Major Scale Fingering Chart Question

October 13, 2007 at 11:43 PM · Could someone please look at the fingerings on this basic major scale chart for me.

I have Hrimaly, but I just want to work on my 3-8v's . I now am only using 2-8v's and have charts all over my walls, which I'd also like to get rid of fairly soon(after learning 3-8v's).

Anyway, I just need to know if the fingerings on this 3-8v chart are acceptable.

Replies (39)

October 13, 2007 at 06:52 PM · The question arises partly, because I'm use to starting b-flat on G using f2; and, C on G, using f3......

October 14, 2007 at 12:25 AM · "use to starting b-flat on G using f2; and, C on G, using f3..."

Whatever book I used had each scale starting on f1 on the G string, as best as I can remember. That allows all the scales to have the same fingering.

October 14, 2007 at 12:16 AM · I believe a more conventional fingering is to use the second finger to start every scale from Bb upward. There are of course many options of where to shift after that.

October 14, 2007 at 02:03 AM · Thanks guys--the chart is just succinct, and starts all scales using f1, except D and G(which start on open)

But given that, and in that shifting is flexible...I guess I'll compare it to Hrimaly.

October 14, 2007 at 06:29 AM ·

October 14, 2007 at 02:55 PM · I am personally not crazy about the scale systems that start on the same finger for each, except that playing them this way gives a concrete understanding of how each position higher has modest decreases in space between fingers. Playing the same scale starting on different fingers and figuring out the whole & half-steps can be a lot more helpful for scale-y stuff in context, where you can't expect to always get to your universal fingering. Sue

October 14, 2007 at 03:09 PM · Well, this: this is the chart I was talking about...

I pulled out my Hrimaly I was talking about last night--again--and started getting familiar with it as well.

Nate, I'm doing 3rds and 6ths double stops every day as well. But mostly for now, I'm just focusing on continuous octaves all the way up to tune my finger spacing and equally--my reach, tuck and articulation.

Sue, I agree but its based on gut instinct, and knowing how important the steps are in piano work for just several reasons.

Could somebody please check out the chart for me.

October 14, 2007 at 03:57 PM · Albert,

I grew up on Hrimaly and Flesh scales, later adding Galamian. The fingerings are good, but try moving all your shifts to the E-string. This will enable you to concentrate better on the aspects of String Crossings and then shifting. The E-string pattern should then be accomplished on all strings.

As your intonation and mechanics gain mastery, then –– as Sue mentioned –– start varying your fingerings (we have 4 plus the Open-string, of course:-).

It’s all in the “book.” You could save a lot of time……

October 14, 2007 at 04:16 PM · Drew astutely observed:

"It’s all in the “book.” You could save a lot of time……"

Thanks Drew... I think you may be right on this... I was just wanting to have it all on one page I think. I have just so much articulation and posture to focus on, the idea was to just go ahead and at least learn them in a straight-forward way--probably so I could say I'm doing them in 3-8v ;) at least on some level (ambition.)...

And things like slurred shifts and so forth, I'm getting from other work--actually just playing sometimes, but in looking more intently at the Hrimaly, this would be good for me more formally as well.

Thanks for validating the fingering--points taken and noted.... Al.

October 14, 2007 at 04:31 PM ·

October 14, 2007 at 11:41 PM · Greetings,

the fingerings are fine.

The two most widely used sets of fingerings are those by Flesch (also called the Paginin fingering) which start on the seconde finger and those which start on the first . I think this tends to be associated with the modern soviet school to some extent. Teh advantage of the latter is taht it eliminates the string crossing on a semintone. I used to use this way but ultimately have gone back to the second finger scales because this kind of crossing is part and parcel of an orchestral player slife so why not learn to live with it? It is worth learning both . But.-not at the same time.

The e string shifting is intersting. That is the system advocated by Ysaye and i like it a lot.

The best book taht includes Galamian fingersing (all firts rate) and the Ysaye is scales for advanced violnists by Barber. It is not so hard and I strongly advisde you to buy a copy,



October 14, 2007 at 11:57 PM · Thanks Buri--I may now continue. I'm going to use both the Hrimaly for grouped things, and the chart to just get the scales under my belt.

October 15, 2007 at 01:26 AM · Greetings,

Albert, here are acouple of useful ways to practice scales.

1) Play the tonic, miss the intervening notes , play 4 abd 5 and then the octave. go up and down thre eoctaves. These notes are the -objective- ;) part of the scale and should be in tune with the open strings and each other. Now play the scale adding the third and 7th degrees to this framework. You can make these notes a litlte sharper acocrding to what you feel is right ofr you. Note this also varies from era to era IE I would use sharper 3rds and 7ths in Wagner than Bach. It also vaires according to the speed of the music you are playing. In faster pieces the half tones are usually better closer together.

Finally add the 2nd and 6th degre to your framework. Place those notes precisely halfway bettwen the 1/3 and 5/7 you have selected. Very good exericse for building scale intonation.

2) Remeber that the firts finger is the base or guide so practice ponly that finger playing its notes. There will be some big jumps but if your firts finger knows where to go it is very useful. This applies ot a lot of passages in the repertoire as well.

Finally, don`t neglect two octave scales they are veyr valuable and can be pracitced with ever increasing complexity of rythm and bowig up to 9th position,



October 15, 2007 at 01:34 AM · Thanks Buri--on my practice wall it goes....

This is a little advanced for me, though I practice arpeggios faithfully. I'm in this bringing what I've done together mode that sounds like I'm being lazy but really not.

You know how hard I've worked to get my balance and articulation. So for now, learning 3-8v, will continue my exploration of balance, shifting and articulation in simple terms... You task master you!

Currently, I'm putting in place:

my improved bowing...

my improved articulation...

my improved tuck and balance...

It's sort of neat, but I have a graphic on my wall with things like: tuck, left thumb, arched bowing, articulation, every note-- I've been using when I start playing; and, well better than half the time I'll look at the word that I need to refocus on.

And even when it is like tuck, the chart reminds me to stay focused and return to good form.....

October 15, 2007 at 03:59 AM · Nate,

The reason for all E-string fingering after crossing the strings is purely for separation of the movements –– string crossing and shifting. As I mentioned, the E-string pattern is to be done on all strings. This will help the player to accelerate their learning/skills in getting around the violin at any time and on any string. How many times does a less advanced player have difficulty with a shift on the lower strings, accompanied with total fear and dread, but handles it beautifully on the E-string?

Where we shift in the repertoire is determined by the artistic impression –– clarity, tonal color, projection and all the other ingredients to be considered in portraying a musical composition. Sometimes I go up on the G-string a ways and then cross, other times I gradually progress up as I cross. My goal is to hide shifts totally, unless I want their “flavor” to be heard –– however subtle or bold that seems appropriate.


Earlier I meant to say that we have 4 fingers to begin a scale with and all should be learned, but as Buri mentioned, master one 1st. I would also favor the 2nd finger start, then 1st finger, then 3rd and finally 4th. Within each of these I would add a variety of fingering patterns –– again, after you are totally confident and secure with one.

Also, you must mix in rhythms throughout and double-stops as you cross the strings. Also, rhythmic shifts.

You are quite amazing in your passion and thirst to learn.

October 15, 2007 at 05:39 AM · Thank you Drew. You can say you know at least one adult student who finds violin 'all that' worth it.

Double Stops: Awhile back, I started with them, using several resources (Bystovesky, VMC). I had to take a break, but when I started them again about a month ago, my work had paid off.

Still, I'm just getting fluid--and as a result of work in other areas. But tonight, they were cool. And the Gavotte I'm playing has my first 'real' ones, though I've played around such as I could.

But, and the point is, tonight I could at least 'see' a day when I start getting fancy with them. I ran some scales with vibrato, and it was 'way' cool.

I think it taught me more about vibrato as well. But, someday Drew--and maybe sooner than later.

p.s. One of my secret fantasies is to play Schubert's Ave -w- Menhuin's double stops.

October 15, 2007 at 06:36 PM · 3 octave scales are totally overrated.

October 15, 2007 at 06:59 PM · the change is much more comfortable if it is on a half a tone (Flesh)

October 15, 2007 at 08:01 PM · I guess there's just many ways of looking at this. My goal is to better learn my fingerboard, though shifting isn't a problem, and playing in upper positions comes easy, after I finally got some posture going..

October 15, 2007 at 09:54 PM · "The fingerings are good, but try moving all your shifts to the E-string."


I don't mean necessarily to contradict you, but my post that 3-octave scales are overrated was partly serious, and it concerns shifting.

My main complaint about focusing too much on 3-octaves is simply that almost all the shifting is concentrated on the E string, and a little on the A. I've found that students who come to me having done a great deal of 3-octave scales in the past often have great difficulty shifting and being comfortable high on the other 3 strings, especially the G-string. The concentrated shifting of the 1-octave scales on each string is even more important for technique (the first page of each Galamian scale). I've also found, both for me and my students, that 1-position scales are great for building comfort in the upper positions. I have them go up to at least 7th/8th position across all 4 strings.

While 3-octave scales are useful, I think people who master them can still have problems with the high positions.

Having said that, I often like to shift more on the E string for brilliance when called for in the repertoire.

October 15, 2007 at 11:23 PM · Greetings,

Scott, I agree with you completely. I have come to belive that the most eficient way to biold a technique by far is to do one stirng scales (more than an octave) with all the Yost/Galamian/Gerle patterns. Doublde stops too. Pracitcing 13131313131 and then 2424242424 then 13241324 on two stirngs only for example builds scale sin thirds much more clealry and ffciently for me. I also thing one psoition sclaes are invaluable. I put the three octave scale in third place. Fourth actually becuas eI prefer four octaves.

I think thi sposition is tacitly refeletced in works such as Dounis The SArtists Technique and more direclty by Ricci in hios book on left hand tehcnique. Thes erae advanced volume sof course, but I have found very elementary studnets with a decnet ear are veyr capapble of doing one finger scales on one string without worrying about positions or where to shift etc etc. A very importnat technique introduced too late in my book,



Please note the effetc three octave scales have on speleling too...

October 16, 2007 at 05:27 AM · Scott and Buri,

I totally agree with you guys. I do have my students do 3-8va scales, but it is not the highest on my list. Speaking of high: I will even begin a 3-8va scale on D, 2nd 8va on G-string.

Scott, I did say to do the E-string pattern of shifts on all the strings ––

"The fingerings are good, but try moving all your shifts to the E-string. This will enable you to concentrate better on the aspects of String Crossings and then shifting. The E-string pattern should then be accomplished on all strings.”

The above statement and method is only to separate the string crossings from the shifts for the distinction of left-arm motion for the moves. (See also the post of 10/15/07 at 03:59 am.)

I actually have various studies, as Buri can attest to, that cause my students to go all over the fingerboard. Double-stops up to 13th position and beyond –– on all strings. In the various patterns I am working different intervals of shifts.

I concentrate on the Arpeggio patterns individually, developing the intonation/left hand adjustments (contractions/expansions) all over the fingerboard –– if there is black, the fingers go there and beyond, and this includes double-stops and with constant variety of rhythmic patterns so shifts are developed with a multitude of speeds.

“Having said that, I often like to shift more on the E string for brilliance when called for in the repertoire,” Scott. I often do this and sometimes go 1 or more shifts up on the G-string, then crossing the strings if I want to gain more depth of tone.

Another handy trick is to sometimes totally skip the D-string. Go up the G and jump over to the A –– talk about intense and exciting:-)

Good health,


October 16, 2007 at 06:22 AM · I'm having to interpret here, and it is 'some' work. Drew, your various comments make me resolve the following:

My 2-o scales and arpeggios are kicking. My work when I get 5to6(my limits right now) is becoming more fluid and competent monthly. My musical ear is trained by 40 years 'absorbing' piano on a personalized level.

All I really need to do, is understand the fingerboard instinctively and somewhat technially up through 7th on G, maybe 8th on D, and probably 9th on A/E. I am 46 years old and 'will not' play Paganini Number 1.

I need to instinct and name my positions, be able to visualize my options musically given the above, and execute. So's, I'm terribly frustrated trying to be confident teaching myself Hrimaly, though most of the notions I seem to understand. I feel I need help with this.

There are concepts there within, such as starting scales in different positions I feel nearly solicitous about. But, I'm fighting this irony that once I learned patterns and scales on piano, it became tactile and I never really had to think about it again. True. It became knowledge--not trying to be abstract here.

So though I intend to try and truly kick it, technically, I really am a musician, but I started looking at things really, from the top down early on. So I will qualify that it is within all these parameters that I try and interpret what everyone is saying.

So, I'm actually just inclined to learning each string/w/positions up through my goals and starting making connections with reference points above and below. And when I play, my chest is all puffed out because I can jump in nearly any key--and if the good Lord's will this will only continue improving further.

And, I think my general goals are lofty enough for a satisfied musician. General popular classical with an edge, and making my mark with interpretation--another top-down-thing sort of quality that defines me realistically I think. So, I don't need to know up to 12th? Though, I'm impressed.

The chunks of fingerboard space for up through 9th etc, also replicate pattern wise as one evolves further anyway? So... I'm looking to put these layers in place now.

October 16, 2007 at 06:03 AM · Its most important not to let scales become a mind numbing activity ,my students are always delighted that after the b all scales have the same fingering because it makes them easier to learn.After all for most its their first excursion high up on the violin.As the majority start theses scales at around 12 yrs there are years ahead to explore every possible connotation of fingering and bowing.The traditional fingerings are a good way to imprint the semitones once done its time to put on the backpacks and go exploring.Its interesting to note how many have problems with a scale progression merely by changing the accent on a note in a rhythmic progression.

October 16, 2007 at 06:31 AM · My current charts are 2-8v, and progress up through starting each major and minor key on it's first occurrence on the f1 position finger, shifting starting on D>G on D-string.

October 16, 2007 at 08:00 AM · At the risk of exposing my ignorance, could someone please explain the scale nomenclature used in this discussion, e.g. 2-8v, 3-8v, 3-8va, 2-o ?

Edit: Nevermind. After a cup of coffee, it dawned on me that "-8v" seems to be shorthand for "octave"

October 16, 2007 at 07:14 AM · I think there is such tremendous value in scales on one string .... one fingered, 2, 3, and 4 fingered .... (Yost, Galamian etc). If you had limited time, or a student with very limited time ..... could there be MORE advantages to running through these each day rather than the three octave scales? (I mean if you HAD to choose) I'm asking because I have a foreign student (12) who already has sooooooo much to do with homework and just understanding what she has to do in school, ... (One thing missing in scales up one string is string crossing of course ...)

October 16, 2007 at 07:42 PM · Al,

No, you do not immediately have to climb the Sears Tower, shimmy up the Communications Towers on top, and then sling-shot your way into the sky, but, wow, it sure is fun:-) And the landing is easy.

These achievements are progressive and you are well on your way.

It is a thrill when teaching a newer student in my studio who has been working pretty well on the 3-8va scales and arpeggios, and, say they are doing D Major (2nd Finger start) with shifts on the E-string……………I simply say “next” –– they look at me and say they “do not have it, yet” –– I smile, and they do it…………I say next, and they do it……………I say next, and their eyes get bigger:-) and they do it……………about G Major, 2nd finger start in 6th position on the G-string, I nod my head or wave my hand for them to continue………………we both smile, they get wide-eyed, turn red from almost laughing and………………………THEY DO IT!!!……………so we continue until we reach B flat, 8th Position start. At this point I determine whether to encourage further or go up to D, 10th Position start.


(By the way, the higher scales with the 1st time through are invariably as good as their B flat to D Majors beginning in 1st through 3rd Position.)

It is all in knowing the Hand Groups and their sequence. These help tremendously in learning the entire repertoire much more efficiently and to a higher level.

Every thing in my studio is memorized, or in process of being memorized from day one.

Hand Groups

Interval patterns of measurement.

(See pages 6-9.)

They are the “words” – the language of notes and intervals as translated from the page to the violin fingerboard.

A combination of interval spacing between fingers, as in, open/closed/open or whole/half/whole, steps or tones which is the “Beginning Hand Group” – BH. (Note that pitch intervals change with varied string combinations, but the Hand Group can remain the same.) See Intervals, 2.

(Excerpt from: Violin Technique: The Manual and Viola Technique: The Manual)

This type of stuff is in my book, the subtitle of which is “How to master…” It is not just another scale book–– I would have not wasted my time and everyone’s money for that. There is no need for another Scale Book for the next 20 millenniums, but I did feel there was a need for a How to Manual, hence –– Violin Technique: The Manual, How to master… with Terms & Tips and Viola Technique: The Manual, How to master… with Terms & Tips.


How about 1 to 3 days with 2-8va scales across the strings and 1 to 3 with 2-8va scales beginning with 1st finger on the A-string, doing the usual 3-8va fingering portion on the A & E-strings. Say about 5 or so keys, each day beginning 1 key higher and then cycling through again as the top range of the student is reached.

Along with this, each day doing the 1-String, 1 or 2-8va scales –– each day the G-string is done and one other.

Just a suggestion and it should certainly be tailored for where the student is at present and then added to accordingly so time is proportioned properly –– one scale well played is worth more then 100 badly played.

Hope this helps.


October 16, 2007 at 10:36 PM · Greetings,


I think that with the kind of limite dtime situation you describe it is not so much the scales themselves as what you od with them. AS Drew poitns out , you can create all manner of routines that cover most scales. However, the key factor for me her eis the consistent incorporation of a wide variety of bowings, rythms and accents. Aside from these incorporate problems from the repertoire.

If you really put me on the spot and siad a stduent had only 15 minute sa dya for scales then my reocmmendation would be to focus on patterns as reocmmended in Gerle. So everydya a new spacing of finger sis used but on any one day -only- one pattern is used. Thsi pattern is used to practice scales on one string using drones and double stops with trills incorporated. Note that Gerle, in my opinion , did not go quite far enough. You can do the patterns across the strings as well as up and down.



October 16, 2007 at 10:51 PM · I have a really basic (and maybe stupid) question.

How do you practice scales?

What should they be teaching me?

I'm serious. I'm working out of the Flesch book, I've done 3 octave scales and arpeggios in G, A, Bb, B, C, and D, and I don't feel like I've gained any benefit (and I'm not very good with them yet). So what should I be doing?

My teacher actually took me off of scales for a few weeks and had me doing Sevcik Op 8 (for shifting). Now we're going back to the scales and I feel like I'm floundering. :(

October 16, 2007 at 11:12 PM · Tara,

When I teach scales, I tell students to practice them as if they working on 50% bow. That means I give them several different bowings--duple, triple, 4, 5 6, 7, 8, 9, etc., and with different rhythms. This accomplishes several things: 1) prevents scales from becoming too boring 2) puts string crossing and shifts on slurs 3) lets them be able to play the scales with any bowing, instead of getting mixed up when asked to use more that just one 3) forces them to accelerate the scales 4) lets them practice using their bow.

The eventual goal? To be able to play an entire scale, whether 1, 2 or 3 octaves, in one bow, with smooth shifts and good bow distribution.

If they actually do this, it works. Boy does it work.

October 16, 2007 at 11:13 PM · Greetings,

it certainly isn`t a stupid question and is probably one thta should be posed more often. I do belive a lot of students are forced (?) to do exactly what you describe without really knowing why and beome trapped ina vicious circle : they are not comitted to the work which leads to shoddiness which decreases motivation which increases shoddiness and so on.

UNfortunately Scales are the grammar or building blocks of boith music and your technique so they cannot be avoided. Thay are, as Kogan put it, the same as the daily routine of brushing your teeth. Two things might help.

First- don`t begin with scales. You have an emotional and spiritual/creative component as part of your physical self and if you begin scale work while this sis sleeping then the work that follow sis often drudgery. Begin with a piece of music you like or improvise something. Mozart or Bach is ideal. It also helps to watch DVDs of violinists a few minutes before the sesison begins.

Then consider the following criteria fro evaluationg your scales:

1) Intonation

2) Tone

3) Rythm

4) Expressiveness (dynamics).

Listen to yourself and decide which of thes eelements is weakest and which strongest. Repeat this procedure a few times. Then playlistening only for the weakest criteria IE I am going to play this scale paying attention only to the rythm. Do thisa few times and identify exactly where a problem between two notes is. Apply a pracitc emethod to this area to improve the problem. Embedd the area in a slighly wider context and then wwork on the whole scale.

Also try recording the scales and finding out exactly what it is that doesn`T sound good.

Finally remember that arguably scale pracitce time is the period when you are trying to -intensify- the mentla control of your hands. It is not a time for physically training the hands. In violin playing that is always a secondary aim. The stength and agility flows from the mental control. Thus ones pracitce should always be designed to stretch the degre eof control required by the mind just a tad. Thus if you get a copy of Galminas manual and apply the rythms, bowings and accnets to your scales the mentla challenge will make the time pass very rapidly and the involvement will bring very good results,



October 17, 2007 at 01:08 AM · Thanks everyone--with Tome and chart on hand, I'm putting Buri on the scales--too many prunes!.

October 17, 2007 at 10:27 AM · Thank you Buri and Drew for your advice ... the more I get into this teaching business the more I realize I don't know .....

Concerning 3 8ve scale fingerings .. a friend of mine was taught (by a famous Italian violin teacher) the following:

Bb and upwards all have the same fingerings:

All start on 1st finger, then go up

3-1 on the d-string, then

3-1 on the e-string, meaning you always have a 1234 at the top. You come down in the same way (4321, but 1-3, 1-3 on the e-string.)

One advantage I see is that life is made very simple ... 2 shifts to get up there and two to get down. And the hand is always shifting a fourth, down or up.

I had never heard of this before..... is it in some scale manual? (I only have Galamian, Flesch and some antiquated stuff, but they pretty much all go for the 12344 at the top, if I am not wrong) Does anyone else use these fingerings???

I was experimenting this morning ....very interesting!!

I have ALWAYS started on 2nd finger .... never even thought about NOT starting on 2nd finger ........'til I read this thread .... amazing how you can get fossilized in your thinking over some things ......

October 25, 2007 at 05:08 AM · Teresa,

Just a brief follow-up.

The fingering is very good. Also vary the strings you shift on with the same finger sequence, i.e., shift up on G & D, on G & A, on G & E, and even both shifts on G and then across, etc., etc., also, both up on G and both down on E and vis-versa:-) When you have learned one well, do another, varying several each day.

(Obviously this much change could be extremely confusing for a student and one must allow them time to truly master a fingering –– otherwise one just gets a lot of out of tune notes and no technical stability.)

I didn’t include that specific fingering in my book, as I wanted to keep it reasonable and more accessible to be well used and expanded upon by the individual. I do show scales beginning on any of the fingers and the open string, of course.

Extensive fingering choices in various arpeggios are in my book, as violinists and violists get more tied up on those.

Hope this helps ––


October 25, 2007 at 06:51 AM · Thank you Drew ... I have been having a real blast personally experimenting with different fingerings.... and I understand what you say about the students :

"Obviously this much change could be extremely confusing for a student and one must allow them time to truly master a fingering –– otherwise one just gets a lot of out of tune notes and no technical stability.)"

So, in light of that comment a question comes to mind:

How and why did 3 8ve scales get to have the 'standard fingerings'?

The fingering I have been messing around with:

ie 1st finger always on tonic,

1st finger always on dominant,

Shift always on semi-tome (leading note to tonic)

= hand is always shifting a 4th, so you get mega training in that PLUS your finger board GEOGRAPHY gets more easily engrained because of tonic and dominant always being on 1st finger.

= PLUS, all of your arpeggios or broken chords with 2nds or 6ths or whatever you want to do, fall into the same basic patterns.

So why do we end up teaching (right at the START, anyway)the conventional, going up on e- string 1-2 1-2 and coming down 3-1 .... when the whole package is MORE COMPLEX technically, and for getting head around where you are geographically? (Or not?)And especially because all arpeggios then require another bunch of fingerings.


I will buy your book sometime .... probably be a good time now with the dollar plummetting against the euro!

October 26, 2007 at 07:44 AM · Teresa,

1. “How and why did 3 8ve scales get to have the 'standard fingerings'?”

I tried talking to Paganini, Kreutzer, Vivaldi, Corelli, Nardini and all the other ini’s, but they just wouldn’t pick up their cell phones:-)

Seriously, I think it is just something that developed as players sought out that magical combination of the Technique and the Music melding or fusing together.

Depending on the period of the music and the character of the section, we will use fingerings that enhance the drama and/or colours of sound desired, i.e., bright, brilliant, dark, warm and any other adjective that we feel should be brought out. Stay on the lower strings longer and the tone gains depth and breadth of character. Go quickly to the high strings and the sound becomes more brilliant and radiant. This is why one finger pattern will not work for all passages.

2. “The fingering I have been messing around with:

ie 1st finger always on tonic, _1st finger always on dominant,_Shift always on semi-tome (leading note to tonic)_= hand is always shifting a 4th, so you get mega training in that PLUS your finger board GEOGRAPHY gets more easily engrained because of tonic and dominant always being on 1st finger. _= PLUS, all of your arpeggios or broken chords with 2nds or 6ths or whatever you want to do, fall into the same basic patterns.”

That’s a mouth full. Yes, you do develop the shift of the 4th extremely well, but why not also develop the shifts of 2nds, 3rds, 4ths and 5ths in the scales and 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths and 7ths in the arpeggios? We don’t only eat bread –– and I love a good loaf:-)

The semi-tone/half-step is the best for hiding the sound of the shift, but we must develop whole-tone shifts as well and make them the equal of the semi-tone in skill of execution.

In the arpeggio it is most noticeable when the player is always shifting at the same moment. I will use this fingering (1’s on Tonics) as it can be absolutely the perfect fingering for the given passage, but when over-used, which is true of everything, it becomes terribly obvious and so very predictable. Imagine the violinist/violist/cellist or singer that vibrates every note the same…

Consider that a shift with a change of finger lends greater clarity, musically and/or technically, in so many instances, i.e., a 1 sliding to a three ("End-over" or "Old/new" Shift.), or shifting from the same 1 but sliding into the 3 (“Into” shift) for a more romantic or idiomatic character, a 2 sliding up to a 1 (“From/into” shift) for rich lyric connection or fast brilliance whether the shift is highlighted or totally clean and hidden.

The above shifts along with others are described and exampled in my books.

There are so many choices, it is incredibly wonderful and the reason the string family is the closest to the human voice. We can shout, scream, anguish, laugh and love all in quick succession –– we get to play all the characters of the drama or opera!

3. So why do we end up teaching (right at the START, anyway)the conventional, going up on e- string 1-2 1-2 and coming down 3-1 .... when the whole package is MORE COMPLEX technically, and for getting head around where you are geographically? (Or not?)And especially because all arpeggios then require another bunch of fingerings.

Shifting up with 1 and 2 on the E-string can be very brilliant and fast and in many instances is more easily hidden as the shifts are so rapid-fire. Kind of in the same vain as a glissando slide up or down combined with a Staccato, Spiccato, Sautillé or Ricochet bowing. You do not hear the slide. Another example would be the legato bow with a chromatic ascent or descent using one finger and vibrato to achieve clarity.

Shifting down with 321, especially at the half-tone, is incredibly clear and less cumbersome than 21. There are many instances, particularly in orchestral and chamber music, where one opts for the 4321.

In chromatic scales with changing fingers the 12 up and 321 down are generally clearer, though I will often use 123 up as well.

Variety and mastery is the key.

Technique is the tool by which we accomplish the artistic.

Have fun ––


P.S. I look forward to sending a book to you. Thanks and let me know what you think. D.

November 1, 2007 at 05:31 PM · Thanks Drew for the extensive reply.

Hopefully I will be ordering your book next week... !

November 3, 2007 at 12:52 AM · What an enlightening discussion! Thanks to everyone for their contributions.

A suggestion and a question...

I'm coming at this more from the perspective of trad/jazz/klezmer, where playing by ear is given more emphasis. An approach I've found very helpful is a book by Arnie Berle, "Encylopedia of Scales, Modes & Melodic Patterns". It's multi instrumental, so it won't help with the fingering discussion, but it's full of quite original ideas for exploring the relationship of the scales to each other, through cycles of semitones, tones, thirds, fourths etc. It also explores all kinds of scales, modes and arpeggios that go beyond the traditional major and minors. I find that all this enlivens scale practice and helps to train the ear. Just my 2c...

Now my question: I stumbled accross this scale book the other day - The Golan Violin Scale System.

Looks interesting, but doesn't seem to have been discussed on this forum. Some titbits from the blurb:

• based primarily on the scale practice routine of JASCHA HEIFETZ

• more efficient and clearly laid out than any other scale book

• fingerings that are applicable to repertoire--not merely repetitious patterns that were designed for easy memorization

"This scale book tops them all. It's the finest scale book on the market today. I believe it will become the most important book of its kind." -George Perlman; Violinist, Composer, Pedagogue

It will mostly be too advanced for me right now, but it seems to be out of print, so I'm wondering if it's worth snapping up a copy while the author still has some in stock. Does anyone have experience with this system?

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