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Frequenty Asked Questions on Bansuri?

As a beginner, which Bansuri I should purchase?

As a beginner, you should go for a medium size bansuri (12 – 15 inches long) of scale C or G, as these are neither too big nor too small. Many beginners give up on Bansuri when they do not succeed in making sounds on Bansuri. But, with these size and scales, you will be able to produce sounds easily.

What is the correct way of playing Bansuri? Shall I play the ‘Sa’ with all holes closed or, with only top three holes closed?

You should always play the ‘Sa’ on Bansuri with top three holes closed. There is a reason behind it. If you play ‘Sa’ with all holes closed, you are actually playing the lowest note – ‘Low Pa’ first, hence, you will not have options to play any more lower notes if needed. But, when you play ‘Sa’ with top three holes closed, then you have options to play more lower notes with bottom three holes. Have a look at this Bansuri diagram on next page.

How do I know the scale of flute?

When you buy a flute, its scale is generally mentioned (printed) on its body. However, most of the time these print on the Bansuri do not tell the ‘actual scale’, rather they denote the ‘natural scale’ of the Bansuri which is played with all holes closed. The ‘actual scale’ of the ansuri should always be found by playing the ‘Sa’ with top three holes closed. So, the best way to find out the scale of your flute or any other instrument is to match its ‘Sa’ with a Harmonium or a Keyboard. If you do not have access to any of these, then you can take help of mobile apps, which can be downloaded from internet.
I recommend ‘Shruti Tuner’ or ‘Tuner T1’ apps. Once you blow into your flute with top three holes closed to produce ‘Sa’, the app will indicate the ‘Scale’ in which you
are playing your flute. 

Sir, actually m confused that which notes m playing on bansuri.. those are correct or not…For example… if m playing swar dha thn how I get to knw that m correctly producing sound of dha?

Playing Bansuri is like typing. With practice, one is able to type correctly even without looking at the keyboard. Similarly, when you keep practicing SARGAM on bansuri, your ears will be able to differentiate between correct and incorrect notes. Keep practicing daily even for 10 minutes, play alankars as much as you can. You doubts will soon be gone. Good luck.

How to play perfect Shuddh Madhyam? I failed to play it with half hole open.

Shuddh Ma is always a tricky note to play on flute. However, practice can make you perfect. The most common mistake one does is to become over conscious on opening (or closing) the top-first-hole on the flute.  In the process what happens is that your fingers on the other holes on the flute may get slightly misplaced and thus let some air pass out from any of those other holes. See if you are making the same mistake or not. Close all the other holes fully and firmly except the first one which has to be half-closed and then blow gently to produce Shuddh Ma.

I am new to the Flutes and practicing for last 1 month. I don’t know the Sound which I am making out of the flute is correct or not and some time when I close all the holes I get a very good sound but immediately when I open the very 1st hole I lose the sound just the air noise comes. Not sure what mistake I am doing, can you help me on that.

Don’t worry, it happens with everyone. Just keep practicing one note at a time. Take a deep breath and blow for Sa for as long as you can, repeat 10-15-20 times and then move on to the next note Re in the same manner and so on. Then practice ‘Alankars’ which are on other pages of this book. Even better if you can practice with ‘Tanpura App’, which can be downloaded on your smart phone.

I dnt get it some of your notes like this one (hum tere bin ab reh nahi sakte) G is being played by closing 4 holes from the top and sa is being played by closing all
6 holes…it means the sargam is from the bottom to the top?  Whereas in some songs for example – main tenu smjhawan ki, the G is being played by closing the 1st hole from the top means in this the sa will be played by closing top three holes..just as mentioned in the key sheet ? So m very confused and what is the real sargam? Please help!

Bansuri can be played in two ways – one, by closing top three holes for Sa, or two, by closing all holes for Sa. However, technically playing Sa by closing all holes is not correct. The notes that I write are always to be played by closing top three holes for Sa. Therefore, here also Ga is obtained by fully closing the topmost hole. 

I know how to play all the sur separately, but as i am new to flute, i dont know much about various techniques. Basically i dont know anything about except sa re ga ma.. Please guide me what to do further.

Start practicing ‘Alankars’ to get the speed of finger movement on your flute. Some Alankars are available in this book itself. Or else, you can search for alankars on

Can you give some idea for playing higher notes. I did search lot of websites but still could not find proper way to produce high notes.

Practice is the only thing which can make you proficient in playing flute. Keep practicing daily even if it is for 10 minutes, but daily. Higher notes are played by blowing with a little more pressure than you would normally blow into your flute. You may have to pull your lower lip towards you and push the upper lip towards the blowing hole, just like you would blow into your hot soup to cool it down. Good luck!

Want to know if flute playing causes high B.P.? As it is known to hold and blow breath for long. I have a high B.P.

As far as my knowledge goes, I have not heard any instance where flute has caused any harm. These are all baseless speculations which one must not pay any attention to, especially, if you love music. Flute playing is completely safe, in fact, it improves the health of your lungs and digestive system.

What is the significance of sizes in Bansuri?

Smaller the size, sharper the sound. Greater the diameter, deeper would be the sound. The sound would also depend on the diameter of the bamboo. Generally, a folk song would sound better on a small bansuri as the nature of folk songs is mostly high pitched. Whereas, a sad song would sound good on a large bansuri as the tone of sadness is deep and heavy in nature. As a thumb-rule, we can say that…

a) Small size (say, upto 12 inches) = to play High pitch
b) Medium size (say, upto 18 inches) = to play normal pitch
c) Large size (say, over 18 – 40 inches) = to play Low pitch

This answer is out of my own experience. Experts may differ.

How to play sharp notes on a flute ? I find them a little difficult. It needs a great air pressur. Plz suggest easy way to play sharper notes.

There is trick that I found out about how to play sharp notes on flute. When you’re going to play a sharp note, just tilt your flute a bit towards your lips so that the gap between your lips and the blowing hole becomes narrower. This way you will be able to play sharp notes with little effort. It took me some time initially, but it surely helped. Hope it helps you as well. Let me know when you succeed. Good luck!

How to play Ma, Pa and Dha together?

Almost every beginner has problem in playing from Ma to Pa or, Pa to Ma or, Dha to Ma, etc. together. This is because while playing these notes at once, your Bansuri becomes off-balance in your hand. To overcome this problem, following Alankar can be very useful if practiced daily:

M P D P | M D P D | P M P D | M P M
M P M | D P M P | D P D M | P D P M

Begin very slowly until you remember the notes without looking at them. Then gradually increase the speed. If you practice daily, then your problem will be gone within a couple of weeks.

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12 Responses

  1. Ma always sound sharper than other notes. I have tried everything like blowing slowly/gently but no luck. All other swaras/notes sound have more bass. I am using G scale flute.

    1. You need to check whether your flute is in tune. Take help from mobile apps like ‘Swara Meter’. If tuning is the problem, then it is time for your to get a better well-tuned flute.
      Good luck!

  2. What does the scale stands for flute, how to recognize the scale of flute, how effects the scale to the flute. Does the scale changes the sargam ? means if i bought G scale then how G effects the sargarm

    1. I’m Manoj Modi, 54.
      I picked a flute one year before. I have not even having knowledge of saregamapa
      Made many mistakes. Now I can play little good.I am not taking any classes for it.
      Perticularly for flute any issues has only one solution
      Practice only.
      I also make flute without any guidance.
      Don’t think much, don’t get depressed. Keep on playing. Sometimes don’t care for saregama or its alankara. Keep playing like a kid.
      Flute is the most difficult instrument to master. 90% people leave it. So be positive and just keep practicing

  3. Hi my name is Vikas semwal
    I am intermediate in flute, and I have some questions please help me with these:
    1. what should I practice most
    2. I have C middle flute which, I should buy next?

    1. Thanks for your questions.

      1. You must practice Alankars as much as possible. Minimum 30 minutes everyday, before playing anything else.
      2. Once you have spent at least 6 months and are comfortable with your current flute, you can go for G# or F#. These are generally slightly bigger in length.

      Thanks again,
      Notes & Sargam

  4. Hello sir,
    I am able to play re and ga notes easily, however, I struck at notes like lower sa, ma, pa, dha, ni, and higher sa. I’m unable to produce sound from any angle of my flute when I play these notes. Please guide me how to play notes which require more than 2 closed holes to be played.

    1. This is a common problem that is faced by beginners. However, with regular practice you will overcome this issue. All you need to do is, play one note at a time for as long as you can – 15 sec, 20 sec, 30 sec… Then next step is to play basic Alankars – SRG, RGM, GMP, MPD, PDN, DNS’…. Try this for 7-10 days, you will see the improvement. You can call me to further clarify.

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