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Sankh - Conch shell

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I have been given a Sankh - a conch shell - as a present - I know it will be hard to explain with words on a forum, but can anyone tell me how to 'play' it - I can't get a proper sound from it !! - My whole family has had a go - I guess we don't have the 'Lung' power - is there a 'trick' - or is it a case of practice and a good set of lungs ?

This is what it looks like;


Any Tips ?


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do this without conch 1st:

top lip slightly over bottom.

fill your mouth with air and slowly relesae it at high pressure

it's something like that - I've only tried it on a couple of occasions, but managed to do it each time. Your cheeks will hurt afterwards!

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This is to do with the level one can attain. The conch is not so much an instrument as a harmonic resonator. You know the scene in Enter The Dragon with the hall of mirrors causing Bruce Lee's confusion? He was caught off guard. The images in the mirrors stretch to infinity in a constant pattern depending on the shape of the environ. The shape of the inside of the conch shell can be thought of as an acoustic echo-chamber environ in a fractal pattern. The fractal emerges from and extends to infinity. The pockets of harmonic resonance (parts of the shell that vibrate) range from small to large, taking the oscillation and reproducing the same harmonic resonation in as wide a frequency range as possible (high to low), following the strictly defined rules of the fractal. The combined vibration is one clean harmonic sound made up of high to low clean harmonic sounds.

Distilling the essence of this, the rule that seems to be represented by the ancients' use of the conch shell is the shaping of vibration. If that is indeed the principle, then in this age of electronic amplifiers we are not limited to using this primitive device.

"The level one can attain": the original script for the never-filmed Game of Death is relevant, as well as the hall of mirrors scene in Enter the Dragon. Increasing the size of the conch shell will only increase the amplitude and can never change the frequency range of the harmonics . The tone/pitch is controlled by the human being's lips.

N30 says that this represents the level of attainment of the trikurti, which is a level of understanding not limited by time or space.

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i m not 100 % it's shank since i havent experieinced it myself.. i got it from books of saints ..all i m saying music that comes out after blowing an shankh is one of celestial music- panch shabad (10 divine music)...other one if i remember correctly is music of mardang... :)

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pull both lips in over your teeth and build pressure in the mouth and 'poooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmwaaaaap'

some are easier than others, wet your lips also that sometimes helps. I remember last year seeing a haggered old Udasi nearly falling unconscious trying to play a big shankh and all that was coming out was an incredibly whistlely farty sound.

...become the shankh

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A Big Thank You to all of you !

I am getting better - But I've got 'face-Ache' from all that blowing !

Talking of Udasis here is a great pic of a 'Narsingha' player outside the Udasi dera Amritsar


* taken from Folk Music & Musical Instruments of Punjab - Alka Pande -Mapin - 1999

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