Which Size Of Bansuri Is Right For Me?

Bansuris are available in many different sizes. The size determines the pitch and basic sound characteristics. Generally speaking longer and lower bansuris have a mellow, rich and warm sound whereas smaller bansuris can sound very sweet but also a bit squeaky. In classical North Indian raga music e.g. the most commonly used solo bansuris have a length of 70 to 75 cm. Their lowest note is B and their Indian tonic Sa is E (a fourth above the lowest note). Sa = F is also used for classical ragas and is a particular favourite of G.S Sachdev. Sa = G with its sweet mellow tone is often used for devotional music and Sa = D is perfect for meditation because of its deep soothing tone. However, the longer the bansuri the harder to hold it. Even with large hands you need a good amount of practice to master a concert size bansuri with Sa = E.

Ideally you have an opportunity to try out bansuris in different sizes (and get some personal advice) at the shop of India Instruments, at friends' or at your prospective bansuri teacher. That way you get a direct feel of what size you can handle well. We advice beginners to start with a relatively small bansuri, which you can hold comfortably and relaxed. That way you can focus on the blowing and the fingering technique without any stress from permanently overstretched fingers. Once you are at ease with the basics you can switch to larger and more challenging bansuris.

Lyon Leifer, in his manual "How To Play The Bansuri", suggests starting with a small bansuri at Sa = c (lowest note = G). In our experience however, most beginners spontaneously manage well with bansuris at Sa = A (lowest note = E) or Sa = G (lowest note = D). Large Bansuris in the concert size Sa = E are only recommendable for musicians with very large hands or a lot of previous experience. The choice of pitch might also be determined by your wish of playing together regularly with certain other instruments or ensembles.

If you are uncertain about which size suits you best, we can send you a small selection of bansuris in various szies for trying out at home. If you like to use this service, you just have to send the unfitting bansuris back to us within 14 days after receipt at your own cost.