Brahms Viola Sonata no.1 Fingerings

February 7, 2020, 2:19 PM · Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone could give me some fingerings to start the Brahms Viola Sonata no.1, as my copy of the score does not have any. Thank you!

Replies (6)

February 7, 2020, 2:50 PM · I would look at some editions but if f your playing a price as difficult as this Brahms sonata you should be able to make some fingerings of your own.
February 7, 2020, 9:59 PM · Yes, you really should struggle with figuring out your own fingerings if you are at this level.
It doesn't mean you can't change them, as you probably will.

It's no better than asking for the answers to your math homework before you've tried to solve the problems.
How do you expect to grow as a musician?

Finger and bow the piece, study it.... then look at possible alternatives.

February 8, 2020, 2:47 AM · While I agree with the previous answers I will take a more helpful approach. Look up Bruno Giurannas home page. You can register for access to his educational pages which have a number of viola parts with fingerings and bowing suggestions. I haven't checked but I assume the Brahms sonatas will be there. Do try to make your own fingerings first....
February 8, 2020, 4:41 AM · Very little music at this level comes with printed fingerings for more than a few notes. Also, you should be well aware as a violist that viola fingerings vary widely from person to person, because hand sizes and shapes matter a lot more on viola than violin and we all prefer different technical adjustments for the larger instrument.

At least try to figure out your own fingerings. Feel free to ask the community if you really can't come up with something workable for a passage. But make some effort before you start asking people, and please tell us what you have already tried and why it doesn't work.

February 8, 2020, 10:06 AM · Use the youtube slow down function to study fingerings and bowings of professionals, this is a great way to learn the different options and do listening at the same time. You can also email me sbklein{at} if you want a Totenberg-influenzed set of fingerings, I'll be glad to share mine.
Edited: February 10, 2020, 12:04 PM · I would start in third position, go to second position in the third measure, then slip into 1st position for Db,E. Do the end of the phrase on the C string. BUT, - you do need to solve your own fingering and bowing puzzles. Viola is even more variable than Violin. The body length and string length is variable. Some players have large hands and use violin style fingerings. Those with smaller hands (me) avoid all stretches and shift more often. Violists tend to use the 1/2 position, second position, and enharmonic fingering more often. Some use the comfortable third position more often. Others stay in the lower positions for a better sound. A hint; which position to use for a phrase? Try all four possibilities, corresponding to the four fingers. You can usually reject two options right away, and often discover something you might not have thought of. I often prefer the unmarked, unedited versions of pieces. It forces me to work out my own solutions.

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