7 Violin Chord Chart Diagrams for Beginners (with Photos)

Although the violin is traditionally a solo, melodic instrument, you might wonder whether it’s possible to play accompanying, chordal patterns in the same way as you can on a guitar or piano.

The answer is, of course, absolutely yes.

Chord shapes on violins can be highly effective and they’re exactly what you might need to take an accompanying role in a Gypsy-Jazz, Jazz-swing or even traditional, folk music.

Although to play a chord means to play three or more notes simultaneously, you don’t have to do that with your chord shapes on the violin. You can play each note separately to create arpeggios, or play strings in pairs as ‘double stops’.

What you’ll achieve will still be a chord-based, rhythmic accompaniment.

In this article, we show you the 7 most popular chord shapes and, because sometimes a real picture explains things much better, I’ve included photos showing you how I play them.

Finger Numbers

Before we look at some chords, let’s clear up what the finger numbers refer to in the charts below.

Finger names

As you can see, each finger is given a number (we’ve labeled the thumb, but it isn’t used in violin playing).

Note: in some of the diagrams, you’ll see we mention ‘low 1’ and ‘1’. This simply refers to how stretched out your finger is.

  • If it’s a ‘low 1’ your finger should hardly be stretched at all
  • If you’re asked to use ‘1’, it should be a little further down, achieving a whole tone higher than your open string.

If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, check out our violin fingering guide.

Violin Chord Chart Diagrams (with Photos)

A Major

a major violin chord

For the A Major shape, use your first finger on the G and D string to play A and E, then use your middle finger for the C# on the A string and your third finger for the high A on the E string.

a major violin chord photo

D Major

D Major has finger 1 on the G string to play an A, finger 2 playing F# on the D string and your third finger playing D on the A string and A on the E string. You could choose to use your third finger for the D and your pinky for the A; whichever suits you best.

d major violin chord diagram

D Major has finger 1 on the G string to play an A, finger 2 playing F# on the D string and your third finger playing D on the A string and A on the E string. You could choose to use your third finger for the D and your pinky for the A; whichever suits you best.

d major violin chord photo

G Major

g major violin chord diagram

G Major sees just two fingers: your first finger on B on the A string and your second finger on G on the E string. You can play the G and D strings openly, making this one of the easier shapes to manage.

g major violin chord photo

F Major

f major violin chord diagram

F Major has finger 1 on the E string in the low 1, finger 2 playing F on the D string and finger 3 playing C on the G string. You play the A string open, so make sure none of your other fingers are accidentally touching it.

f major violin chord

A Minor

a minor violin chord diagram

The A Minor shape is very similar to A Major. All that’s changed is the C# has been flattened to a C. So, finger 1 plays both A on the G string and E on the D string. Your middle finger plays C on the A string, and your third finger plays A on the E string.

a minor violin chord photo

E Minor

e minor chord

E Minor is another quite simple shape. Finger 1 plays E on the D string and B on the A string, whilst your middle finger holds down G on the E string. The G string can be played openly.

e minor violin chord photo

B Minor

b minor violin chord diagram

Finally, B Minor has finger 2 on B on the G string and F# on the D string, whilst your third finger plays D on the A string. Don’t play the E string.

These chords where you cover more than one string with one finger can feel a bit odd to begin with, but it’s worth persevering as it ensures your fingers stay in the correct position, which makes it easier to move to the next chord.

b minor violin chord photo

Summary

So, there are have 7 chord shapes to work into your practice routine.

Once you have memorized the shapes and have got used to playing them as arpeggios, why not experiment with double-stops and even triple-stops?

Playing multiple strings simultaneously can really bring these shapes to life. Remember, as it’s an accompanying part, focus on the rhythm. If you’re in time, and your fingers are in the right shapes, you can’t go wrong.

Have fun!

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7 Violin Chord Chart Diagrams for Beginners (with Photos)

Roz

Roz is a music teacher and our resident expert when it comes to music theory. When she's not teaching or writing for Zing, Roz writes and plays in an alternative art-rock band.