Regarding Violin Fingering

October 11, 2005 at 05:21 AM · Hello-

I've recently began learning to play the violin; but I'm unable to proceed on with my practicing due to the issue I'm having whilst fingering on the fingerboard of the violin. When I try to produce a clear tone (a nice ringing sound) on the string, all I get is a thud. The video I use for practicing says this intially happens if one is not applying sufficient pressure to the fingertip so that it is pressed firmly against the fingerboard to pull off a clear ringing sound. Though if I were to apply anymore pressure to my fingertip, I would cut into the skin; the tip of my pointer finger is still very sore from fingering. It is odd as well that when I finger on the D string, I do produce fairly clear sounds; but whilst fingering on any of the other strings I hear only thuds being produced though the manner by which I'm fingering hasn't changed. Am I applying too much pressure, and if so, how I'm I then, to produce the fairly clear ringing sounds from my strings without bringing pain to my fingertips?

Replies (7)

October 11, 2005 at 01:40 PM · It's hard to describe aural concepts in words, but 'thud' is one word I've not yet heard to describe a bowed/plucked/blown note heh.

You need just enough finger pressure to hold the string down on the fingerboard. Start by applying too little pressure and increase to the point where the scratchy/whistling tone goes away. Unsure what you mean by the thud sound though, unless you are mashing the string so hard it simply can't ring.

There's also an endless amount of bowing problems that could be messing you up, but again nothing I can think of that results in a thudding sound.

October 11, 2005 at 01:53 PM · This may be a silly question, but with your _right hand_, are you bowing the note or plucking it? Knowing this might help us imagine what problem you are having.

Are your strings properly strung and in tune? Do open strings (no fingers on left hand down) sound reasonably good? (If not, the problem is likely to be in your right hand, or instrument setup, not left.)

(Though of course this sort of thing is much better diagnosed in person, so if you know anyone who plays violin in your area, you might ask them to have a listen/look and see if they can diagnose your problem.)

October 11, 2005 at 06:07 PM · Do you have a teacher???

Never ever press too much fingers on the fingerboard because by pressing fingers you will never reach any kind of violin technique (I am about both hands). Fingers should fall with the only amount of own weight, not more (there are some specific situations which you will learn much later, not now). Fingers should be active to fall down and jump up. Jump up the way pretending that you are touching something hot, like hot iron.

Francis is absolutely right. Your sound is produced by right hand. I think that you move your bow too slow, especially near frog. And also check if you open enough elbow joint moving the bow from the middle to the end. (You know, your bow should move parallel between bridge and fingerboard). I hope that you know how to hold the bow. Anyway you need not video tape but a good teacher. Good luck!

October 11, 2005 at 10:26 PM · Have you had an experienced violinist test your violin. maybe there is something technically wrong with the instrument. i teach my students to have a 'soft' hand... meaning keep tension in the left hand to a minimum.

October 11, 2005 at 11:02 PM · I think there are some teachers who would disagree... a lot of violin players are taught to really articulate... Some violin players, you can hear their fingers making pretty loud contact with the fingerboard... Starker recommends this always for cello players.

I think in certain types of passagework this principle works well.

October 12, 2005 at 12:18 AM · My teacher is one that likes to hear your finger hit the fingerboard. He tells me often to put down more pressure on the fingerboard.

October 12, 2005 at 12:48 AM · I would hazard a guess that the problem is in your bow technique and not the fingering. The sound comes from the right hand/arm, not the left. You only need to press with the left hand fingers enough to create a pitch, and the resonance comes from how you are drawing the bow. Are you bowing between the fingerboard and the bridge? Are you pulling your bow parallel to the bridge? Are you using rosin and a bow with hair that is reasonably new and well applied to the stick? What exactly is a "thud" -- just a dead sounding note? How old are your strings? Have you had the soundpost checked? Are your other fingers touching the A, E and G and keeping the vibrations from happening?

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