5th Position Hand Frame

June 19, 2018, 6:49 AM · I am a self-taught violinist, due to the lack of teachers in this continent (Africa) and financial issues. However, I have been playing for about a year or so and love it. I just started to learn the 5th position and I have several questions about it and the third position. Can my palm rest on the body of the violin or is that a no-no like in first position. Also I play with the pads of my base knuckles just over the body of the violin, is this okay or do I need to raise/lower my hand. Finally when I shift up into fifth position does my thumb shift into the crook under the fingerboard (as with 7th position) or does it stay by the side? Thank you for your help

- Aidan

Replies (3)

June 19, 2018, 8:24 AM · You're right with your first two questions. The exact hand frame will depend on your hand size and shape. With your third question, the thumb should stay in the corner of the neck. If you want more specific feedback, a picture/video would be helpful.
Edited: June 19, 2018, 8:34 AM · I'm an amateur violinist so please take the advice of pro teachers over mine. I was taught the general principle that light touching is okay and often beneficial, but pressure is bad.

Playing in one position is one thing ... but moving quickly and accurately among the positions is obviously important too. Some touching of your palm or edge of your hand against the violin is helpful as you go beyond third position* because you develop a memory of those touch-sensations which helps you find where you are going. But by the same token, clamping or pressing the flesh of your hand against the violin is bad because it will restrict important motions including not only shifting among the position but also vibrato and string changes. (*If you have large/wide hands you probably already experienced some touching in third position.)

June 19, 2018, 8:44 AM · Without a teacher to guide you I think you can let vibrato be your guide. If you can vibrato in 5th and 7th positions your thumb is probably in a location good for you. Where the thumb goes depends largely on your hand size.


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