Shehnai, Woodwind Instrument

Well Known Indian Woodwind Instrument – The Shehnai

The Shehnai is a very well known Indian Woodwind Instrument also known as the (North) Indian Oboe.

It is customary to play the Shehnai in many North Indian weddings since its sound is considered to be very melodious & auspicious.

Usually at the entrance of the wedding venue, Shehnai players can be seen seated, playing their happy tunes and welcoming the guests. In other cases, when live performances are not possible, recorded Shehnai music is played in the background.

What does the Shehnai Look Like?

It is quite simple in look and feel. The tube-like body of the Shehnai is made of wood. It is slim on top and expands towards the rear end into a brass bell.

There are usually about eight (6 to 9) holes on the wooden body. Being a Quadruple Reed WoodWind Musical Instrument, the Shenhai has two sets of double reeds – two upper reeds and two lower reeds.

Origin of the Shehnai

There are several different interpretations about how the Shehnai was invented, the most common being that the Shehnai originated in the Kashmir Valley, in India. Other beliefs state that the Shehnai was named after the King or Shah in who’s court the Shehnai was played and the Barber or Nai who was instrumental in giving it the form it has today. Hence, the instrument was called the “Sheh-Nai”.

Famous Shehnai Artists

Some well known Shehnai Artists who played a major role in popularising the instrument and providing it global acceptance include –

  •     Ustad Bismillah Khan
  •     Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan
  •     Gangadhar Sant
  •     Lokesh Anand

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Alto Saxophone, Woodwind Instruments

Woodwind Musical Instrument – ALTO SAXOPHONE (ALTO SAX)

The Alto Saxophone is a woodwind musical instrument belonging to the family of Saxophones.

History of Alto Sax

The Saxophone was invented in 1841 by Adolphe Sax, an instrument designer of Belgian descent. Since their invention, the Sax have occupied an important position in classical compositions.

Different Types of Saxophone

The Alto Sax is one of the 6 main sizes of Sax identified and widely accepted during the 1850’s. The others include the Sopranino, Soprano, Tenor, Baritone and Bass.

Look of the Alto Sax

The alto sax falls somewhere in the middle as far as its size is concerned. While it is larger than the Soprano, the alto sax is smaller in size than the tenor sax.

The Alto Saxophone is a powerful and versatile woodwind instrument that has a flared bell and extends largely from the mouth piece to the bell. The most noticeable feature of the alto sax is its upper section which bends beautifully at right angles. Such a bend helps the player to hold and play music comfortably.

If we were to talk about the popularity of the Saxophone, we could conclude that the alto sax and the tenor are the 2 most popular varieties of the saxophone. Classical compositions have been composed especially for these two types of saxophones.

Some Famous Jazz Musicians, Composers and Alto Saxophonists

Some of the earliest Jazz musicians who popularised the Alto Sax were

  • Johnny Hodges
  • Jimmy Dorsey
  • Phil Woods
  • Eric Dolphy, etc.

Famous classical musicians who played tbe alto sax include

  • Larry Teal
  • Donald Sinta
  • Marcel
  • Mule, etc.

Other prominent names in the history of Alto Sax are

  • Alexander Glazunov and
  • Jacques Ibert

If we were to look at its history, we would find that the alto sax has been most popularly used in Jazz and marching band music.

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Harmonica, Woodwind Musical Instrument

The Harmonica is a free-reed, mouth blown woodwind musical instrument and is most commonly used as a part of Jazz Music, Country Music, Blues and Rock & Roll music, etc.

Other names of the harmonica include the Harp, Mouth Organ, or the Blues Harp.

How does the Harmonica play music?

The Harmonica essentially consists of a row of reeds which are set next to one another. These reeds are attached to a reed plate.

As air is blown into the holes placed in the front panel, the air enters the reed chambers and helps to vibrate the reeds which create sound. Since each reed has a predetermined tone, music is created as a combination of these reeds vibrate.

Perhaps the most important part of the Harmonica is the COMB that holds the air chambers.

Different Varieties of Harmonica

The 5 main varieties of Harmonica include

  •     Chromatic Harmonica
  •     Diatonic Harmonica
  •     Tremolo Harmonica
  •     Orchestral Harmonica
  •     Chord Harmonica

Producing Music with the Harmonica

Over the years, several different techniques of playing the Harmonica have been developed whether in Blues music or country music. These include bending notes, head shaking, vibrato, etc.

Some Famous Harmonica Players

Some well known Harmonica Players and Artists include –

  •     Little Walters
  •     Charlie Mc Coy
  •     Mark Hummel
  •     James Cotton

Harmonica Performance

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