For other uses, see Venu (disambiguation).
Other names Muraḷi, Vēṇuvu, pillana grōvi, kūḷalu, pullankuzhal

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Indian Woodwind Instrument
Playing range

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More than 2.5 Octaves (8-hole bamboo flute)
Related instruments

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List of Indian Flautists
More articles

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Palladam Sanjiva Rao, H. Ramachandra Shastry, T. R. Mahalingam, T. Viswanathan etc..

The venu (Sanskrit: वेणु; veṇu) is a bamboo transverse flute used in the Carnatic music. It is also called by various other names such as pullankuzhal (புல்லாங்குழல்) in Tamil, പുല്ലാങ്കുഴല്‍ in Malayalam, and ಕೊಳಲು (kūḷalu) in Kannada. It is known as pillana grōvi (పిల్లన గ్రోవి) or Vēṇuvu (వేణువు) in Telugu (Andhra Pradesh).

Construction and technique

One of the oldest musical instruments of India, the instrument is a key-less transverse flute made of bamboo. The fingers of both hands are used to close and open the holes. It has a blowing hole near one end, and eight closely placed finger holes. The instrument comes in various sizes. The venu is also a highly respected instrument and those who play it are expected to appreciate it, for it is considered a gift to be able to play it.

The venu is capable of producing two and half octaves with the help of over-blowing and cross fingering. The flute is like the human voice in that it is monophonous and also has a typical two and half octave sound reproduction. Sliding the fingers on and off the holes allows for a great degree of ornamentation, important in the performance of raga-based music.


The flute (Venu) finds great mention in Indian mythology and folklore having been listed as among the 3 original instruments meant for music along with the Saraswati veena and mridangam (veena-venu-mridanga trinity).[citation needed] However it is strange that there is no name mentioned for the typical flute that the Lord plays.

The venu is associated with the Hindu god Krishna, who is often depicted playing it. This kind of flute is mainly used in South India.The Lord Vishnu is portrayed as Sri Venugopala - playing the flute of Creation.

In Hindusthani style, it is known as Bansuri . In the south indian style, it is known as flute


Carnatic 8-hole flute pitch E

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Venu players of the past

  • Palladam Sanjiva Rao
  • H. Ramachandra Shastry, a disciple of Palladam Sanjiva Rao.
  • T. R. Mahalingam, a child venuist prodigy who started playing the flute at the age of five years. He is most popularly known as "Mali" or sometimes "Flute Mali."
  • Dindigul SP Natarajan, Disciple of T.R.Mahalingam
  • B.N. Suresh
  • T. Viswanathan, grandson of Veena Dhanammal and brother of Balasaraswati
  • T. K. Radhakrishnan, son of the Legendary composer Lalithadasar and disciple of Palladam Sanjiva Rao
  • T. A. Hariharan - Disciple of Sri T K Radhakrishnan and staff Artiste of AIR Chennai
  • Cochin Ranganathan known for his unique style of Swaraprastharas

Venu players of the present

See also

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  • Bansuri: The bansuri from the Hindustani music tradition is a 7/8 holed flute. Lord Krishna was also known as Murali-dhara (one who is carrying Murali or flute) and Venu-gopala (Gopala playing the Venu) and the music from his flute was called as Venu Naadham.[citation needed]
  • Carnatic Music
  • Hindustani Music

External links