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Violin Playing Basics

The violin is not an easy musical instrument to play. However, the end results can be well worth the practice and effort. We'll discuss a few of the basic concepts here.

Both hands are involved in playing the violin, but they have very different jobs. The left hand presses down on the strings to create different notes and pitches while the right hand moves the bow across the string to create the vibration.

The Left Hand

The fingerboard of a violin has no frets. This means that the violinist must learn where to place their fingers and press the strings down to make the correct notes. To make proper notes consistently takes lots of practice and a skilled musical ear. The left thumb is used to support the violin, while the remaining four fingers play the notes. Violinists use hand positions to know where they are on the finger board. The first position is the closest to the end of the neck and is usually the first hand position learned.

When playing the violin, the fingers of the left hand are numbered 1 through 4. With one being the index finger, two the middle finger, three the ring finger, and 4 the pinky. For each hand position, each finger typically plays one note on each string straight across the fingerboard. Vibrato

The left hand can move back and forth rapidly when playing a note to add vibrato to the note. This can add some richness to the sound.


Playing the violin - Left hand on the fingerboard


The Right Hand

The right hand controls the bow and helps determine the tone, volume, and rhythm of the music. It's important to learn the grip the bow in the right way as well as where to touch the bow to the string.

The handling of the bow can change the sound quite a bit. The speed that the bow is rubbed on the strings, the weight or strength that it is pushed down on the strings, as well as where the bow is place on the strings can all have an impact on the sound of the violin. Using all these variations can help the musician to express themselves and the music with the violin.

Violin Playing Terms

More on the violin: Other musical instruments:

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