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Bamboo Flutes from India, bansuri is a transverse alto flute made of a single length of bamboo with six or seven open finger holes. According to Wikipedia, bansuri is an ancient musical instrument associated with cowherds and the pastoral tradition. It is intimately linked to the love story of Krishna and Radha, and is depicted in Buddhist paintings from around 100 AD. It is intimately associated with Krishna's Rasa lila; the tunes on his flute are poetically associated with driving the women of Braj mad. The North Indian bansuri, typically about 14 inches long, was traditionally used as a soprano instrument primarily for accompaniment in lighter compositions including film music.
There are two varieties of bansuri: the transverse, and the fipple. The fipple variety is usually played in folk music and is held away from the lips like a whistle. Because of the flexibility and control it offers, the transverse variety is preferred in classical music.
Bansuris vary in length. They range from about 12 inches up to about 40 inches. 20-inch bansuris are common. Another common and similar Indian flute played in South India is the venu. The index, middle, and fourth fingers of both hands are usually used to play the six hole bansuri. For the seven hole bansuri, the fifth finger (pinky) of the right hand is usually used.
The flute has special significance in India because of its association with Lord Krishna. Numerous common names reflect these epitaphs; Venugopal, Bansilal, Murali, Muralidhar, etc.
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