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date: 13 November 2019

Bā̃surī [bāṃsurĩ, bānsurī, bānsrī, bā̃surī bā̃sī]locked

  • Geneviève Dournon
  •  and Mireille Helffer


[bāṃsurĩ, bānsurī, bānsrī, bā̃surī bā̃sī]

North Indian term for flutes of various types, one of many words deriving from Sanskrit vaṃśa and new Indo-Aryan bā̃s, ‘bamboo flute’. The bā̃surī played by the Rawat shepherds of Raipur district, Madhya Pradesh, central India, is a double duct flute consisting of two bamboo (or plastic) pipes about 53 cm long; one is a melody pipe with five fingerholes and the other a drone. A duct, similar to that of the Rawat Bā̃sī, is formed by a block inserted at the upper end of each pipe. The two pipes are bound together at their upper ends so that they can be blown simultaneously, but diverge below; hence they are also called dandha bā̃sī, ‘joined flute’. The instrument is played with circular breathing. For the large transverse flute bā̃surī used in Hindustani or north Indian classical music, see Vaṃśa.

The bā̃surī of the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal is a transverse flute made of a turned wooden tube, with six fingerholes at the front and one thumbhole at the back. It can be decorated with carvings and silver inlays. It is played in groups by Newar farmers in procession and to accompany dance, lifecycle, and other rituals. ...

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