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Śahnāī [shahnāī, shehnāī]locked

  • Reis Flora


Conical shawm of North India. It is historically linked to an aerophone which entered South Asia as a member of the Central Asian naubat ensemble. It is approximately 50 cm long and its medium-sized double reed, of cane, is fashioned from a hollow cylindrical section by constricting one end and pressing the opposite end into a flat ovoid opening; the reed is mounted on a conical metal staple. The staple, wrapped with string to ensure an airtight fit, is inserted into a wooden resonator containing seven equidistant finger-holes; there is no thumb-hole. A moderately flared brass bell is attached to the distal end of the resonator. Several reeds and a protective guard, which keeps the reeds pressed into their proper shape when not in use, plus a few staples and a metal mandrel, are strung together and can be seen dangling in front of the musician during performance. A lip disc – present but by no means ubiquitous in Indian local traditions – whereby the reed is fully inserted into the oral cavity of the performer is not used by musicians who perform within the Hindustani tradition. The lips are here in direct contact with the reed....

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