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I'm planning to buy an Indian bamboo flute. I found out today that there are Indian bamboo flutes with a different number of holes. There is one with 6 fingering holes called Bansuri and one with 7 holes called Venu.

What is the difference between them and which one is recommended for beginning flute players?

2 Answers 2

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I am from south India and recently wanted to learn Bansuri flute so I ordered one online.But later just like you I found out that there are two types of Bamboo flutes :

  1. Bansuri

  2. Venu/Murali

There are two traditions of classical music in India :

  1. Hindustani music (North-Indian tradition)

  2. Carnatic music (South-Indian tradition)

Bansuri is used in Hindustani classical music (North-Indian) which consist of 6 or 7 holes, where as, the Carnatic classical music (South-Indian) uses the Venu which consist of 8 holes but most of the time only 7 are used.

In the below picture, left one is a Carnatic flute Venu while right one is a Bansuri.Observe the holes :

Venu (left) and Bansuri (right)

The main difference in number of holes is because of the fingering is different and also the Venu is said to be able to produce more types of notes than Bansuri.

Bansuri is easier to learn and play for beginners.You can choose either of them.It is better to have a teacher to play Venu, because there are some techniques involved in playing music.Both can play really good music so you can choose either, but beginner should prefer the Bansuri (will have 7 holes + 1 blowing hole).

You should prefer buying a medium sized c or g scale flute, should be of good quality.

I am a beginner like you.Punam flute in amazon.in is a good quality one (just a recommendation not a spam).

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  • Those 8 holes all inline must be pretty hard to play. Even on something as small as a soprano recorder the pinky hole is offset. Oh, and does 8 holes mean 2 pinky holes? Jun 3, 2022 at 18:41
  • Another question: what is the tuning of those 8 holes? What is the sequence of whole and half steps? Jun 3, 2022 at 18:46
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The Traditional North Indian flute called the Bansuri has 6 holes while the traditional South indian flute called the Pulil/Veenu had 7 holes. Both these where predominantly used in Folk music.

Recently a classical variety has been introduced and consequently the North Indian Bansuri sometimes has 7 holes & is used in Hindustani music which is classical North indian music while the South Indian flute has 8 holes and is used in Carnatic music which is classical South Indian music.

Hope this helps.

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