How to Figure Out Violin Fingers

Violin fingering often causes confusion among violinists and composers attempting to play and write for the instrument. The concept of violin positions will often cause more frustration than necessary. The violin uses four fingers to play all of the pitches in the chromatic scale. By moving the entire hand, it becomes possible to quickly play the violin with a minimal loss of energy. Learning violin fingerings makes it possible for a violinist to play music correctly and for a composer to write music that lies within the violinist's reach.

Step 1 Learn about first position fingerings. In first position, the left hand uses four fingers to play eight pitches on one of the four strings. Pitches vary depending on the string used. The first position on the G-string plays G by keeping the string open, without using any fingers. The index finger plays G-sharp and A, the middle finger plays B-flat and B, the ring finger plays C and C-sharp followed by the pinkie, which plays D.

Step 2 Consult a violin chart to learn the fingering positions for the rest of the strings and positions. In first position, the D string plays the pitches D through A. The A-string plays the pitches A through E and the E-string plays the pitches E through B. This makes it possible to play an entire chromatic scale from low G to high B without changing the hand position and simply moving from one string to the next.

Step 3 Learn how positions work by understanding how the hand moves on the violin. The first position on the G-string plays the lowest notes on the string. The second position on the G-string will start on B which is one step higher than the first finger placement in first position. Third position starts on C, fourth position starts on D and so on alphabetically up to seventh position.

If you have any questions about what fingering you will use to play a particular note, consult a fingering chart. The fingering chart will tell you what finger and what string to use to play a pitch.


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