One finger stopping two strings simultaneously

December 2, 2005 at 05:39 AM · Hello everyone! This is the first time I am submitting something on this site - I am a new member and have registered just some minutes ago.

I come from the Mediterranean island called Malta - a very tiny country which is geographically located just beneath Sicily, Italy.

My query has to do with double stopping but I do not think that there has been one such question before: I have tried, at length, to search for a similar question but I was unsuccessful!

Here is my question: I want to play a chord where the notes D and A are played together. I know I could easily do this by playing the open strings of D and A simultaneously without any need of stopping. However, this chord occurs in a piece of music and the notes that follow the D-A chord make it clear that the A note has to be played by stopping it rather than playing it as an open string. To be more clear, this piece music shows: ...DA, F#A,...

Is there a way where one finger can stop two strings at once? That is, by placing the finger flat across the fingerboard.

If one had extra flexible and extra long fingers (or plenty of training!), I think that this problem could be solved by placing the pinkie on the D string to play the A note, and the third finger on the G string to play the D note.

Any other suggestions?

Replies (8)

December 2, 2005 at 06:18 AM · it depends from person to person. I have rather slender fingers for a boy, but they're much much thicker than my teacher's (which are slender for a woman). If she's playing a stopped fifth, she uses the third finger and the fourth finger, as you described. I can place the tip of my finger across both strings without too much effort (getting it in tune is tricky, or course. It can require that you do some slightly different things with your finger)

experiment, practice. Stopped fifths are quite common so it's a skill you'll need to develop ^^

December 2, 2005 at 07:17 AM · I too have narrow fingertips, so I rotate my base finger joint a little so I am not on the tip, but at an angle off the fleshy tip part (my elbow turned in a little) and can stop both strings at once...placing my finger directly between but on the strings.

December 2, 2005 at 10:30 AM · Well, you're in luck in that they are both to be played with the second finger, which is nice and meaty (it has more width to play on than the others). You don't flatten or distort your finger to play both strings (if you can help it), you balance your hand position just right and try to keep the finger as close to the same shape as the others. At first, it will seem very tricky because they will not automatically be in tune with each other. As Joseph said, this is a skill that you can and should develop, since it shows up regularly in music. If you can't play the D and A by stopping the string with the second, perhaps you could practice on something simpler first, like first position, first finger. You practice it a little every day and it gets easier. I thought I wasn't able to play two notes with one finger and still get them in tune, but it started working after I kept trying.

In order to play the chord you described, you would use the fingering 2-2-3-1, in third position.

Do you have a teacher? It is nice if you have someone who can see if you're placing your fingers properly. I hope this helps you, and I'm glad you decided to post the question.

December 2, 2005 at 11:52 AM · Greetings,

if you have slender fingers you can learn to pull the lower string towards the upper with the finger tip. Practicing scales in fifths is a very useful exercise.

Forgive my puzzlement but I was not clear from the info why you ca't play open strings with that sequenc eof notes. The basicv rule is what sounds best.

Keep in mind that a vibrato one octave higher than an open styring can help to mellow things out.

It might also be an example of the real problem lying in a different place. IE your dififuclty is really with some kind of shift after the open strings and if that isresolved then there is no more problem...

Cheers,

Buri

December 2, 2005 at 08:08 PM · Oh, I misread that. I thought all four notes were played at once.

December 2, 2005 at 08:38 PM · Greetings,

hat"s what I mean. Why spread it across the four strings instead of using open?

Cheers,

Buri

December 3, 2005 at 03:50 AM · You can do this in 4th position rather than 1st to use the "fatter fingers". It is up to you and what the before and after looks like.

Now to the trick - place the finger for the double-stop not flat across the two strings, but *between* them. In other words, the finger touches both strings on the sides of the finger rather than holding the string down normally.

To play this in 4th, use your first finger between the G and D strings to get the DA part, then keep your first finger in place - don't move it fully on the string, then use your 3rd finger fully on the G to get the F#.

December 4, 2005 at 05:29 PM · Here's another trick - stop the strings with your first finger and play the 5th with your second... For example, for third-position DA, put your first finger on CG (intonation not important) AND your second finger on DA. Seems to help both notes speak. Mysterious!

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