The Definitive Guide To Bhoopali

kerry kriger bhopali tutorial

Namaste! I am Bansuri Bliss Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger and I'm very excited to teach you all about Bhoopali, the first raga that I teach to most of my bansuri students.

Bhoopali is ancient: possibly 4,000 years old. It is one of the five oldest known melodies. It has survived so long for a reason...people like it! I'm sure you will too.

Bhoopali is an evening raga (most ragas have a specific time of day or year when they are intended to be played).

Bhoopali's rasa (feeling) is that of Bhakti (Devotion) and Shanti (Peace). Bhoopali relaxes and re-settles you; if you are feeling anxious or uptight, Bhoopali is a great raga to bring you back to a calm state.

Download The ​Bhoopali Teental Composition

Enter your email to receive ​Dr. Kerry Kriger's ​​detailed notations ​from one of his Bh​oopali lessons with Pandit Vijay Raghav Rao in the mid 2000's.

Bhoopali is known by various names, including: Bhopali, Bhupali, Bhoop, and Raag Bhup.

Bhoopali is very common: anyone interested in North Indian Classical Music likely knows and recognizes it. The scale of Bhoopali is also very common scale in western music (where it is sometimes referred to, somewhat ambiguously, as "the major pentatonic scale").

Bhoopali is perfect for beginners because:
(1) there are only five notes;
(2) it has few rules; and
(3) the notes are easy to play on a bansuri because they are all fully-closed (there are no komal half holes).

Bhoopali was the first raga I ever studied and it is the raga I am most likely to teach a new student of mine, so it makes perfect sense for Bhoopali to be the first raga I teach inside the Bansuri Bliss Membership Site, where I have a very thorough course dedicated to the raga!

Bhoopali is also perfect for advanced bansuri players because:
(1) It is an enjoyable raga to play!
(2) In its simplicity, one can focus on the more complex musical possibilities.

Summary: Bhoopali is a great raga to learn first and you will likely enjoy playing it for the rest of your life!

Raag Bhoopali

​​Your instructor and the author of this webpage: Bansuri Bliss Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger

Bhoopali Scale

The scale of Bhoopali is:
SRGPDS ascending (arohi)
SDPGRS descending (avarohi)

We could also say that Bhoopali has a natural 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th; and that it omits the 4th and 7th.

Bhoopali has no komal (flat) or teevra (sharp) notes.

The most important note in Bhoopali is the Shuddh Ga, which is vadi (the emperor note). Play a lot of Ga if you want to sound like Bhoopali.

The second most important note (samvadi) is Pa. As with most ragas, Sa is important as well.

Dha is vivadi ("the enemy note"). You can play Dha, but don't hover on it. Not hovering on it means that when you play it, either descend to Pa or ascend to Sa afterwards (as opposed to playing a long Dha and ending the phrase on Dha).

Bhoopali Scale

​​Dr. Kerry Kriger playing a melody on top of Wheeler Peak, Nevada, 2014.

Video: Learn The Bhoopali Scale

This was the first video I ever added to the Bansuri Bliss YouTube Channel! Originally titled "1. Bhoopali Lesson on Bamboo Flute", I recorded it March 3rd, 2013 on my E flute (Sa = three holes closed = E). In the video, I explain the Bhoopali scale including how to get the notes on the bansuri. I'd like to think my videos have improved since this one, but it is still a perfect introduction to Bhoopali!

​For all the videos on this page​, watch the video then play what I teach on your flute regardless of what size or pitch flute you have. Just tune your tanpura to three holes ​closed on your flute and use the same fingering as shown in the video.

Simple Scale Exercise

In this video, Dr. Kerry Kriger teaches the melody Bhoopali on bamboo flute. You will learn a simple scale exercise that will get your fingers and your mind used to playing the Bhoopali scale and assist your raga playing. The exercise could also be used as a taan during an actual performance of Bhoopali in teental.

This video is part of the thorough Bhoopali course that Dr. Kriger has created, accessible when you become a member of Bansuri Bliss. The Bansuri Bliss Membership Site has not only videos, but also downloadable PDF's of Bhoopali compositions and written notations, as well as downloadable audio files of live concerts and otherwise unreleased lessons.

​Raag Bhoopali F​or Absolute Beginners

​In an effort to increase musical literacy in the world, I give you this video in which I can bring you from zero musical knowledge to a reasonable level of musical literacy and understanding of Bhoopali in some of the best 70 minutes you will ever invest in your musical education. In this live recording, ​I teach Bhoopali from scratch, on the assumption you know nothing about bansuri, Bhoopali or Indian classical music. ​You will learn:

  • The Bhoopali scale
  • How to play the Bhoopali scale on bansuri
  • The range of notes from Low Pa up to High Ga
  • How to read Indian classical music
  • The most common rhythm on the planet and how it works in Indian classical music
  • A simple scale exercise
  • A rhythmic exercise to facilitate your switching between single and double speeds
  • An introduction to gamak, which Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia calls "the most important sound in Indian classical music".
  • The most important note (vadi) of Bhoopali
  • The most important line of a fast speed (drut) Bhoopali composition
  • How Bhoopali sounds when you put all this together into actual practice
  • Where to continue your Bhoopali learning so that you know it in depth (hint: The Bansuri Bliss Membership Site is where you will find ​an incredible archive of bansuri knowledge).

Video recorded by Dr. Kerry Kriger live from Hyderabad, India on December 27th, 2018. Bansuri is tuned to F (+8 cents). Enjoy!

​​Scale Exercise in Bhoopali:

​In this video, Bansuri Bliss Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger teaches an excellent scale exercise for beginners. ​Watch this tutorial and practice the exercise: it will help you improve your rhythm, including doubling and halving your speed, and of course prepare you ​to achieve Bhoopali Bliss!

The video was recorded September 3rd, 2019 in Bullhead City, Arizona, on a D flute (Sa = D + 30cents). Enjoy!

Bhupali Exercise

Let's Talk About Gamak

Gamak is an incredibly important type of ornament that is extremely common in Indian classical music. In these videos, Dr. Kriger explains gamak and its applicability to Raag Bhopali.

This lesson was recorded for your enjoyment and musical enlightenment on 2013-03-11 using a G-flute (Sa=Three Holes Closed=G). This was Dr. Kriger's 2nd ever YouTube video!

Dr. Kerry Kriger unlocks the mysteries of bamboo flute in this video tutorial. You will learn:
- the raga Bhoopali
- gamaks and ornaments
- how to make your flute sound Indian
- the importance of Sa
- Kerry's first rule of ornaments
- How to improve the tone of your Pa
- The Ga-Pa Bridge and how to cross it smoothly
- 4's
- and a whole lot more

Recorded under Volcan Pichincha, above the Teleferico (Quito, Ecuador) on November 3rd, 2015, with an iPhone 5 and UrbanEars mic. Flute pitch is F (+8 cents). Sa = F = three holes closed.

In the next video, Dr. Kerry Kriger teaches Bhoopali on bamboo flute (bansuri). You will learn how to play gamaks, one of the most fundamental aspects of Indian classical music. This is pure classical music of northern India. This lesson focuses on gamaks in ascent. Gamaks in descent are a bit more complex, and are taught in detail in the Bansuri Bliss Membership Site.

Pitch: Kerry's flute is Sa (three holes closed) = G
Video recorded May 6th, 2018 in New York City.

Bansuri Q & A Episode 26: How To Play Two Notes In A Row On Bansuri

​This video based in Bhoopali comes from ​Dr. Kriger's Bansuri Q & A series. The video was recorded August 19th, 2019 in Manassas, Virginia. Dr. Kriger's flute is Sa (three holes closed) = F (+8 cents).

How do you play two notes in a row? Do you have to tongue them? In your taan exercises, when you show two adjacent notes tied together, is your intention that we tongue them together? Example: when playing any of GGRS RRSD SSDP DDPG PPGR GGRS RRSD SSDP

(Question from Rik Svien, Bansuri Bliss Member, Minnesota)


(1) Gamak if playing slow
(2) Break with the note below if playing fast
(3) Tongue if you are playing jhala or specifically want a staccato feel

By now you should have a decent grasp of gamaks, at least in Bhoopali! For other ragas, the concept remains the same, you just need to use the notes of that raga as the ornamental notes.

Bhoopali Tutorial: Teental Two Octaves Exercise

In this video, Dr. Kerry Kriger teaches an important exercise in the raga Bhoopali (raag Bhupali). The exercise is set to teental, a 16-beat rhythm, and covers two octaves, from low Pa to high Pa.

This video is a small part of the Bhoopali course available inside the Bansuri Bliss Membership Site, accessible to all Bansuri Bliss Members. As a member, you can download the full page PDF of all the written music from this video tutorial.

Bansuri Bliss Membership gets you not just the Bhoopali course, but an array of courses in other ragas, complete with audio, video and downloadable PDF compositions. The compositions are written in clear, precise notation of a higher quality than any you will find elsewhere online (as virtually all compositions online are written in degraded notation that was altered in order to be typed, losing much of the nuance of truly correct Indian musical notation). Dr. Kriger's musical notation maintains the traditional style to the finest detail, and is visually easy on the eyes, facilitating a successful practice session.

Bansuri Bliss Membership also gets you direct access to Dr. Kriger through a free introductory private lesson upon signing up, and two online group lessons every month (group size is small enough that you can always ask your questions and get replies).

Membership is only a fraction of the cost of a traditional music college or having to travel to a teacher to take private lessons. So if you want to deepen your Bhoopali, bansuri and Indian classical music knowledge, become a Bansuri Bliss member today!

The Bhoopali lesson below was recorded April 20th, 2019 in Manassas, Virginia. Dr. Kriger's flute is Sa (three holes closed) = F (+8 cents).

With no further ado, here is the video!

Real Bansuri Lesson With Dr. Kerry Kriger

In an effort to spread the Bansuri Bliss and the lndian classical music knowledge far and wide, Dr. Kerry Kriger gave this free online bansuri lesson on July 14th, 2019. If you seek bansuri knowledge and inspiration, this class is for you!

During the lesson, Dr. Kriger discussed:
- Bhoopali Alap: 00:45
- The Guru-Shishya Parampara: 4:34
- Vadi, Samvadi and Vivadi: 6:46
- Playing In Tune & Improving One's Sense Of Pitch: 14:40
- Practice Philosophy: 21:22
- Tuning (Cents): 25:42
- Practicing With Tabla: 26:55
- Bhoopali Simple Scale Exercise: 31:00
- Reading Indian Classical Music: 35:08
- Natural Musical Abilities: 37:26
- Riyaz: 40:20
- How To Hold A Bamboo Flute: 44:57
- How To Play The High Notes: 46:30
- Gamak: 48:34
- Bansuri Bliss Memberships: 55:31
- Bhoopali Teental: 60:56

The lesson was recorded live in Bogota, Colombia on July 14th, 2019. Dr. Kriger's flute is Sa (three holes closed) = F (+8 cents).

​How To Play Bhoopali In Rupak Taal​

I​n this video, Dr. Kerry Kriger teaches the raga Bhoopali in a ​7-​beat rhythm (Rupak taal). You will learn a composition in Rupak and many ways to improvise in the classical style of northern Indian music.

Video recorded January 14 in Hyderabad, Telangana, India as part of a Bansuri Bliss Group Lesson accessible to Bansuri Bliss Members.

Want More In-Depth Bhoopali Knowledge?

This webpage has a lot of Bhoopali knowledge but still only scratches the surface.

As mentioned above, the Bansuri Bliss Membership Site contains an extremely thorough Bhoopali course that includes lessons on alap, jhala, compositions for teental, rupak and other taals and much more. 

Of course, nothing can ever replace the value of one on one time with a qualified teacher. Indian classical music has been passed down through the guru-shishya parampara (teacher-student tradition) for thousands of years. YouTube videos are great for getting information to you, but only a real teacher can give you the feedback you need to ensure you are actually playing correctly. And it is assured that without a guru, you are NOT playing Indian classical music correctly. None of your favorite Indian classical musicians learned exclusively through YouTube. ALL of your favorite Indian classical musicians had gurus who gave them in-depth personal training. For private lessons with Dr. Kerry Kriger, please visit the Private Lessons page or send in an email:

Share This Page
  • 27
Open chat
Namaste Flute Lover!
You can send us a message via WhatsApp by clicking the button below. We suggest including your name and email address.
Powered by