Name: Sahanai.
Type: Double Reed > Aerophone.
Region: Nepal > South Asia.
Dimensions: Length in cm.
Acquisition Date:
Acquisition Source: Ian MacKenzie (trip to Nepal).


Description: A Sahanai is a conical oboe and classified as a double reed aerophone. Found in Nepal s played it is played among the damai caste or tailor musicians. Close relatives most notably the shenai and a variation of this instrument found in Uttar Pradesh. The name sahanai is thought to derive from Indian and Persian sources.

Origins: It is believed the candidate for the origins of the Sahanai is likely an earlier form of Central Asian double reed oboe called a naubat that was played in military bands called Naqqarakhana. In Nepal the Sahanai are traditionally played in pairs.

Playing Technique: The first sahanai performs the melodic line and the second sahanai provides accompaniment as a drone. Circular breathing is used to play this instrument.

Construction: The sahanai has a total of 8 finger holes. That is 7 finger holes and a thumb hole. It has a conical bore made from a lathed wooden body, and flared brass bell is affixed to the bottom. Nails are delicately hammered in and serve as ornaments. This instrument maybe constructed in a straight or curved form. The reed of the Sahanai is constructed from a thin cane type plant in which its folded multiple number of times. The reed is wrapped around a small brass tube with coloured thread. Should the reed crack it can be replaced.

Citations: New Grove Dictionary of Music by Stanley Sadie. Vol. 3 Pages 283 to 284 -article by Reis Flora. Bibliography: K. S. Khothari Indian Folk Musical Instruments Delhi 1968. B.S. Deva -The Double-reed areophone in India, Y/FMC vii 1975.