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Knuckles popping out - unsure about proper left hand technique
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LizaA
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August 19, 2018 - 10:50 am
Member Since: October 16, 2016
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I notice that a lot of the time my knuckles pop out more than they should. I'm not sure if I should try my best to avoid this scenario, or let it happen when it does. An example of this case is Sevcik Op1, first exercise, third series of variations: A-C-A-B. I can put my second finger next to my first finger without problems when the first finger is down, but if the first finger is up I can't get the second finger to C without changing my hand shape.

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pchoppin
Utah
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August 19, 2018 - 4:16 pm
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Hi @LizaA

I am having a little trouble visualizing what is going on from your description. Does something happen with your fingers when you move from C to B?  And you mention it only happens if you lift your first finger?  Is this when you play the B?   I’m not sure I understand what. Is happening. 

- Pete -

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LizaA
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August 19, 2018 - 4:50 pm
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I'm sorry. My description wasn't very good.

So I'm trying to keep a staight line from my elbow to my hands, this won't happen if the knuckles are popping out - if my fingers are bending more than they should.

Now, I could play the A-B-C-B keeping the hand shape, but that is so because it is easier to keep the hand shape and play a low second finger when the first finger is down (on B). If want to play A-C instead I'd use a low second finger, but I find it hard to put down the second finger on C while keeping a relatively straight hand (not very bended at the knuckles).

Does that make it more clear? I don't know if it happens to everyone, and if I should allow it or not.

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pchoppin
Utah
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August 20, 2018 - 10:27 pm
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I’m still not really clear.  Please tell me which string you are playing (G,D,A,E) and which fingers on the string you are playing.  So for example if you are trying to play the C note, this would be on the A string, 2nd finger (for 1st position).  This will help me to know exactly where on the fingerboard and which string you are playing.  

As far as the “shape” of your fingers, the proper left hand hold is a curved “C” shape. The neck of the violin should only be touching your inside index finger between the first and second knuckle, and with your thumb just above the second knuckle (inside)

With that hold, you should be able to reach the notes with the tips of your fingers.  If you are still having problems, try to see if there is someone that can give you some guidance.  Someone at a music store that knows string instruments or another string player, perhaps in a local community orchestra.  

I hope this helps

- Pete -

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damfino
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August 21, 2018 - 10:17 am
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I think a picture of what you are describing might help us, it can just be of your left hand/arm on the violin so we can see what you are talking about for sure.

I guess I've never thought about what my hand looked like when I play the C, or any low second finger note, but you don't want to play with straight/flat fingers. As pchoppin said above, you want to keep more of a C shape to your hand/fingers while the tips of your fingers are what's touching the string. This also keeps you from touching other strings while you play, to help you avoid any unwanted sounds while doing any string crossings. 

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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August 22, 2018 - 5:59 pm
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It's still really hard to tell what you're describing here. But what it sounds like to me is that you may be pressing your palm toward the neck of your violin, which does in fact result in your knuckles popping out sideways -- the problem here would be at the wrist, not at the fingers. You may need to rotate your wrist more so that your hand is closer to parallel to the neck.

Of course, I may be completely wrong. A picture or video would make it a lot more clear.

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pchoppin
Utah
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August 23, 2018 - 12:25 pm
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Oh thank you @AndrewH, I forgot about the wrist.  Yes!!  It is absolutely critical to keep your wrist straight as Andrew describes here.  If this is indeed your problem, make sure not to bend your wrist.  Keeping the very tips of your fingers on the strings will help make sure your wrist maintains the proper position.  

I know this is a lot to manage, but it all works together and will help you to play better and sound beautifully.  It will feel a little awkward at first, but soon will become a natural hold.  

- Pete -

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
August 23, 2018 - 1:01 pm
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I have NO idea if this relates to your issue - but this (the video) was from me not long after I started playing, trying ( on an EV ) with camera mounted on the instrument, looking at my fingering - just to really SEE what my approach-to-the-string was ( most specifically on the lower stings, which I had initially found difficult until I slightly rotated and relaxed my "approach"   )

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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