Here is a vote from reader Graham Emberton, who was thinking about how the left hand relates to the violin: How many points of contact with your violin or viola do you have in your left hand?
Obviously the fingers will touch the strings, so that is the first point of contact. The thumb will provide a counter-balance, and that is the second point of contact. But how much is the side of your index finger in contact with the instrument? If you look at your left hand, there is a little line at the very bottom of your index finger, where it meets the rest of your hand. A bit under that line, you can feel a bone at the side of your hand - the base knuckle of that finger. Above is a little crook that can be used to help support the fiddle, or just to touch the side of the violin to give your fingers a reference point.
How much we do or don't use that third point of contact, the side of the index finger, can really vary. Some fiddle players actually kind of "hold" the violin the left hand, so there is constant contact. For others this is more intermittent, touching the side of the hand when playing certain passages but then letting go for shifting, vibrato, etc. I have also seen players who seldom or possibly never touch with the side, and I've noticed some teachers actually teaching their students to play with no contact at all with the side of the hand (possibly to prevent "grabbing" the fiddle from the beginning).
Personally, I tend toward that middle ground, a combination of using that third point of contact and letting go, touching intermittently with the side of my hand. How do you tend to play? Do you play with full 3-point contact (side of index finger pretty much always touching the neck), 2-point contact (no contact with the side of the index finger), or a combination? Please participate in the vote and then tell us your thoughts and perspectives on the matter.
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