Violin Fingering Chart – Beginner’s Guide to Correct Violin Fingering

One of the first things you’ll need when you’re learning how to play the violin is a violin fingering chart. These easy-to-read, visual charts are a great way to learn fingering positions in very little time. They also teach you the notes on each string and can even help you learn to read music.

First Position on Violin

Almost every chart you’ll find will be based on the first position. Fingering is really important on the violin, arguably more so than on other stringed instruments like the guitar. You can really get yourself in a mess if you use the incorrect fingers on the violin, which has no frets to guide you instantly back into place (to help with this we recommend applying finger tape to the fingerboard to guide you).

First position covers the notes at the top of the violin. This is the section closest to the pegbox. Staying in this position means you won’t be moving your hand around, just your fingers. You’ll be in first position for a while as a beginner and, as you’ll see in the chart below, plenty of notes lie within it.

Pretty much every violin fingering chart you’ll see will be in the first position, as once you master that, it’s easier to grasp other positions without the visual aid.

Here’s a simple violin finger chart showing the notes in first position (note: we’re using the typical four-string type of violin):

 

First position violin fingering

Each time you see a ‘#’ – a sharp note – it could also be named a ‘b’ – a flat – of the following note.

For example, the first note on the G string – G# – could also be called an Ab in certain circumstances. It’s nothing to worry about at the moment, but it is something to be aware of in both violin and general music.

G# (or Ab) is played with your first finger, as is A. The same goes for the first two notes on each string. The third and fourth notes are played with your middle finger, the fifth and sixth should use your third finger and the seventh note you see should use your pinky.

There are exceptions to these rules, but they’re generally something to stick to, especially in the early days of your learning.

G Major Scale

Now, let’s look at a chart that shows the notes of the G major scale.  You can see the finger numbers at the side of the chart. Each note in blue is a ‘member’ of the G major scale, which is one of the first scales you’ll learn to play on the violin.

first position

The scale’s split into two easy to remember patterns. On the G and D strings, the first and second fingers are a whole note apart, whilst the third finger is just a half note away.

Think of this as: stretched, stretched, close.

On the E and A strings, the middle finger is close to the first finger, whilst the third finger is a whole note away.

Think: stretched, close, stretched.

However, we’ve not included the third finger’s note on the E string, because G is where the scale ends.

Note Reading

Violin finger charts can also be a helpful way of making sense of note reading.

The musical stave is just another chart, really. It shows you where the sounds are that you’re playing. If you look at the notes on the D string using fingers 1, 2, 3 and 4, you’ll see that they’re: E, F, G, and A.

Your finger are sort of climbing, like the notes on the stave below.

fingering chart on the stave

What Next?

Once you’ve got the hang of the G major scale, there are many other scales to explore and a violin fingering chart for each one.

Although these are readily available in books and across the internet, it can be very useful to create your own. Once you learn the notes of the scale, try taking the basic violin fingering chart and highlighting the scale you’ve learned.

It might take a bit more time than just searching for a picture, but you will learn deeply and remember the shapes much better.

Each piece of music you play is in a key, and all of those keys have a scale. Some to start with on the violin are:

  • F major
  • D major
  • A major
  • C major

That should keep you busy for a while 🙂

Summary

When you’re learning the violin notes and just starting to play the violin, a violin fingering chart is one way of making your note names sink in and, as you’ve seen, it’s particularly useful if you’re a visual learner.

 

Roz

Roz is a music teacher and our go-to person for anything music theory! When she's not teaching or writing for Zing, Roz writes and plays in alternative/ psyche /art rock band The Roz Bruce Infusion.


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