Music Directory

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  • solo performer: instrumentalist
  • Shehnai

Shehnai, double-reed conical oboe of North India. The shehnai is made of wood, except for a flaring metal bell attached to the bottom of the instrument, and measures about 12–20 inches (30–50 cm) in length, with six to eight keyless finger holes along its body. Possessing a two-octave range, the shehnai is a difficult instrument to play, as the musician must master a wide range of finely nuanced embouchure and fingering techniques.Like the nagaswaram of southern India, the shehnai is a descendent of the Persian surna and is played on auspicious occasions, such as weddings and temple festivities. Bismillah Khan, who introduced the shehnai to the concert stage as a Solo Hindustani classical instrument, is one of the best-known performers on this instrument.

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