Finding the notes no matter the position

April 15, 2018, 4:28 PM · Hi all.

There are a lots of books on learning positions. However, I would like to know what you think is the most effective way of getting to have a fluency of reading/fingering notes from the vantage points of different positions.
One suggestion I recently came across was to play the same piece in one position, then play it in another and so on.
I was wondering whether there were other suggestions or recommendations for a method/book out there that treated positions in such a way that one arrived with less time spent on comfortable relative association of notes in the same position.

Replies (46)

April 15, 2018, 6:23 PM · I find Yost to be very helpful. Other than that, I think playing repertoire that requires use of upper positions is the most helpful.
April 15, 2018, 10:44 PM · Forget positions and treat the fingerboard as one position. Don't jump unless unavoidable and crawl about instead. Do one finger scales and double stops so you only move a semitone or tone.
April 15, 2018, 11:18 PM · Yost 1-finger scales. It's all about knowing the geography of the fingerboard through whole and half steps (and combinations thereof).
Edited: April 16, 2018, 3:53 AM · For practice and as soon as I could, I used to play the game of playing my practice songs without a necessary string. So I had to move the notes of that string to higher in the fingerboard of the lower string (s). It worked very well to allow me to find a note without thinking.

However...

This is a topic that brings some heated discussions between my teacher and me. He is very strict that I have to go through the board in the traditional way: 1st, 3rd, 5th, etc... He gets really angry if I use any fingering from the 2nd or 4th... But in my head and fingers, the notes are there and I don't care which positions they are. That usually brings me a scolding.

But if you are not bound by that formality, going back to play a piece you know well, sans a random string, it's fun.

April 16, 2018, 4:33 AM · Tammuz I think you already alluded to it. It is the exercise that Simon Fischer is most proud of. Take a passage, melody, musical theme, short song, anything, but not an entire piece: it should be some independent phrase that you can remember and play by heart. Play it in as many fixed positions as is possible. Depending on the notes there may be really a lot of possibilities. For example, a one-octave scale in A minor, starting with the A of the open A-string, can be played from first until eighth position. But this is just an example, it works better with melodies, fast passages, etc, so avoid fixed scales. I do that every day. It is fun too. It is really "playing".
April 16, 2018, 5:37 AM · @ Carlos "This is a topic that brings some heated discussions between my teacher and me. He is very strict that I have to go through the board in the traditional way: 1st, 3rd, 5th, etc..."

That worries me a little. I can only say that if it was my teacher I would go elsewhere, but of course you may have other good reasons not to.

Edited: April 16, 2018, 6:06 AM · I agree with Peter. It is one thing to have a teacher laying down the law for a 5-year-old (usually the best way to get results!), but if a teacher can't/won't have a reasoned discussion with an adult pupil then there is something seriously wrong.
Edited: April 16, 2018, 6:09 AM · Carlos, your teacher is nuts, if that's really his stance (and I agree strongly that not having reasonable discussions with adult students is a big thumbs down).

Even-numbered positions should not be secondary to the odd-numbered positions, and indeed, comfort in the even-numbered positions is one of the hallmarks of good players.

The fingerboard should be treated fluidly. The more advanced the player, the less "position" should matter, as well, especially with the use of extensions.

Edited: April 16, 2018, 7:02 AM · Excellent reasons and advice from Lydia and Trevor. I should have put it a little more strongly in my quick answer above!
April 16, 2018, 7:55 AM · As a kid, I started position-playing about 3 months into lessons. My teacher felt I was ready for it, and she was right. I started with the Harvey Whistler 2-volume method, Introducing the Positions, learning 3rd, 5th, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th and up -- in that order.

I will often do something like what you referred to -- namely, playing the same material in one position, then another. This helps me get a comparison, and I can make better-informed decisions regarding which positions best suit me for certain measures.

About "fluency of reading/fingering": I remember the reference Kato Havas makes in A New Approach to Violin Playing. This is from memory, but I know I have the words right -- or nearly so: "A thorough knowledge of the fingerboard is essential to overcoming sight-reading difficulties." I've also found that sound knowledge of the positions helps me decide at a glance which position to use, based on similar patterns I've seen before in other sheet music.

April 16, 2018, 8:13 AM · I think there are two sets of skills involved here.

One is shifting to wherever you want to go -- being able to go from any note and any finger, to some arbitrary other note on the fingerboard with some arbitrary finger. Even for extremely expert players, some shifts will be easier than other shifts. You figure out "landmarks" on the fingerboard and get good at those, and then find other notes from there, usually.

The other is to be in some position, and to fluidly read notes while staying anchored in that position, with the right fingers going down automatically. I think -- assuming that you have good intonation and know the spacing between fingers -- that this is actually more about reading *intervals* than reading *notes*.

There are only four patterns for placement (once you get to 5th position, the pattern is identical to 1st position, just one string lower; 6th is like 2nd, etc.). So once you learn those, you're set for note-patterns in a single position.

April 16, 2018, 9:13 AM · In the intermediate stages I teach positions by semitone: low 1st (="half") low & high 2nd, etc. There is some overlap, e.g. high 3rd = low 4th.
Edited: April 16, 2018, 10:24 AM · There is a lot of overlap. My mental position system is similar to what the cellists and guitarists use: 1/2, 1, 2, 2 1/2, 3, 3 1/2, 4...etc. The order that I would teach it is 1, 1/2, 3, 2, 2 1/2, 4, 3 1/2... Doing a chromatic scale in parallel octaves will demonstrate that. Of equal importance is the interval distance between the positions when shifting.
April 16, 2018, 10:02 AM · With regards to Yost, it is true that the transition is across positions within the scale; however, as I recall from the book it is on the same string and is typically very linear, setting up patterns to be repeated on all strings. Which invites a certain virtuosity but I think it doesnt push the brain into sightreading across strings.

Jean Dubisson, where does Simon Fischer mention this exercise of playing the same exercise in different positions?

I was thinking perhaps that a compromise between playing a piece that forces the mind into overdrive (which might well be better than what follows, I don't know) and having a certain predictable pattern that is not too linear (ie a linear scale) would be to play the same series of broken thirds/fours across the strings in different positions. that way the mind is always thinking but at the same time, there is a linkeage between the notes that hopefully imbeds more subtly the position of notes and their relation to each other. Would that be a good approach? Is there a textbook that one might peruse for this?

Again thanks all.


Edited: April 16, 2018, 10:22 AM · I see three memories involved in shifts and positions:
- the absolute placing, more in the joints than the muscles (documented);
- the sense of motion and distance, more in the muscles;
- the "imaginary fret" memory, more visualised.

Also let us not forget elbow motions while we concentrate on th fingerboard!

April 16, 2018, 10:28 AM · Fischer Basics #255 is finger patterns in all keys and positions. Really useful.

But the best way to practice sight-reading is to actually sight-read a lot. I'd go buy yourself a book of Disney tunes (or anything along those lines) and go play each tune in each position. If you know the tune by ear, that's fine -- part of this is to get your fingers to place themselves when you know the interval in your head.

For the advanced player, Gavinies etudes, which have a lot of broken octaves anchoring the hand in intervalic leaps, are a really good way to reinforce moving around in high positions and recognizing the finger patterns.

April 16, 2018, 10:46 AM · Certainly, the "old school" violin pedagogy was to teach positions in the order 1-3-5. I think that by the time you got those down pat you had room in your brain to fill in with the even numbers and climb up from there. The problem I found with this progression was that by the time you must play even-number positions (especially sight-reading them) you mmd has grown used to thinking of fingers 1 and 3 as "nots on the line fingers" and fingers 2 and 4 as "notes in the space fingers." This does not lead to easy switching to the opposite perception for the even-numbered positions.

I think it was a progressive step when Suzuki started to teach climbing the positions in linear numerical order and so many violinists of the past half-century have grown up with that.

A real problem can arise when notes written with 4 or more ledger lines must be read - specially when reading a hand-written manuscript. It is a good idea to learn to read those notes both as sounded and when written "8va." Something that can help solidify a position is to always be aware of what note the first finger would sound on the string you are playing and even to aim for that note and "frame your hand" according to the position. Playing scales 2 octave scales up the strings and in position across all the strings, while being fully conscious of what you are doing, should be helpful - maybe as part of the daily warmup!

For cello playing, which I studied in my teens, there is essentially a position for each half-step on the lowest octave of each string and then half-step extensions from each of those, if your hands are large enough, or little "dance steps" up and down if they are not. Above the first octave of the cello the fingering is much like that for viola or violin and the step sizes are about the same - you have the added "advantage" of being able (it's a necessity) to use your thumb to sound some notes and the disadvantage that it is difficult to use your pinky finger. Because I had played the violin for 10 years by the time I started cello, my mind would read treble clef as a violinist would and my fingering would follow suit - it seemed to work (and I don't recall ever seeing more than 3 treble clef ledger lines in the cello music I have played).

I do not recall thinking positions during my cello study years, but rather placing my fingers to achieve specific purposes of
1. economy of shifting motion
2. consistency of tone
3. bowing

April 16, 2018, 11:08 AM · "Forget positions and treat the fingerboard as one position. Don't jump unless unavoidable and crawl about instead."

I think whether one jumps (shifts) really should depend on artistic considerations and not which is easy or avoidable. People generally don't have problems with small shifts anyway--it's the big ones that get them. I mean us...

On the contrary, I don't believe that abandonment of thinking of discrete positions will be helpful to the typical student. Actually, I think it more helpful to really know reference points on the fingerboard. That is really what leads to success in big shifts and picking out high notes. As an example, I try to have students be very familiar with the octave note on each string (the exact middle of the string). This note is extremely useful: if you can find it with each finger, you can find a large number of notes in the high positions, even if they are a position up or down.

Violinists who think with reference fingers end up knowing the fingerboard much better. An excellent example of this in action is the well-known excerpt from Brahms' second symphony, the second page with the octave A leaps. If you know where the lower A is on the A string (the string midpoint), you really shouldn't have any problems with this. Also, finding reference fingers should be done not just by thinking about a point on the string, but calibrating the hand position with the body of the violin.

April 16, 2018, 12:51 PM · Tammuz, like Lydia already answered, it is indeed based on Basics #255, but there it is given with a fixed four notes. Then, in his book "The Violin Lesson" (exercise 2 of "two essential intonation exercises" in the chapter on intonation) he suggests to expand this to any phrase or scale. Here's a link to the interview where he admits he is quite proud of that exercise.
Edited: April 17, 2018, 7:35 PM · Thanks Jean and Lydia and everyone else. I've incorporated basics 255 (upto position 5) followed by a piece I'm playing in different positions. This is apart from the rest of my homework.
Edited: April 17, 2018, 11:12 PM · I always thought that discreet positions halfway up each string were a given, and that all advanced and intermediate players would be aware of them. These are extremely useful and still will work in parallel with semitone and tone finger movements. (As will other harmonics that can be used to check intonation).
April 18, 2018, 1:18 PM · Tammuz also very interesting are the Sitt etudes in fixed position, I believe they go up to 6th, entire etudes in one position.
Edited: April 18, 2018, 1:59 PM · I think of note-reference points for specific fingers. That's how I can get to nearly any high note on the fingerboard almost without much thought. Thinking position-wise is a loosely helpful guide for me-I really do not think about them at all.

Something as simple as Flesch 1-4 can be helful, if done in a thoughtful manner.

And of course, learning advanced repertoire.

Do not shy away from practicing lower position phrases high up in the fingerboard. Much like losing fear of deep water, sometimes one must just take risks and get used to the "depths" of "high position" playing. (Indeed, it's possible many passages actually sound better in the lower strings, so it's both a good experiment and exercise.)

Memorize the high open harmonics of each string. These help a lot as a mental aid for big hand position jumps.

Though I am not going to bash Mr. Carlos's teacher, don't worry that much about his/her comments: second position playing is so essential to violin playing, that I see little use in avoiding it, even as a "training wheels" sort of exercise. Almost every important (and less important, for that matter) work will benefit from second position playing. Spring Sonata, Vivaldi "Op. 3 No. 6", Moto Perpetuo, any Concerto-violin playing is incomplete without "second position", so may as well get used to playing in it ASAP.

Edited: April 18, 2018, 7:06 PM · I would not put too much weight in my teacher's comment. I know where he comes from and where he is going and I understand that he is trying the best way to get there according to his background.

He is not the most flexible teacher, but neither I am the most obedient student. When I play at home, I place the most convenient finger in the most convenient place of the fingerboard, depending of where I am coming from and going to. Then at class, I just need to pay attention to only use the fingerings he allows me to. The restriction is an exercise as good as any other.

My teacher is classical oriented, and only classical. I got maybe too fast the joy of "fiddling around" and playing by ear, so he is doing an effort to formalize and systematize my playing by restricting the fingering, using strict bowings and, sometimes, changing the notes in the sheet (so that I don't fake that I am reading the music). Arguable or not, so far after every class I feel I am better than before the class. And that's really what matters. If it ain't broken...

April 18, 2018, 10:08 PM · Actually "fiddling around" - ad libbing - (extemporising) is extremely useful as it not only helps you be creative but frees you from the page, and makes you use your ear to pitch notes. It appears that your teacher is against all the things you SHOULD be doing!
April 19, 2018, 3:45 AM · Hi,

It depends where the person is at in their development. For less advanced students, I find that the two Whistler books on positions give a pretty good knowledge that is very useful in the long run. There are some shifting exercises and etudes within one position in all of them. It resumes what used to be in several books before, and going through those is quite useful. Following that, I would suggest Sevcik Opus 8 for shifting. And of course, scales. If one wants to work in a position without shifting, aside from the Whistler, there is also the Op. 32 book 2 of etudes by Sitt, which has a bunch of etudes in each of the positions.

Cheers!

April 19, 2018, 4:31 AM · When I started learning the cello at age 11 or 12 my teacher within the first few months started getting me acquainted with the whole length of the fingerboard. The sort of thing he'd say was to shut my eyes and play the 2nd C (that's in the 7th position) on the A string with my 3rd finger, and other similar instructions at random. He started off with the easy stuff in the first octave and extended it to the 2nd octave and half as the weeks went by. It was hard at first, but gradually things came together and I was comfortable with the whole length of the fingerboard within a year. Notably, he almost never referred to positions by number.

Recently I've been considering the application of this method to the violin. However, there is a fundamental problem in that the cello is supported ergonomically by the legs, with the top usually resting lightly against the torso and the left arm and hand devoted exclusively to fingering the notes, whereas the violinist's left arm and hand play the major role in supporting the instrument as well as making the notes. It follows, I think, that in order to use my cello teacher's method on the violin it will be necessary for the student to have full relaxation and fluency with the left hand and arm, and, as we know, this is the most difficult thing to achieve on the violin, along with similar behaviour in the bowing arm. I believe therefore that freedom of the fingers on the violin fingerboard cannot be fully learned until the student has mastered that relaxation and achieved fluency.

And I thoroughly agree with what Peter says about "fiddling around" and ad libbing. I've been doing it most of my life on whatever instrument I'm playing at the time (I still remember my parent's shouting to "stop messing around and get on with your practice!"). I think in its way it can be just as beneficial as formal practice providing a bit thought goes into it. Ideally, the two methods can work well together.

Edited: April 19, 2018, 5:06 AM · Thanks Christian. Jean has also mentioned the Sitt. What are.the advantages / disadvantages of one compared to another?

Adalberto, also thank you for the advise. However Flesch and the repertoire you mentioned is really too advanced for my stage (late beginner stage early intermediate). Of course more advanced players will profit from this advice.
Thanks all

Edited: April 19, 2018, 6:52 AM · Trevor - interesting observations and I agree that the violin has to be held with the left hand. Quoting Ricci again he reckons we should not jerk the fiddle at all with big movements of the left hand and that the thumb should stay and only follow when forced to. Also, very lightweight use of fingers on strings to the extent of not always pressing the string down to the fingerboard. Using the pads too, rather than the tips. I think playing fortissimo with a big vibrato tends to force the fingers into the fingerboard, at least in my case! It's surprising how many fine players including the greats, use less vib and a narrow vib too. They only occasionally let rip and then it's a big contrast to what has gone before.

Another point he makes is to slide or push the finger up to the next note using the pads and a hand that is like baroque players of old, where the angle is totally different because the hand underneath the kneck can help support the instrument.

I was watching someone demonstrate on different fiddles today, and he used no vib at all, and yet the sound was enormous - and what's more he's really a viola player turned instrument and bow dealer, here in London.

April 19, 2018, 8:23 AM · Hi Tammuz,

I am not quite sure that I understand your question. They all have advantages; depends what it is you are looking for, or what you need at a certain point in your development.

Cheers!

April 19, 2018, 8:59 AM · Hi Christian.I mean when would you prescribe one or the other? As you said, it depends on which stage of development ...so is one book more advanced than the other for instance?
April 19, 2018, 11:49 AM · Schradieck book is fun too, and has "all positions" up to the seventh. It is not too advanced (the higher positions will be "hard", but everything unfamiliar will be as much-just work patiently through it while still working on your repertoire and scales.)

I still feel Flesch 1-4 are relatively "easy", and are a good way to lose fear of shifts and jumps accross the fingerboard.

April 19, 2018, 12:37 PM · Hi Tammuz,

To answer your question, they can be done in the following order: Whistler book 1, Whistler book 2, Sevcik Opus 8. Sitt Op. 32 bk 2 can be considered supplemental to Whistler book 2 (some of the Sitt etudes appear in Whistler bk 2). This is the sequence for this kind of material, which is usually done in addition to the regular etudes (Wolfhart, Mazas, Kreutzer, etc.)

Cheers!

April 19, 2018, 2:11 PM · Thank you Christian.
April 22, 2018, 10:26 AM · I was told to use Yost when I was taking lessons. Lately I've been working through this obscure thing written by Henley from the 1920s. http://imslp.org/wiki/Modern_Violin_School%2C_Op.51_(Henley%2C_William) Book 5 has change of position exercises, usually one line and focused on some combination of fingers and positions. Use them for sight reading or to practice awkward shifts, either because of the interval, string crossing, or the way the bow exposes the shift. (Henley included double stops.)
Edited: April 24, 2018, 6:44 AM · Thank you Tim. Will check it out.
Another book that is also interesting and not so in use is the de BĂ©riot method book which is structured on the different positions
April 26, 2018, 8:29 AM · "Schradieck book is fun"

I have rarely used "Schradieck" and "fun" in the same sentence.

May 11, 2018, 12:57 PM · This could help you:
http://cremonatone.com/free-multilingual.php?id=free-english&language=en
Using the three "Apps" will help you become proficient with note recognition and fingering in all positions. Feedback is welcome.
Edited: May 11, 2018, 1:34 PM · I agree with Jean. But you can do this with studies too and your work can sometimes be more concentrated than it would be with repertoire passages.

By the way I didn't see Dont (sorry!) mentioned yet, but I found Dont studies to be very good for moving around especially among the lower positions.

Long ago Buri recommended playing Kreutzer No. 2 entirely in 2nd position (there is only one note at the very top that you have to stretch for). I decided to try it an it was very enlightening. It's really awkward at first but you start to learn where your fingers belong. Any study built mainly on scale snippets can be done this way.

May 11, 2018, 4:28 PM · Hi Paul, Kreutzer and Dont are still beyond me. Wolfhart and some kayser is more up my alley. Ted I'll check the apps out thanks.
May 11, 2018, 10:39 PM · Tammuz,my teacher makes me play Flesch 3 octave scales and arpeggios one key/day. I have benefited from this a great deal even though honestly I don't do it every day. Shh! I also use Yost's books from time to time when need extra "violin vitamin" to reboot my technique. His "Scale and Arpeggio Studies" and "Key to the Mastery of the Finger-Board" are pretty cool. I believe Simon Fischer referenced to his books and incorporated some ideas into his work as well. You can shop Yost's books from Yost Family Trust online. They ship to Canada.
Another thing worth mentioning is that (other might have already mentioned and sorry I didn't read everything above), to find the right note, we must first hear the pictch of that note in our head and then slowly reach to it, gauge the distance and the kinetic feel of the shift, again and again. It does take while but eventually, if you hear the note, body knows where to get it anywhere kn the fingerboard very much like when we play in lower positions.
May 11, 2018, 10:58 PM · One little exercise I find useful is to just think of a note (say D just below harmonic E on the E string) and try and just hit that with say the second finger. If you have the pitch in your head you might find your finger hits the magic spot. With practise it will get easier. Heifetz once said that he was no better at hitting notes than anyone else, he was just quicker in correcting the note, so it wasn't noticed.

Good intonation is really just ear training.

Edited: May 13, 2018, 7:21 PM · Hi Yixi, thank you for the suggestions. I actually have both Yost books and this was my observation (perhaps Im wrong): "With regards to Yost, it is true that the transition is across positions within the scale; however, as I recall from the book it is on the same string and is typically very linear, setting up patterns to be repeated on all strings. Which invites a certain virtuosity but I think it doesnt push the brain into sightreading across strings."


What is it good at, though, is accuracy of intonation no matter the fingers. This I think might belong to the same intention as the Simonm Fischer's excercises mentioned by Jean and Lydia here, except that the Fischer exercises migrate across the strings (per Lydia's suggestion excercise 255). Thats the added benefit. And he stays in position during the sequence of notes. Yost's Mastery of the Fingerboard is a sequence of shifts, so really, if I can describe it that way, its almost antithetical to position work.

There has been so much good advice here that I wish I had more time to explore everything :) I think for the purposes of combining sight reading and familiarity with positions, a great way suggested to me here (again Lydia) and by a teacher elsewhere is to play the same piece of music in different positions.

Edited: May 15, 2018, 12:27 PM · Tammuz, yes, positions and related handshapes are super important for learning/sight-reading and playing because these are good tools (intermediaries) for us to be able to consistently reach the right pitches. These tools while being useful, they don't guarantee good intonation, not if we don't focus on ear training first and last. I've known too many excellent sight-readers who have shaky intonation even though they can tell you quickly which position they are on with correct hand position, as right position and handshape only let us *roughly* get the right pitch.

I understand that playing a piece/scale in different positions is promoted by a lot of masters such as Yolst, Gingold, Fischer, among others, and the purpose of which, I believe, is not just (a) to become comfortable with all the positions, but more to do with (b)to be able to achieve good intonation wherever the hand is. Now, I would argue that achieving (a) doesn't necessarily lead one to (b). Especially when one plays on a very high position or when something changes frequently harmonically. In such case, ignore the intermediaries and put priority on (b) is more efficient. When I play Bach solos or some romantic pieces at very high positions, for instance, often I don't have to think about which position it is for me to get to it, but first I must have in my head the precise pitch of each note, then decide which finger to travel the distance needed for getting to that note.

That said, I'm not a good sigh-reader, like many other violin students I know who primarily focus on learning solo reps, my tendency is quality over quantity and I can't stand hearing myself sloppily run through anything. I'm working on sight-reading skills by doing more orchestra and chamber works. Still, it scares me to do so at the cost of cultivating and maintaining good pitch.

May 15, 2018, 7:41 PM · Yixi, very interesting points you make. I appreciate that we're discussing different skill sets, although related (through intervals/handshapes) hence why I asked for :'the most effective way of getting to have a fluency of reading/fingering notes from the vantage points of different positions.'

note that I mentioned both, reading and fingering note, so not merely a theoretical correspondence between the written notes and then fingerboard, so intonation is part of this.

As an adult student who wants to give a boost to his learning curve, I asked for such excercises that would work on knowledge of the fingerboard, position work and sight reading in different positions (which would activate different relationships between the fingers)

I think that the excercise mentioned by others above involving playing a piece in different positions, including the first position to check intonation against, does that, laterally.


Scales -aside from being used as base material for bowing and rythm exercises- i dont doubt their place, and, from what i can tell, are in themselves their own field of knowledge: harmony and therefor intonation. they are, however, always linear or near linear (broken scales)...there are also arpeggios with their set patterns. While great for intonation, scales dont strike me as being the most effective as material for sightreading/position work exercises.

This also extends to Yosts mastery of the fingerboard, based as it is on scales.

I dont think one aspect here negates the validity of another. You are at a much more advanced stage while I am not. Hence for me, a boost in my reading skills and knowledge of the fingerboard will only help me in my intonation. Sepearelty, I do work on some shift exercises too.

Id be interested to hear whether there is some sense to what Im saying (probably not, its bedtime for me), or whether Im overlooking something.

May 15, 2018, 9:45 PM · Tammuz, sorry if my above comments appear to be off the topic. I'm very much along the same line as Lydia's initial comment that fingerboard should be treated fluidly and positions are not as important at a more advanced level. I had an impression that you are an advanced player.

I must confess that I'm not entirely clear about your question. I thought you wanted to talk more broadly about familiarity with the fingerboard rather than sight-reading. If it's all about sight-reading, which is something I'm working on, I believe it's a skill more to do with having the habit of always read ahead and keep counting.

If it's about knowing the fingerboard, then practicing scales, arpeggios, and romantic concerti helped me greatly. You are right in thinking scales and arpeggios are linear and have certain set patterns. Music is linear! :-) Scales and arpeggios are building blocks for tonal music therefore fluency in scales and arpeggios make playing anything easier. To put it slightly differently, I believe the set patterns of scales and arpeggios is precise the reason why I and many others believe that working on them can be the quickest way to know one's fingerboard --to be familiar with individual notes and the intervals (their relationships with other notes) on the fingerboard over different strings, as we learn individual notes better when they are presented in certain context/structure rather than learning each note in a random fashion.

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