Bamboo Flutes

We are going to talk about the wonderful musical instrument which is the bamboo flute. Here we will discuss about the origins of the flute and we will also talk about why bamboo is naturally for many the preferred choice as material in making flutes. Will also discuss some of the different kinds of bamboo flutes in the world.

Music is pure and is a form of art that has been enjoyed by many generations. To produce such wonderful sounds of music requires the use of musical instruments. Today we have so many musical instruments. Some of these instruments have deep history and culture.

One of the oldest and most adored musical instruments is the flute. This instrument has existed for many long years. Many countries and ethnic groups from different backgrounds have used the flute to create music and it is part of their culture.

We are also going to talk about how bamboo flutes have played a role in many cultures. Why so many countries in the world have bamboo flutes. We will also talk about the numerous different types of bamboos flutes. Bamboo has many great propterties, making it the ideal material in making instruments.

Have you ever wondered what is the history behind bamboo flutes? First, let’s discuss what a flute, what type of instrument it is, and what history lies beneath its past.

Bamboo Instruments - Flutes

Flutes

The flute is a musical instrument that is classified as part of the woodwind group. This means that it is an instrument that produces sounds by using the power of the air.

The flute is an instrument that is shaped like a cylindrical pipe. It has holes on both ends of the pipe. On one end is where the flute player blows air into the pipe. The air then flows inside the pipe and exits at the the other end. Sounds are produced as air is expelled out on the exit hole of the flute.

Along the body of the flute’s pipe, you will see a series of holes that are aligned. These are finger holes or fingering holes. These holes are used to alter the sound produced by the flute. This is done by covering the holes on the pipe and the same time blow air inside the flute.

There is a proper way in holding a flute. First, hold the flute with the left hand. Second, place the right hand below the left hand. Check the image below as reference to properly hold a flute.

Holding A Bamboo Flute

Flute History

Here is an amazing fact. Did you know that the oldest discovered musical instrument ever found is the flute? Yes, it is. The oldest discovered flute was made out of animal bone and was discovered in a European Cave.

In 2008 pieces of bone-flutes were found at Hohle Fels, which is a cave in the Swabian Jura of Germany. The said discovery was led by the archeologist Nicholas Conard. He is the director of the department for early prehistory and quaternary ecology and the founding director of the Institute of Archaeological Sciences at the University of Tübingen in Germany.

The oldest flute is made out of a naturally hallow animal bone. It is from a wing bone a of griffon vulture. The flute has 5 finger holes and it has 2 “V” Shaped notches at the end, which is believed to be the mouth area, which is where the flute player blows air. This bone flute is just 0.3 inch (8 millimeters) wide and was believed to be about 13 inches (34 centimeters) long.

It makes you realize how early man developed their love and appreciation with music. You will also get to appreciate flutes more knowing that it is an old technology developed by our early ancestors, yet it is still the same technology we used today, enjoyed by the present man.

Bamboo Flute

Many flutes are traditionally made out of bamboo. Bamboo flutes produces beautiful sounds and comes in variety of shapes and sizes.

The bamboo flutes are commonly found is countries in Asia like China, India, Philippines, Japan, Thailand and they are also found in South American countries like Peru, Mexico and many more. These countries produce their own bamboos and that is why it is common to see flutes and many other bamboo musical instruments coming from these countries.

Why is bamboo a good material for making flutes? Bamboo is a good material in making different kinds of instruments, most especially in making the flute. The reason is, the bamboo stem is naturally shaped like a hallow pipe. This is the ideal shape for a flute.

Another reason is that the bamboo wood handles wind inside wonderfully. The air circulation inside a bamboo pipe produces very nice resonating tone.

Famous Asian Bamboo Flutes

There are many instruments that originated from Asia. Many of these traditional instruments have been passed from generations to generations. We are very lucky to be able to see these instruments to this day and to be able to listen to the beautiful music they produce.

There are many great stories about the famous musical instruments throughout history. Some of these include stories about bamboo flutes in Asia.

Here are some of the more famous Asian bamboo flutes and I have provided a brief history and background of each instrument. I hope that you will learn a lot from this and be able to appreciate these instruments.

India

The flute is a significant piece of history, culture and religion to many Asian nations. In India the bamboo flute is a very important instrument.

The Hindus in India recognizes the flute is a very special instrument because their Hindu God Lord Krishna is depicted as holding a bamboo flute. In many images, paintings and statues, Lord Krishna is seen holding a flute.

Krishna is a major deity in Hinduism and one of the 8 avatars of God Vishnu. He is believed to be a master flutist. Krishna plays the basuri which is a traditional Indian flute.

The basuri is an Indian flute made out of bamboo. It is a transverse flute, which means it is side-blown flute. The bansuri is traditionally made out of 1 single hallow bamboo shaft. It comes with 6 or 7 fingering holes. This bamboo instrument typically measures between 30 centimeters (12in) and 75 centimeters (30in) in length.

In the modern day, the bansuri is known in making traditional Indian folk music. It is getting popular and is now being played by many musicians from around the world.

Another famous indian bamboo flute is the Venu. This instrument is also a side blown flute. It is used in making South Indian traditional music. Just like the bansuri, the venu is also a flute that is used the Hindu God Lord Krishna, as depicted on many of his famous paintings and statues.

China

Now let’s go and visit China which is a country that is known for its long rich culture and history. In China they have a very famous bamboo flute called the Dizi. It is sometimes referred to as di or héngdi.

The dizi is a Chinese transverse flute. That means that it is held horizontally and is a side-blown flute. It is traditionally made using a single hallow bamboo shaft. This flute features 6 fingering holes.

dizi bamboo flute

Even though the dizi is usually made out of bamboo, there are also some that are made out of other types of wood, plastic, metals and even stone. To make a dizi, bamboo is still the preferred material in making this flute because the sound product on a bamboo flute sounds better than other materials. The tone produced by the bamboo flute is more resonant.

The dizi can produce strong sounds. It can also make high pitch notes. I personally like the quality of sound that this instrument produces. No wonder that is quite popular.

The dizi is the most revered instrument in traditional Chinese music. Just like many bamboo flutes, the dizi is an instrument that is used for making relaxing music. It is good for meditation, healing, yoga, or sleeping. I really like the dizi because listening it helps me relax. I highly recommend to try listening some dizi songs.

There are many other bamboo musical instruments in the world. The website BambooInstrument.com is created to provide information about the many different kinds of musical instruments that are made out bamboos. The bamboo flute is just one example but there are many more to come.

Resources

Wikipedia - Flutes , Bansuri , Dizi

Bamboo Instruments