Much like any other musical instrument, learning to play the violin is no picnic. Watching a violinist play is no question fascinating since they simply know where to move their fingers in the same manner that a heavy metal rock band drummer knows exactly where his toms are placed.
Whether in school, a private instructor, or online tutorials, fundamental finger placements are taught when you first learn to play the violin. Guided by using sticker strips or dots to show where your fingers need to be placed, this results in impeccable playing which highlights the importance of flawless violin finger positions.
Violin Finger Position Essentials
Learning which spots to properly place your fingers on a fretless instrument can be quite tricky. But, as you figure out how to naturally move your fingers towards the right location on your violin, you casually determine whether your notes are flat or sharp, allowing you to adjust appropriately. Although various factors can affect the allure and clarity of your sound, here’s an ensemble of techniques that can help you become an outstanding violinist.
Grip The Neck Delicately
One of the biggest mistakes that new violin players struggle with is the way they handle their instrument, particularly its neck. Squeezing it too rigidly makes it a tad difficult to place the fingers correctly since it doesn’t provide the flexibility that the fingers require. One of the best ways to make sure that you are not performing a death grip on your violin is to move your thumb along its neck intermittently.
Lift Your Fingers From Their Base Knuckles
Who would have thought that our finger’s anatomy will be playing a big role in our violin-playing success? Looking at our hands, you’ll notice that except for your thumb, each of your fingers has three knuckles. Lifting and dropping your fingers using its base knuckles can have an effect on the violinist’s progress, requiring their fingers to be loose and limber with each movement commencing from the finger’s lowest joint.
Keep The Wrist Straight
String instruments would at times require the player to contort their wrist a little for them to perform certain chords. Making sure that the wrist remains parallel to your forearm can make finger placements a lot easier compared to when it is leaning in or touching the violin’s rib. Keeping your wrist in a natural and straight position provides great flexibility that will allow even the third and fourth fingers to be placed properly.
Learn To Use Your Fingertips
Putting too much pressure on the violin string can alter the pitch of the note which is why new players would often make use of their entire finger pad to press on the string. However, the more experienced violinists recommend simply use the tip of the fingers since any additional weight might create an errant sound.
Warm Those Fingers Up
By performing a few finger warm-up exercises, you can prevent cramping or stiffness specifically in your left-hand fingers since they do most of the twitching, switching, and pressing. Not only will it promote flexibility in your fingers but it may also prevent severe injuries due to overuse.
As a violinist advances in their violin learning, they would gradually venture into the various violin finger positions. It will help them considerably if they adhere to a few do’s and don’ts.
Basic Violin Finger Position
Over time, with patience and practice, knowing where to properly place your fingers on a violin can become second nature. Novice violin players would often come in exhibiting blunders in terms of holding their violin as well as their finger positions. Just like any other skill, it is best to get a firm grasp of the basics first as it opens doors to more advanced and progressive techniques. Here are a few helpful tips on your way to getting the hang of the violin’s first position:
- Place your thumb about an inch from the nut, bending it slightly and letting it touch the violin’s neck at the middle joint.
- Allow a small space between your thumb’s lower half and the base of your index finger. Approximately big enough to fit a pencil through that opening.
Bear in mind, that if your thumb is too clenched against the base of your index finger, it will generate excessive pressure in the left hand, constraining your fingers to shift between the various positions.
- The thumb and the index fingers should be aligned with all the other fingers curved appropriately, allowing them to strike the violin’s fingerboard accordingly.
- Make sure to keep the wrist straight to prevent the base of the thumb and a small portion of the palm from inadvertently making contact with the neck.
The first position exhibits the lowest five notes on each string which means that getting your finger position wrong by even just a hair can negatively affect your sound. Once proficient, your fingers will naturally know where and how to place themselves on the violin for that superior and flawless sound.
Violin Finger Placement Measurement
Understanding the proper violin finger positions perhaps poses the biggest challenge when learning to play the violin. And since violins lack the frets that show where to properly place your fingers unlike in guitars, most novice violinists turn to utilize finger tapes on the fingerboard to act as a guide.
Place your index finger about two inches down from the top of the fingerboard and check if the G string is in A. If your tuner reads that each note is in tune, put a strip of tape in that spot.
The next finger tape should be placed around an inch away from the first tape. Your middle finger should read B on the G string before you settle the tape down.
About a half-inch away from the second finger tape, allow your ring finger to tune the G string until it reads C before laying your third tape down.
From about an inch away, adjust your pinky finger on the G string until it is tuned in D and keep it in place with your finger tape.
With practice, our fingers commit to memory the conforming placements that will eventually allow us to get rid of the tapes, stay in tune, and play splendid violin sounds without them.
Violin Finger Positions FAQ’s
1. How do violin players know where to place their fingers?
When first learning how to play, instructors use finger tapes or dots to mark where players need to place their fingers and remove them as you learn to instinctively move your fingers to the right spots.
2. What is the first position in the violin?
The basic left-hand stance where the index finger plays the next note up from your open string is the violin’s first position.
3. How many positions are there on the violin?
Nearly all violin music can be played using the three basic positions, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions.
Violins are an amazing instrument to learn and listen to. By putting to use the most appropriate violin finger positions, there is no question about how you can create the clearest and the most soothing sounds fret-less.