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What is the standard fingering for playing three octave scales on the violin?

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I'm not sure there is a standard. Certainly in the practise books for the ABRSM grade exams often the three octave scales will have one suggested fingering above and an alternative below the stave. –  dumbledad Sep 10 '13 at 14:59
    
@dumbledad, to be able to play fast, intonated and smooth, there are not many options. To change 2 times on the same string is not so good and to change position more than 2 times is not optimal. Also to end up doing last note with finger 4>4+>4, is not option either. The fingering in the answer under is optimal and I taught at university level. –  Sergio Sep 10 '13 at 17:29
    
I don't understand; your comment suggests that you know the answer, so why pose the question? –  dumbledad Sep 24 '13 at 7:47
    
@dumbledad, StackExchange is about sharing knowledge. I cannot just post an answer without a question, so I posted the question also. –  Sergio Sep 24 '13 at 7:49
    
You are right, I don't think I had realised that posing questions with the intent of answering them is so encouraged on Stack Exchange: blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/07/… –  dumbledad Sep 24 '13 at 8:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Take the G scale to start with. The most of it fits all the other scales.

Here is the fingering for the G scale (starting from from open G string)
I posted some images of the part/notes were there are position changes happening. String G and D should be just first position.

On the way up, the most used fingering is to go up on the A string to the 3rd position, take D with first finger. And up again to the fifth position in the E string taking again D with the first finger.

enter image description here

On the way down (taking A in the E string with first finger) the C will be 3rd finger on 3rd position. The second position change will be down to first position (having the B with first finger) the C will be second finger.

enter image description here

There are three aspects that are of big importance for being able to tune properly and to have a good technique for changing position.

1.st - Always know were your first finger is when changing position. On the way up leave the fisrt finger pressed thru other notes/fingers. This will give you a reference/anchor for the other fingers to tune with and help the hand/arm to be stable on each position. On the way down do the same. The fisrt finger is there, pressed, when you change position even if C is the note you want after D on the way down. And keep the first finger until it has to go up. Less work actually.

2.nd - Always change position with the arm and not with the fingers. The arm goes up/down first and the hand follow. (Think that when the 4th finger is playing that is probably the perfect position to have already from the first finger. The hand/arm position should not change from having one or more fingers). SO not the fingers stretching to the next position and the hand and arm following. Do instead as I wrote above, using this technique the hand position is always the same and you will not have speed and intonation problems later on.

3.rd - when training go slow. Make a glissando so you can hear were you are during the position change.

On other scales do the same, up with 1st fingers on the last 2 fifth note in the scale and down with first finger pressed and then also the next tone in the scale (the finger playing the forth in the scale) also pressed.

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That's an A minor natural scale. –  American Luke Aug 3 '13 at 20:51
    
@AmericanLuke, I just posted the relevant parts were there are position changes. The other 2 strings are just the same position, easy playing. But good point, I will add that in the answer also. –  Sergio Aug 3 '13 at 20:52

I'd say there is no "standard fingering".

Ask yourself the question "Why learn scales?" It could be that once, walking down the street, you heard the sound of a beginner violinist practising his or her scale work over and over and over again and you thought "That is such a beautiful run of notes; I must learn that too."

But for most of us scales are a means to an end, and the end is increasing mastery of keys and their fingering. Thus when we encounter a piece of new music (which may or may not include fragments of scales) our fingers know where to go.

So it makes sense to learn our scales in many different positions and starting points and fingerings.

However, for grade exams we need to demonstrate our mastery of a scale to an examiner and then we need to get one fingering as close to perfect as we can. There's a runners adage "race your strengths and train your weaknesses" and exams are a moment to demonstrate practised strengths. The ABRSM (the exam board of the Royal Schools of Music) includes a three octave G major in its Grade 7 violin scales:

Three octaves of G Major from the ABRSM Grade 7 Violin exam

You will see they include two suggested fingerings, one above and one below the stave.

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IMHO reaching the last F#-G-F# with the same finger 4-4-4 is a bad idea. The intonation precision and rythm precision will suffer with such finger solution. –  Sergio Sep 29 '13 at 18:48

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