How to play cleanly with large hands
One of my frustrations as an amateur is how to play cleanly when part of my hand or finger gets in the way. I'm a large guy with fairly large hands. For example, I play a tune that requires fast alternating between a C on the A-string (using second finger) and the E above it (that is, the open E-string).
The flesh of my palm touches the E-string enough that it's muted or silenced. I can rotate my hand enough to get clearance, but that position seems very unnatural to me. I can also just play the E on the A-string, but the note isn't crisp enough.
What's a professional's solution to this?
Have you asked your teacher if you have one? Perhaps you can have your hand more above the fingerboard? The "unnatural" position you're talking about may very well be something you just have to get used to. Posting a video or picture would help a lot.
As a fellow violinist with rather large hands (size 14 ring finger) the best advice I can give you is to test things out. Experiment in order to find a way that works. Sometimes this will require shuffling fingers over in order to keep from muting other strings. When you say the flesh of your palm touches the E string that sound like your hand position is too high. Like Ella Yu said pictures would be greatly appreciated.
Come over to the dark side! Viola is your instrument.
This is actually a very good question. There's a very easy solution to your problem: move your finger towards the D string, so you're moving it away from the E string.
There is the cello (my first instrument), the most ergonomic bowed instrument ever invented, which, I suspect, is the main reason why community orchestras are too often overloaded with them. The cello section of one such orchestra I was once in years before I moved to the violin ballooned from 6 to a quite unreasonable 14, and rising - that was the main reason why I quit that orchestra!
Restring a viola as a violin? (with G, D & A viola strings and a packet of spare Es!)
Trevor I remember being the only violist in a community orchestra with 10 cellists. It's a good thing my Chinese viola is a cannon.
Paul, many years ago, when I was lead cello in a community orchestra, at a rehearsal the lead viola didn't show and I was "volunteered" by the new conductor to stand in (or is it "sit in"?) for the absent player because there were a couple of solo bits that the rest of the viola section couldn't really cope with.
I think us men are at a slight disadvantage compared to most women.
I totally agree with watching videos of Perlman's playing (with those large hands). WRT that: nothing shows what he does with those hands better than a very short closeup bit within about 5 minutes of the movie "Everybody Says I Love You."
I agree with Ella Yu. Posting a video or even a photo of your hand in.playing position (2nd finger C on A moving to E) will better help the good people with knowledge and experience here give suggestions. It might help even more to also show the whole arm.