World Flutes Master
Peace web theme set courtesy of Crystal Cloud Graphics web set icon
Crystal Cloud Graphics
el Medio Ambiente
Often called the snake charmer flute, the pungi is the snake charmer's instrument. The instrument, a type of folk clarinet with two pipes, may have originated in the Middle East. It is the Indian brother of the Egyptian arghul, and designates a double clarinet very similar to the murali clarinet although with a larger register. The word "pungi" in the Indian language simply means "tube" or "pipe", and is a generic term for many reeded noisemakers.
The pungi is typically one to two feet in length., and is made of bottle gourd or coconut which has been dried, resembling the shape of a light bulb. It consists of two reeds or bamboo tubes, one of which is for the melody and the other is for the drone. The two tubes can be made of different materials.
To play the pungi, or snake charmer flute, the musician needs to learn a technique called circular breathing, as the melodies normally do not allow for pauses. The snake charmer can be played for its interesting sounds or used as a decorative item and conversation piece.