Left hand Techniqe in upper positions....ie fifth and above

March 16, 2006 at 06:51 AM · Hello Again,

Back with more questions. I use the idea of placing my fingers on the strings comfortably from fourth finger back...in most cases. Also, I under that finger placement...point of contact of finger on string matters. What I need to know is how does that chnage in upper positions (fifth and up) I like the idea that Galamian taught...placing the thumbside of the finger on the string close to dividing the finger in half (but maybe really a third from the finger nail to the half moon shape thingy. Pretty much the fingers are parallel to the finger board. At leasr from my understanding of it and it seems to work well with me in 1-4 positions. Please help me understand what changes take place in finger angle, finger/hand height, and finger placement in upper positions so I have been accuracy in my shifts and intonation.



Replies (6)

March 16, 2006 at 06:21 PM · Hello Brian

It is possible that You will find answer in

"Concept and Study for the Violinist".

Good Luck

Mikhail Lobko

March 17, 2006 at 06:33 AM · Hey,

For me, the most important thing when shifting in higher positions is the position of the elbow and wrist. Both need to come out more so that your fingers can comfortably play up there. I believe the position of the wrist and elbow to be more important than the actual fingers themselves. Let the fingers naturally play the way they can when you're up there. If you think too much about little details like exact angle and area of contact to the string, it may frustrate you. For every violinist, it is different. Since you seem to have the lower positions down (1-4), you have the common sense to realize what hand position feels right in higher positions (5+). Hope this helps!!!

March 17, 2006 at 09:30 AM · The important thing is to keep the fingertips at the same angle to the string all the way up and down. So exercises like 'caterpillar' (chromatic scales on one finger up and down with slow vibrato movement), Flesch/Galamian one string scales etc should all allow the arm to adjust naturally to maintain this angle.

Check out www.violinmasterclass.com for some excellent videos on technical matters like this.

March 17, 2006 at 10:04 AM · This is purely from personal experience and teacher's advice.

When shifting, remember to shift with the whole hand, not just the finger doing the shift.

Thumb placement is important in different positions. I feel it is the base of support for the rest of my fingers. Keep in mind to have it soft, otherwise shifting won't be smooth.

The shape of the hand changes from low positions to high positions. Fingers stand up more at high position. For me, my fingers almost totally stand up (little to no curve in the frist nuckle of the fingers). But then, I am talking about appox. 9th positions onwards. The distance between the finger tip and the string for each fingers should be the same in a given position.

Wrist and elbow gradually turns out (to the right side of the violin) the higher position you go.

Keep fingers light, e.g. do not press down hard on the fingerboard. In really high positions, I find my fingers weren't even touching the fingerboard but still get to produce the sound I want. But I guess this also depends on your violin.

With that said, you must find a position (fingers, thumb, wrist, elbow) that is most relaxing for yourself.

The furthest I can go at the moment is 12th position. 2 or 3 more positions higher and I will run out of fingerboard! It's a challenge but quite satisfying when things are working out. Happy learning.

March 17, 2006 at 01:57 PM · William wrote: "2 or 3 more positions higher and I will run out of fingerboard!"

... or you'll have to take up viola, which has the same upper range as the violin, like a cello.

March 18, 2006 at 12:03 PM · I wouldn't mind take up the viola, but then, I don't want to the center of the joke either! I'll stick with my violin for a little longer, a lifetme maybe :-)

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Violinist.com Business Directory
Violinist.com Business Directory

Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning
Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases



Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins


Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine