The flute is a musical instrument associated with Lord Krishna therefore it is abundantly crafted in India. Bamboo flute also known as bansuri is derived from the words baans meaning bamboo, and sur meaning music note. By carefully assessing the air column in the flute, a wide range of musical notes can be played.

Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district flourishes in classical music. The craftsmen here are proficient in making as well as playing the flute. The bamboo for the flute is acquired from Nagercoil, Coimbatore, and Kutrakalam.

First, the bamboo is cut and with the help of a metal poker called the tholai podum kambi, holes are drilled into it. The metal poker is heated and the tip is used to burn holes in the bamboo at regular intervals. The marking is done using special scales and tools and with proper calculation and precision. The holes are gradually increased according to the musical notes. Sandpaper is used to polish the finished flute. The polishing is done according to the requirements of the clients. Lastly,  varnish is applied as a protective and finishing layer.

Muralis are Indian flutes of less than 12 inches in length, and shankha bansuris are of about 40 inches. The flutes of 20 inches are most common. Each flute is made for a specific pitch, also called a kattai in the local language. The pitches range from 1-7.

Bamboo is used by the artisans to craft flutes for both professional artists and children.




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