Flutes: Open or Closed Hole?

A question we often hear from upgrading flautists: “Is an open hole (ring key) flute better?” The simple answer is: No, unless you want the open holes.

For the beginner, closed holes are normally preferable as it removes the initial frustration that arises from not fully covering the holes and smaller hands, and allows the student to focus on learning the basic fingerings and correct embouchure. (This can also be achieved with a ‘plugged’ open hole flute, allowing a later transition) Correct finger position is not an issue if learned and taught correctly.

The true advantage of open holed flutes is their use in modern music for advanced shading and special effects, but also that they can easily be converted back into a closed hole instrument with plugs for the best of both worlds. There is still much debate on whether there is any tonal benefit to closed or open holed keys, but very little evidence either way.

For most students looking for a new instrument, it is important to try an open hole flute, but if you decide that a closed hole model is for you, don’t feel you are missing out!

Please visit our website to see our range of flutes.

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