Origin And Characteristics Of Shehnai Musical Instrument In English

Shehnai Musical Instrument
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Origin And Characteristics Of Shehnai Musical Instrument

  • Shehnai is a musical instrument, which originated from the Indian subcontinent. It is made of wood, with a double reed at one end and a metal or wooden flared bell at the other.
  • Its sound is believed to create and maintain a sense of auspiciousness and purity and as a result, there are nine musical instruments found in the royal court. The shehnai is similar to the nadaswaram of South India.
  • This instrument used in religious ceremonies is found in different parts of North India. It is considered an auspicious instrument and is played at social functions.


  • This tubular apparatus gradually widens towards the lower end. It usually has between six and nine holes. It employs a set of quadruple reeds, making it a quadruple reed wood.
  • To master the instrument, the musician must use various and complex covering and fingering techniques.
  • The shehnai has a range of two octaves, from A below middle C to A one line above the treble clef. A shehnai is often made with a wooden or bamboo body and a flared metal head, but not always.

Origin Of Shehnai

  • Shehnai is believed to have been developed by improving the pungi (a woodwind folk instrument mainly used to attract snakes).
  • Another theory of the origin of Shehnai is that the name is a modification of the word “shah-nai”. The word “Nai” is used in many Indian languages ​​to mean barber. The word “Shah” refers to a royal.
  • Since it was first played in the Shah’s chambers and played by a Nai (barber), the instrument was named “Shehnai”.
  • The sound of Shehnai was considered auspicious. And for this reason it is still played in temples and is an essential component of any Indian wedding.
  • In the past, the shehnai was part of the traditional ensemble of naubat or nine instruments found in royal courts. Till some time ago it was used only in temples and weddings. The credit for bringing this instrument to the classical stage goes to Ustad Bismillah Khan.
  • The counterparts of the shehnai played in western India and coastal Karnataka are indigenous to the region.

Material –

  • wood, metal

Famous Shehnai Player

Shehnai Question Answer

What metal is shehnai made of?

Shehnai is made of wood and metal.

When to use Shehnai?

Shehnai is played in religious ceremonies and social gatherings.

In which state shehnai is played?

Shehnai is played in western India and coastal Karnataka.

Who is the famous player of shehnai?

Famous players of Shehnai are Anant Lal, Bismillah Khan, S Balesh, Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan, Raghunath Prasanna.

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