Normal, high, low position - confusion?!
I hope you can clear up my confusion. It's hard to describe but I will try.
In learning positions systematically I tried to make a chart, where a position starts and so on (..kind of fingerboard geometry..)...
Very basically things a clear: G-String (A (1st) -> B (2nd) --> C (3rd) ...
But on E-String: Same 1st position on fingerboard would be F# (A/E/B/F#).. the F in 1st position is actually lower and lies in the 1/2 position!
Or another Problem, if I play in F-Major, first position is B-Flat, which is again in 1/2 position or play in A-flat you have a D-Flat, so do you shift on A-String to a D and move the finger lower or would you shift the whole position by a half tone...
In a violin school I read about NORMAL, LOWER and HIGHER position.
So to summarize my question is, where do you shift to, especially in different keys!? Is the position changed with key or is it than just a lower / higher finger?
Thanks a lot for any recommendations
If you're asking about finger patterns, my previous teacher gave me a way to learn one for all scales. Start with finger 1 on the tonic, then go up to third finger on the A (D if viola) string and shift up where the 4th finger would be. Do the 4 fingers and then go onto E (A if viola) string and do 1-2-3 then shift on 4th to reach top note. This is how I practise my scales and not done me wrong yet
I define my positions by semitone: half = low first, first, low second, high second, third, high third = low fourth etc. The naming will depend on the "spelling" of the notes.
Things like this confused me a year ago.
If you move your thumb, it's a different position. If you don't, it's not. Okay, that's a very black-and-white theory, but I think it has some merit.
The difference between Gordon's and Paul's (and my) definitions i.e. between written and physical positions, has not been clarified in any method I possess.
As a student and teacher of the Doflein Method I have learned that there are four "Attitudes" of the hand.
This is a deficiency in our technical training, causing intonation problems and wrong notes. The Guitarists have a better system; a different number for each fret, a half-step apart. We can't do that, but we can adapt the Cello system. My way of numbering the positions is: 1/2, 1, 2, 2 1/2, 3, 3 1/2 4, etc. Notice that there is not a 1 1/2 position. I don't care if it notated in flats or sharps. Three out of four standard finger patterns have a perfect fourth between the first and fourth fingers. 1/2 position is whenever the first finger is a 1/2 step above the open string AND the fourth finger is a half-step below the next open string. For the spread-out, 3-whole-step pattern, that is either a first finger extension or a fourth finger extension, and you need to be aware of which one you are doing. An example; A string, 1st finger on C# is 2 1/2 position, not high 2nd. 1st finger on Db is also 2 1/2 position, not low 3rd. This way of thinking puts all the "difficult" flat keys into half position, and C# major is easier in 2nd position.
George, has anyone ever accused you of being afflicted with the heartbreak of analysis paralysis? ;-)
The F natural and the B flat you have described are known to me as the "backward extension". This is where the hand stays in position and the finger extends backwards a semi tone. The backward extension will also be required in other positions, such as G major 2nd position, the first finger plays B and F# on G and D, but extends backwards to play C and G on the A and E.
All this about attitudes is just going to give the OP an attitude. Overcomplicating everything.
This is all overcomplication.
"The finger pattern of the Ab key in first position is the same finger pattern of A natural in first position, but shifted down a semi tone, there is no shifting or extending required with in this pattern."
The first book I had used roman numerals for position, so I merrily pencilled them in everywhere. Then I realised that fingering is more important than position notation, and roman numerals are more useful for indicating which string you are on.
"There's no need to shift everywhere when you can just stretch a finger to hit the note."
If the high notes are rare enough, extensions can be better than shifting; otherwise position aids orientation and good hand shape and is part of good technique, as far as I can see.
Constructive over-thinking? In passages which are too rapid for instant adjustments, we have to over-practice
I agree with those who believe the OP is overthinking the problem. Here is the advantage of teaching positions the way they are usually taught: they make it easier to learn note reading.
This is the kind of thing that seems really important at a certain point in your learning violin, but in a few years, you might not really understand the question because you won't be thinking so much about positions. The more you practice different scales the more you will internalize the hand-shape and feeling of each position, and at some point your hand will mostly know what to do, without any thinking, across the whole fingerboard.
I liked George's post on the attitudes. These "attitudes" as George calls them are also known as finger patterns and are actually fundamental. Primrose wrote an entire scale book on them.
George, as someone who is also an engineer and likes thinking about things in a systematic way: I think there is a danger in "intellectual" systems that don't really work, or are fragile. (I think given your own level of playing, you might not have encountered literature at the difficulty where those systems really break down badly.)
Lydia, that is indeed how I work with students; but I also had a second year pupil who spotted the B-natural/F-natural-2nd-position-thing and was pleased with my nitpicking!
the violin is hard to play as it is... after reading some of the theories presented here... it became impossible. Kudos to the authors.
I find position numbering isn't terribly helpful to playing outside of 3rd and 4th (i.e. 4th, 5th). Outside of these, it becomes difficult to define "position" aside from a reference point to think about fingerings.
I referred to going from A major down to A flat major, either curling the fingers or a semitone shift...…….
.. after reading some of the theories presented here...
continued;-- another way to demonstrate my point is to do a chromatic scale in parallel 1-4 octaves. The arm and the thumb move for each half-step.
"And they are all in response to a really basic question...?"
continued,-- thanks, Adrian. That Bb scale, first octave: If I use open D and open A, I am in 1/2 position. If I use 4th finger D and A I am in first position with a first finger extension. The second octave is in 1/2 position. I also prefer first finger extension to fourth finger extension. Cellists only use first finger extension. On Violin all of our fingers can do extensions and contractions, play multiple notes. The over-lap of our position system and finger-pattern system creates a lot of mental confusion.
I just think of position in terms of where my thumb/hand rest and 1st finger as per the key of C starting with A (1st position) on the G string (i.e. a whole position is never set on an accidental, half positions are always on an accidental). The key will define if a finger needs to extend, up or down from the "rest" position. Low or High finger is to me the same as saying semitone vs full tone. Hence a "low" finger is set right against the previous finger, a "high" finger set a distance away.
If your brain can stand the strain I think it makes sense to find your optimum fingerings for all the scales/keys.
This thread is probably dead, but coincidentally I'm playing the Gigue from Wodicka's Op 1 No 4, and my teacher is very keen on my always shifting and never stretching when using it as an étude at least.
In the words of Nicolo Paganini: “There is only one scale and one position.”
Bruce, I recently bought this book. I wonder if you find the notes are sufficiently articulated when using the left hand this way.
Articulation comes from the speed at which the string is sufficiently stopped, not the weight used to do so. And you also get a pop when the finger is lifted from the string at high velocity.