Indian Violin Posture and Bow Hold

The violin is held in a unique manner while playing Indian classical music. In the western classical tradition, the violin is supported between the chin and shoulder. In the Indian classical tradition, music is almost always performed cross legged on the floor. So the violin too is is held by the performer when they are seated on the floor. The posture is the same for both the Carnatic and Hindustani styles of playing the violin. The key to both the violin and bow positions is to find a comfortable position that suits your body.



Indian Violin Posture

Ambi Subramanium – Carnatic Violin

How to Position the Violin :

  1. Sit cross legged on the floor and extent your right leg forward.
  2. Place the scroll end of the instrument on the foot.
  3. Position the scroll near the heel, so others like to position the scroll much higher up. It is a personal choice.
  4. The tailpiece end of violin is placed near the collarbone. Some like placing it much lower near the chest area. Again, it is a personal choice.

How to hold the bow :

The proper bow hold is a key part of developing a good violin tone. A healthy bow hold should feel comfortable, with all of the fingers curved in a relaxed manner.

Unlike the sitting position, there is no bow hold that is unique to Indian classical music. Bow holds from the western tradition would work well with the Indian system. The only thing is that the Indian violin is held at a far steeper angle, so the bowing technique and contact point on the strings would change.

Follow the instructions on the above video. Alternatively, this tutorial given by Professor Sassmannshaus is top-notch.

3 Responses to “Indian Violin Posture and Bow Hold

  • Very well demonstrated.
    When someone cannot fold the leg due to some reason is there any fixture available so that the player can sit on a chair and play the Indian way like Dr. N.Rajam does?( pl see saptak festival-You tube)
    Is such a stand available in Bangalore? Where? I would like to buy one
    Thank you
    Dharma Rajaraman

    • Tejas mallela
      6 years ago

      Those stands are custom made from my understanding. I am not sure where you buy them, if at all.

  • Mayank Bhandare
    5 years ago

    Can I continue with the Western posture (between chin and shoulder) even while learning the Carnatic violin?

    Is it fine?

    My teacher gives priority to convenience – He says that there’s no problem if the player is convenient!

    Is it really so?

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