Fingering Scales for the Violin

Written by carl hose
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Fingering Scales for the Violin
The Violin (Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

The oldest documented violin dates back to 1555. The violin has been played in every musical genre from classical to bluegrass to rock. The scales, in conjunction with specific playing techniques, are important factors in blending the violin into various musical genres. Learn how playing fingering scales on your violin can make you a more efficient violinist regardless of the type of music you play.

Range of the Violin

The range of a violin is from the G below middle C on the piano all the way up to the highest C note a piano can play. The highest notes in the violins range are produced by harmonics. It takes a skilled player to achieve these. The placement of the left hand is dictated by positions. Beginners on violin usually start fingering scales in the first position. The highest practical position on a modern violin is the fifteenth position.

Fingering Scales for the Violin
Range of the Violin (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Benefits of Playing Violin Fingering Scales

There are a lot of good reasons to play violin fingering scales. Playing violin fingering scales is a good way to familiarise yourself with the instrument. Unlike a guitar and other stringed instruments, a violin has no fret markers on the fingerboard to let us know where the frets are located. Playing violin fingering scales helps you memorise finger placement so your fingers fall naturally into place whenever you play. Playing violin fingering scales in different positions will help with ear training too. The same note can have an entirely different sound when played from one position to the next. Violin fingering scales are also an excellent way to strengthen your fingers and gain more control over the notes you play.

Fingering Scales for the Violin
Benefits of Playing Violin Fingering Scales (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Combining Scales with Bow Technique

Traditional violin teachers emphasise combining bowing techniques while playing violin fingering charts. The way the bow is angled and which way it is moved at various intervals throughout the playing of scales is an important feature of violin playing. It's rare that scales are taught or practised without attention being given to the bowing technique used.

Fingering Scales for the Violin
Combining Scales with Bow Technique (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Arpeggios and More

Arpeggios are another favourite among music instructors. Arpeggios are like scales except that are notes of chords within a specific key played individually rather than at the same time. Since full chords aren't played on a violin, arpeggios are an extremely important aspect of violin playing, which is why many instructors stress playing arpeggios arranged in a musical order to their students.

Fingering Scales for the Violin
Arpeggios and More (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Scales and Musical Genre

Since violins are such versatile instruments and found in so many styles of music, fingering scales become important elements in dictating the sound a player gets from his violin. Major and Minor fingering scales are used in most types of classical, along with augmented fingering scales (where a note is raised or lowered by a half step). A violin used to play bluegrass and country is referred to as a fiddle. Violin scales used in this type of music can use major or minor fingering scales as well as scales specific to the blues. A violin's capacity to blend well into so many styles of music is dependent upon the player's understanding of, and ability to play, a variety of fingering scales and knowing when to apply them.

Fingering Scales for the Violin
Scales and Musical Genre (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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