Playing narsingha

This man is playing a traditional Nepalese trumpet, called narsingha. Though I've been to many Nepalese weddings and celebrations I didn't see much of this instrument. It is very unusual in look and in sound. The name narsingha means "buffalo horn," but the instrument is much larger than the horn of a buffalo. The narsingha varies widely in size, shape and usage in ensembles throughout Nepal. In eastern Nepal, narsinghas are shorter and thicker, while in western Nepal, narsinghas are longer and thinner. Narsinghas are made by copper-smiths and blacksmiths, in Kathmandu and in the middle hills. They are crafted usually in four sections. Some narsinghas have a C-shaped curve, while others are put together in the form of an S though the shape of the instrument does not seem to significantly affect the sound. And what the sound they make! They are fanfaring announcing the arrival of someone important. Different players and different ensembles develop distinct narsingha calls that are unique to the ensemble and sometimes to the individual.

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