In August 2010, I started making bamboo flutes. My initial goal was to build a Bansuri, which is a traditional Indian bamboo flute with a beautiful sound and tuned to just intonation. In the meantime, I revised the goal, I will make bamboo flutes of any type (which, in fact, is much easier).
Right now just a few images of my first three flutes (there is one more, but it isn't quite finished) and the tools I use. More information will be added later.
Top: Bansuri prototype (b a g f e d c), most recent flute, bansuri-like hole position, only three holes here
Basics of the Bansuri
There are several types of bansuris; one very important difference between them is the number of holes.
Bansuris are sort of tuned to two scales, Bilawal and Kalyan. If you define the lowest note of the flute as sa, the flute is tuned to Bilawal. If you define the lowest note to Pa, it is in Kalyan. The official scale is Kalyan and tuning is done to match this scale; therefore the alternative scale - Bilawal - is a bit out of tune.
Bansuris can play up to three octaves. The range depends very much on the quality of the flute. A higher "register", i.e. playing one octave higher, is reached by a different way of blowing. This is best explained by a qualified teacher. Beginners should really concentrate on the sound quality of the base register, as I can say now, that I do have a teacher.
Basic fingering chart for the first octave of 6-hole and 7-hole bansuris:
Tivra Ma: O O O O O O
Explanation of some specific things in Indian music
There are two different systems, Carnatic and Hindustani music. Carnatic is the system in the south, Hindustani in the north. Generally, Westerners recognize Hindustani, because of one of its most known representatives, Ravi Shankar. All said here is concerning Hindustani music, unless stated otherwise.
The notes of Indian music are as follows:
The Indian notes can be altered to get the pitches in between. This follows slightly different rules than
in western music. Sa and Pa can't be altered, Re, Ga, Dha and Ni can be flat and will be named "e;komal"e;
XX then (for example komal Re), Ma can be sharp, and is called "tivra Ma" then. Besides, the real
pitches can vary depending on the Raga (to read more on Raga, read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raga).
So, the chromatic scale is as follows:
Bilawal is one of many scales. It is exactly the same as our major scale.
Another important scale on Bansuris is Kalyan, because it is the "e;natural"e; scale when you have sa according
to the above fingering chart. It goes:
to be continued...
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