The bamboo flute is one of the oldest Indian instruments.
A favourite of popular music, it has only recently been used for classical music, becoming the instrument of musicians such as Pannalal Gosh.
Technically limited to two octaves, the flute has many drawbacks when it comes to performing a raga : the glissandos which are abolutely necessary are difficult to make on a wind instrument.
The glissandos are made with a special technique : bringing the fingers near the holes of the flute; this technique allows glissandos of up to 6 notes.
In the traditional bamboo flute of North India used to be a been a soprano of fourteen inches long with 6 holes burnt out corresponding to the notes of the Kalyan that (one of the modes). Pannalal Ghosh created a larger instrument dedicated to Hindustani classical music, with a seventh finger hole to extends the range of the instrument and allows a more accurate rendition of many ragas
The holes are in alignment, except for the last one (placed differently depending on whether the flute is to be played by right-handed or left-handed musicians). Some musicians play the last hole with the help of a bamboo key (in case of very long flutes).
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