I am currently learning the Venu, the South Indian 8-hole bamboo flute.

I am experimenting with different ways of holding the flute like

  1. Using all three fingers of my left hand parallel and closing with my middle part of the fingers.

  2. Using the three fingers sliding and closing the hole with the front part of the fingers.

I find the second technique is used by many top performers. But I find it efficient. But I want to know how important is the finger positions for the overall playing especially when we play difficult fast notes?

2 Answers 2


I do not play the bamboo flute, but I do play clarinet and recorder. On both of these instruments, I try to keep my fingers above and as close to the holes as possible. Sliding is less efficient because it uses more muscles to perform and is less precise.

The overall concept to consider is "how can I use as little movement and as few muscles as possible?" This means:

  • Using the movement of the knuckles rather than the joins of the fingers.
  • Not collapsing the joints of the fingers; in other words, keeping the fingers rounded as though holding a ball of sorts.
  • Using the pads rather than the tips of the finger to close the holes so as to give the most surface area as possible.

For further reading, I'd suggest looking into flute, clarinet, or recorder hand positionings. A great book that I've used is The Art of Clarinet Playing. He has great descriptions and pictures for hand position.


The Venu and its cousin the Bansuri are generally played with the second joint of the fingers closing the holes, but some players close the holes with the pads of the first joint of their fingers, particularly on the smaller instruments.
The fingers should only be moving up and down. Sliding is only used for advanced chromatic playing.
There's a discussion of finger placement (for the Bansuri, but equally applicable to the Venu) here.

  • Is the same as the Piper's Grip that I use for my Low D Tin-Whistle? Mar 28 at 13:30
  • 1
    The grip is basically the same for all of these open-holed flutes (also neys, dizis etc.) and other instruments with open holes like bagpipes.
    – PiedPiper
    Mar 28 at 14:33

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