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The Shehnai, double-reeded instrument of the wind category is one of the most ancient instrument used in India. Shehnai is mainly an outdoor instrument played particularly on occasions considered auspicious such as procesSHEHNAIsions and weddings.

The Shehnai is a tube that gradually widens towards the lower end. It usually has eight or nine holes. The instrument is made of dark, close grained black wood and has a metal bell fixed to the border end. The length of the instrument is one and a half to two feet. The reed is fixed at the narrow blowing end. The reeds used in Shehnai is made of pala grass. Spare reeds and an ivory needle with which the reeds are adjusted are attached to the mouth piece.

Shehnai is a most sensitive instrument. It is actually the way the lips and tongue play upon the reed mouthpiece and the manner in which the holes are opened or closed with the fingers which render the semitone and quarter tones very effectively and attractively.


Ustad Bismillah Khan

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