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Basic question: how should I play sixth stops?
Violin first position: third or fourth finger?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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RosinedUp
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September 7, 2012 - 10:47 pm
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I have been playing violin a couple months (no lessons, learning off the web, practicing an hour or so per day) and it is mostly going okay,.

But playing a sixth stop is usually unpleasant to me, and that is my worst stop for intonation, meaning that the pitch is often wrong.

I have been playing sixth stops only with my third finger.  I have been using my pinky only for playing the seventh stop on the E string.  So my pinky does not get much use.

I have been trying to keep my thumb in the curve of the neck near the peg box for tactile reference, as Pierre does.  Fingering lower than the fifth stop, I tend to either bend the wrist or let the thumb roam free.

I am thinking I should instead either be switching to third position-first finger or using the pinky in first position.  I basically have never used third position before.

From the crease of my wrist to the end of the second finger is 7 1/2", and to the tip of the third finger is 7", in case it helps to know that.

How should I be playing sixth stops?

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 7, 2012 - 11:00 pm
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Hey RosinedUp,

Please explain what a 6th stop is for me.

A double stop is when you play two notes at the same time. A triple stop is when you play three at once. A 6th is the interval between two notes that is a 6th step apart. You can start on any note and play a 6th. There are minor, major and even augmented 6ths but I don't understand your question.

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RosinedUp
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September 8, 2012 - 2:46 am
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Uh oh ... sorry, I thought I was using standard terminology by numbering semitone positions as stops--by counting the number of semitones from the nut.

I was trying to ask how to finger a note that is six semitones higher than the open string, for instance C# on the G string or D# on the A string.

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Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
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September 8, 2012 - 9:57 am
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use your third finger and streach, its the same for the G# and the A# respectively on the D and E strings.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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SaraO
Michigan
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September 8, 2012 - 9:57 am
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In that case you have a choice. In first position you will usually play with a high third finger, or a low fourth finger.

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Kevin M.
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September 8, 2012 - 10:02 am
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This fingering chart may help.

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RosinedUp
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September 8, 2012 - 11:54 am
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SaraO said
In that case you have a choice. In first position you will usually play with a high third finger, or a low fourth finger.

Thank you.

Now what are some of the conditions that would make it better or easier to use one finger or the other?  I want to avoid getting into some bad or weak or nonstandard habit.

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TerryT
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September 8, 2012 - 12:01 pm
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That would depend on the music you are olaying.
Sometimes a 3rd finger stretch would be better than a low4th, I reckon.

I have recently been playing a couple of pieces where my teacher told me to slide a finger up a note for ease of playing even though the text books say use the next finger. I guess it's just like playing in 2nd position for a note or two.

I suppose knowing when to be different is all part if becoming an accomplished player rather than a follower of music.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 8, 2012 - 7:19 pm
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It depends very much on what key you are playing in. If you are playing in a key with sharps you usually use the third finger since there will be a fourth finger following from time to time. If you play in a key with flats the C# is a Db which means that you are using your 3rd finger for the C natural.
With the D# on the A string example you spoke of - the D# works well with the 3rd finger in case you need to play E with your fourth finger but in a flat key, D# = Eb which means the next note is F natural and easily played on the E string so you use your 4th finger in most cases.
There are many exceptions.

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RosinedUp
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September 9, 2012 - 5:07 pm
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Fiddlerman said
It depends very much on what key you are playing in.

<informative examples omitted>

There are many exceptions.

Okay, thanks!  So I have to stop thinking like a touch typist or a cornet player.

Now can I ask you about the terminology that I seem to have gotten wrong in my OP?

I want to number the semitone "places" or "points" on the strings starting from the nut, like this:

0th place - open string

1st place - semitone interval above open

2nd place - whole tone interval above open

3rd place - minor third interval above open

4th place - major third interval above open

5th place - perfect fourth interval above open

etc.

In my OP I was calling them stops. On the guitar we would call them frets.
How can I use numbers as above to refer to these semitone places on the strings?

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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September 19, 2012 - 6:29 am
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We usually use the word "position" and number of finger which we use for a note of current position. 'Cause sometimes it's quite hard to count semitones if someone talking about 5th position for example. This is hard to explain and i guess more hard to understand, but i'll try.

I position (D string example) - E-1st finger + F(F#)-2nd finger + G(G#)-3rd or 4th finger + A-4th finger.

II position: uses 1 finger on the 2nd finger's place of I position. So: F- 1st finger (F# could be played with 1st or 2nd - depends of music)+ G - 2nd finger (G# could be played with 3rd as well)+  A- 3rd + B - 4th.

Second position used not so often as Ist and IIIrd... And as FiddlerMan said there are exeptions.

III positon starts with 1 st finger on G or G# etc. So You use your 1st finger in the place of 3rd finger of Ist position (damit, i'm hopeless rofl). G -> A -> B (Bb)-> C

It's quite hard to explain at once. And i'm not a teacher, LOL! 

FiddlerMan made videos about positions. Yep. Don't read it - watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/T.....1&amp;

http://www.youtube.com/embed/H.....1&amp;

http://www.youtube.com/embed/t.....1&amp;

http://www.youtube.com/embed/5.....1&amp;

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