Figuring for a chromatic scale

Edited: November 13, 2018, 7:09 PM · In the second chromatic run in the Bruch concerto, what fingerings do you all use once you get on the e string? I'm currently using 1-2-1-2... but the notes sound smushed together and they are unclear, so i'm looking for some alternatives.

Replies (9)

November 13, 2018, 8:15 PM · For chromatic scales I tend to do 1-2-3 or even 1-2-3-4. For that passage, it goes slowly enough that 1-2-2-3 or 1-2-3-3 can be workable too.
Edited: November 13, 2018, 8:20 PM · I also use the one-two fingering. I would suggest trying to lessen the finger pressure (especially when shifting up on the first finger from the second finger) and practice slowly/separately to make sure the notes are locked (intonation solid) in when slurring.
November 14, 2018, 12:48 AM · There are so many ways to do chromatic scales that the mental uncertainty can be a problem. On one string; 1-2-1-2- is standard. 2-3-2-3- is stable and accurate, 1-2-3-1-2-3- works with triplets (" rhythmic fingering"), 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4- is fast and fits groups of 4 notes. But- on the second half of the e-string the 1/2 steps are too close together to use adjacent fingers in tune, so you use the same finger as much as possible. A descending chromatic scale from a very high note sometimes can be done 3-3-3-3-3- (!)
November 14, 2018, 9:39 AM · 1-2-1-2 is a poor fingering for long, fast runs.

1-2-3-1-2-3 is the least worst option. Just do some math: in a given number of notes in a long run, shifting every 3rd note rather than every other results in fewer shifts per unit of time. Very important for a fast passage.

I don't agree that one should, as a standard practice, use the same finger, either up or down. That's kind of lazy Gypsy playing, and very difficult to control.

While it's true that there is technically not enough space to fit adjacent fingers for half steps, we compensate by learning to shove fingers out of the way and squish fingers together. These techniques should be standard practice for anyone playing in the high positions.

Edited: November 14, 2018, 10:53 AM · I have fairly broad finger tips - from a lifetime of cello playing - so on the violin in positions from the 2nd upwards it becomes virtually impossible for me to get my 2nd and 3rd fingers close enough for an accurate semitone. In my orchestral playing when semitone passages come up I therefore frequently use one finger a lot in the interests of good intonation. Happily, the more I get of these chromatic passages the more adept my fingering becomes.
November 14, 2018, 10:34 AM · I think 1-2-1-2 is a great fingering for rhythms based on 2,4,8,etc. For triplets I think 1-2-3-1-2-3 is the best, for obvious reasons.
November 14, 2018, 10:47 AM · continued- when you get close enough to the top note in an ascending chromatic run, try finishing it off with -1-2-2-3-3-4. For sight-reading, our notation system can visually get in the way. Use the same fingering for both flats and sharps chromatic scales. Composers and arrangers can help by writing ascending scales in sharps and descending scales in flats.
November 14, 2018, 5:54 PM · Bruce Berg's edition offers a couple of different fingerings. I'm seeing a lot of 1-2-1-2's in it.

November 14, 2018, 7:15 PM · His edition has several different fingerings. Some are worse than others.

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