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Shehnai Fingerings

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Hello.

My english not so good but hope you understand. I wonder if anyone has fingerings for Shehnai or other materials relating learning it.

I study at Moscow Conservatory and there is great opportunity should I master such an instrument.

Thank you.

Mikail Ruschev

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Hello. My name is Jay. I just recently bought a shehnai. I bought this because I absolutely love the sound they make. The only problem is I can not get a sound out of it. I blow and blow, but no sound. Can anyone please help!! I am desperate! I want to make this thing sing! PLEASE!!!

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Well, the shehnai isn't blown very differently from an oboe. It's a bit more primitive, and it's technically a quadruple reed instrument, I believe. Although it doesn't make it much different to play from a western oboe (I believe it blows more freely), which only has a double reed. But because it has four thin strips of wood vibrating against each other, it's easier for problems in the reed alone to rise. Make sure they are all of similar profile, not cracked or chipped, as that could cause them to not vibrate properly. Also, if you're not already a reed instrument player, you'll have to wet the wooden reeds in water for a few minutes. No more than 5, I'd say. Sometimes just a quick dip does it, other times you may find the need to let them soak for a while. Once the reed is wetted, play around with embouchure. Make sure your lips are tucked around your teeth, and move the reed around between your lips until you find a sweet spot where it vibrates and makes a sound. You'll need to play around with pressure (squeezing lightly) on the reed until you find the proper position. You may also need to supply a LOT of air, the shehnai is not a quiet instrument, your first notes will likely be very loud squawks and not the sweet raga you're used to listening to. It takes a while to get the technique, but a lot of hard work is very rewarding.

Make sure you have a few reeds laying around! Anything could happen to a set, they can fall out of adjustment and you won't be sure how to seat them properly against each other, or they can just wear out over time and not want to vibrate as well anymore. Or... you could accidentally crack one. You'll need to learn to make your own, that's half the art of the instrument - the other half actually playing it. Find somebody who meet be able to give you some tips, that's really all I can say. Here's what your reeds should look like when ready to play:

shehnai_reed.jpg

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That sounds very helpful! I will mess around with it. One more question can you tell me how to change a reed? Mine seems to be tied on and i am afraid to unravel the string. share.do?invite=tERrmFJnm8PriLaU8UYL&shareName=MMS&messageState=RETRIEVED

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also if i had just bought the shehnai would the reed be ready to be used rite when i bought it or is there something else besides soaking it that needed to be done?

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I've found that I need to make a gap between the central reeds, so there is an oval hole to blow into. I have read that it's possibly a good idea to leave a toothpick (or similar object - eg. a matchstick) in between the central reeds after soaking them. Like the person above has said, if you soak the reeds, only soak them for a short time - the toothpick/matchstick can be left in overnight.

 

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The most important tip is something which nobody mentioned.  There is a hole on the lower portion (all the other holes are on the upper side.)you have to cover that hole with your left hand thumb.  All the other fingers  (except right hand thumb) on the respective holes. The notes are played almost similar to the flute. 

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On 7/27/2018 at 8:01 AM, Guinness Sanjeevbabu said:

The most important tip is something which nobody mentioned.  There is a hole on the lower portion (all the other holes are on the upper side.)you have to cover that hole with your left hand thumb.  All the other fingers  (except right hand thumb) on the respective holes. The notes are played almost similar to the flute. 

 

By "flute" are you referring to the bansuri flute's fingering? Would recorder fingering also apply here? I would be interested to know if the SA note of saregam is fixed or if it is movable on this instrument ie. playing it in different keys. There is almost no technical information on the Shehnai in English. Thank you

 

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Like I said before, mine only has notes on 1 side, so can't help on that question. There are a couple of publications in English available on Amaz, though haven't tried them myself. Suggest getting hold of some recorded music, listening to it and then working it out yourself. Alternatively, there are vids on YTube to watch and then listen to what the instrument sounds like when you blow and use the fingerings of it. 

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