I am unable to press down on a string without it touching the next string. For example, I cannot play the A string without taking my finger off the D string. The finger somehow touches the A string as well. I might have thick fingers but I have seen other fiddlers do it.
Do I focus more on fixing the issue, or should I continue having just one finger on the board for the time being, learn to play and then focus on fixing this issue?Tweet
I wasn't sure if learning to hold two strings would get difficult if I get used to raising my fingers each time I play a different string (I might as well go through the pain and learn it right now).
Yes you want to learn to play one string at a time for now if you're a beginner. Two strings at once comes later. It's also not a big deal for now if you accidentally brush your finger against one of the strings you're not bowing, although you'll ultimately need to learn to control that.
Play on the A string, and finger open-1-2-3 (A B C# D). If that sounds okay then lift your fingers up, rotate your left elbow ever so slightly under your violin so that the fingers now are positioned above the D string, and play open-1-2-3 (D E F# G). Then go back to the A string and start over. After a few times you'll get more comfortable and you'll learn to feel the subtle motions that are involved.
Hopefully your teacher has experience with adult beginners, as this experience will be important to your timely success.
As Paul says, it's not a huge deal at the beginner stage, but if your fingers are too flat, it's best to correct the problem now before it becomes an ingrained habit. The earlier you correct it, the easier it is to correct.
For example, after 4 years I've just begun a piece where I have to doublestop the fingered D string and the open A string, which means I have to finger the D string without touching the A string. The end of my middle finger got torn off when I was 6 and was sewn back on crooked and is fatter than the other fingertips. I'm not going to give up - I'm going to practise keeping it over towards the G string more so that it is out of the way of the A string.
The only solutions I know for large-fingered people are to be sure the finger touching two strings is not touching the two strings the bow will sound or to have the instrument set up so greater spacing between the strings is tailored for the player’s hand. (One vote for violas :-))
Of course, this is not a problem if the guilty finger would sound a note lower than the sounded note on the 2nd string.
I am sometimes aware of this problem in my own playing but it has not stopped me in the years since my first violin lesson 84 years ago.
And yes! Everyone needs more practice! Initially to keep getting better and eventually to slow the decline.
In the early stages of development, there is a tendency to have your hand rotated in such a way that your finger nail is hitting the string at an angle, almost perpendicular to the string. Since your finger is wider than it is thick, you're more likely to hit both strings. As you develop, you will develop more flexibility in your hand and your wrist, allowing you to correct that rotation, and bring your hand closer to the violin neck.
Work to avoid touching two strings particularly when the note you're playing, is equivalent to an open string. This will help you with intonation . At this stage I'm assuming you're still working on first position. With your fourth finger on the a string, match that note perfectly with the open e-string. If you are only touching the a-string, the open e-string will resonate in sympathy with the fourth finger e on the a string. If you get used to this distinctive sound, you will search for it when you're playing, and this will help you to play more in tune.
Anyhow, my point is: are your fingers too perpendicular to the strings, and therefore occupying too much space crossing both strings?
Thanks once again.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings
Violinist.com Summer Music Programs Directory
ARIA International Summer Academy
Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine