How to Make a Cello Finger Chart

Written by ryan cockerham
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How to Make a Cello Finger Chart
The cello has evolved significantly throughout its centuries-long existence. (PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

The violoncello, or cello, is one of four bowed, stringed instruments used in modern instrumental ensembles. The cello is pitched lower than the violin and viola, and is a vital element of the contemporary symphony orchestra. In order to successfully play the cello, performers must consistently shift their left hand up and down the fingerboard, placing their fingers in specific spots to produce the desired pitches. A fingering chart is a helpful tool for amateur and aspiring performers.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Poster board
  • Marker
  • Ruler

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Create four parallel, vertical lines on your poster board. Space the lines approximately 1 inch apart. Although there is no set length for these lines, ensure that they are at least 6 inches long. These figures will represent the cello's strings on the fingering chart.

  2. 2

    Draw a short, horizontal line that intersects the previously drawn lines near the top of the poster board. This new addition represents the cello nut and will help orient instrumentalists viewing the fingering chart.

  3. 3

    Sketch four large circles approximately 1/2 inch below the nut. The circles should be parallel to one another, with one circle on each of the four strings. Each circle will represent a semitone on the cello string. Label the circles appropriately.

  4. 4

    Add additional circles to your chart, spacing them evenly. Label each of the circles. Depending on the technical skill of the performer using the chart, a complete diagram of all available notes on the cello may or may not be necessary.

  5. 5

    Label the first series of parallel circles "first position." Next to the second circle, label the series "second position." Repeat this process for the third and fourth series, labelling each with a consecutively higher position. This terminology will provide valuable information for amateur cellists expanding their knowledge of the cello fingerboard and appropriate hand positions.

Tips and warnings

  • In order to make the finger chart even more precise, consider reducing the amount of space between consecutive circles as the distance from the nut increases. As the distance between semitones decreases progressing "up" a string, this visual depiction will create an authentic representation of the instrument.
  • Double check your labels after completing the chart to ensure that you have assigned the correct note names to each of the successive semitones. A small error can effect each label following the mistake.

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