Type: Double Reed > Aerophone.
Region: Nepal > South Asia.
Dimensions: Length in cm.
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.