu and Muslim weddings. He is currently the bansuri instructor at Shruthi Swara Laya, a school of Indian music in Fremont, California. His music was used in the soundtrack of "The Asian Indians in America," a documentary on Indian culture in the U. S. produced by the PBS station WLIW. As well as being a performer and teacher of the bansuri, or bamboo flute, he is also a master craftsman of the instrument. In a 40-year career of flute-making he has provided flutes to some of the most famous musicians of India, including Pt. Vijay Raghav Rao, G. S. Sachdev and Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia, some of the leading bamboo flautists of Hindustani music today. His flutes are also used in orchestras of the Broadway shows “Tarzan,” "The Flower Drum Song," “Miss Saigon,” “The King and I,” "Bombay Dreams" and “Aida.” For the Broadway production of “The Lion King,” Disney gave Jeff Whittier a credit for his flutes in the playbill.


See a video of Jeff Whittier performing raga Pilu Dhun


Other Bamboo Flutes made by Jeff Whittier
South American Kena

Chinese D'Tzu


 Learn more about the
North Indian Bansuri Flute
Where to purchase a Bansuri Flute
Bansuri Playing Guides & Instructional Videos
Recorded Music

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