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 LESSONS in Indian Music

Shehnai : Lesson 1

Perhaps no Indian wedding is complete without the sounds of the shehnai permeating the wedding venue.

Because of its auspicious quality, it's a must in every Indian wedding. Since ancient times, the shehnai has been regarded as an auspicious instrument and featured in religious ceremonies. The shehnai is an integral part of the temple music of every part of India.

The shehnai found a place in every palace in every region of India, whether in the palace temple or on the top of a fort. The origin of this instrument is shrouded in controversy; it does not seem to be more than three-four centuries old.

We see similar-looking instruments in ancient carvings and paintings, but it is in the 20th century that the instrument has attained concert level status.

Today, it stands as a highly evolved instrument, eminently suited to Indian melodic raga music. Accompaniments A typical shehnai recital features a shruti peti, which serves the purpose of a tanpura by giving out just one or two notes.

On the percussion side, the shehnai is traditionally accompanied by a nakkara, a north Indian instrument. In modern times, it is accompanied by the tabla. Generally, a leading shehnai player will sit for a recital, accompanied by two or three other shehnai players.

Shehnai : Lesson 1 Lesson 2