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 processions and weddings.
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.