The Indian flute is one of the oldest instruments of Indian classical music developed independently of the western flute. The master of the instrument is to be the Hindu god Krisna. They are made of bamboo and are keyless. There are two main varieties of Indian flutes currently used. They are the Bansuri (has six finger holes and one blowing hole), and the Venu or Pullanguzhal (has eight finger holes). The quality of the flute highly depends on the specific bamboo used to make it.
The Indian flute is the most important Indian instrument next to the drum. The way the Indian flute is made differently than African, Asian, or European flutes. However, it is difficult to find an Indian flute that is carved by an actual American Indian person. The Indian flute now has a mechanism in it called a wooden duct flute with a block whistle in it. Because this is now common in flutes, any flute made in Korea or anywhere else that has this mechanism in it can be called a Native American flute. For example, the Spanish guitar originated in Spain; however, Spanish guitars can be manufactured in the United States also. But it is still called a Spanish guitar. In order to find an authentic Indian flute, you must look for the authenticity label saying it was carved by a Native American. Where ever you may choose to buy the flute from, check for an IACA seal stating that it is a guarantee that you are buying an authentic Indian flute. Unfortunately, true Native American flute carvers are rare to find.
If you want to buy an authentic Indian flute because of the value of it, or because you want to support the Native American Indians, you may find a list of American Indian artists whose flutes are available online. The lists you may find are very small because very few Native American flute carvers are minimal.
Joseph Paige © 2006