Type: Aerophones > Shawms > Reeds.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Region: South Asia.
Description: The Sahanai is a shawm that is found in Nepal. It is used by the Damāi tailor–musicians as the melody instrument of the pañcai bājā ensemble. The sahanai common in the Gorkha district of central Nepal has seven equidistant finger-holes plus a vent and no thumbhole.
Instruments in other areas have seven finger-holes and a thumbhole. Sahanai are used in matching pairs, one shawm taking the melodic line [rāgī sahanai] while the other sounds a drone [surai sahanai]; they are played with circular breathing.
Construction: The size varies considerably with a body about 31 cm long plus a bell, originally of brass, about 10 cm long. The brass staple and the reed are about 6.5 cm long. The curved wooden body, with conical bore, is made in two longitudinal halves, later re-joined and secured with plaited cane rings. The compound double reed is made from palmyra palm leaf [Borassus flabellifer; tār-patra in Nepali].
Citations: Bibliography: Mireille Helffer, revised by Gert-Matthias Wegner and Simonne Bailey ; Websites: Grove Music Online / Sahanai Article ;