New to the violin!

... So, I'm really confused now.

You see, as a hobby, this whole time I have been learning songs by memorizing the finger placement some violinists use for their pieces.

Buuut, it may be more rewarding to learn songs by first reading violin sheet music instead of watching others play.

So first order of business would be to learn to read violin sheet music and know where to put my fingers for each note (because I simply don't know - music has never been my thing).

Searching the web didn't return good results. So I checked my college's library and tried to locate the most basic material possible. I found the popular Suzuki method book.

... it doesn't provide the information I was looking for. It is literally a compilation of violin sheet music.

The only thing that could teach me about reading violin sheet music (and finger placement), as far as I'm concerned, might be a teacher. But I fear I lack the time for one right now.

So essentially, how do I learn to read violin sheet music? Precisely, where to put my fingers for each note.

A particularly interesting search result was a "Fretless Finger Guides" product, which almost seems to address my problem given that you it makes it slightly easier to understand where to put your fingers for each note.

  • violin.school.nz It's free and teaches the note names and finger numbers.
    – user30326
    Jun 14, 2016 at 9:24

2 Answers 2


The Suzuki method is a strongly guided method that teaches sound before sight, so chances are that's NOT what you want to be looking at right now.

Though, strangely enough, that may be closer to what you were doing initially. Were you playing these songs entirely by a visual reference to other players' fingerings, or are you also using your ears?

Being a fretless instrument, playing violin is highly reliant on the player's ability to identify when he/she is out of tune, and make adjustments to the fingering, often in real-time. If you are already using your ears and just need a simple chart to help with sheet music, the first Google result for 'violin fingering chart' should be exactly what you need.

If, however, you cannot hear if a note sounds right or wrong, chances are you will need to take lessons to get yourself on the right track.

Even if you are using your ears already, I would strongly recommending taking at least a single lesson for someone to give you a "crash course", even if you can't commit to taking lessons regularly (though do give them the courtesy of telling them you're only interested in a single crash course lesson when you contact them, and make it clear what your skill level is).

  • Thanks for the link! What's the first position, second position, etc thing? In general, it does help anyway - thanks!
    – Saturn
    Mar 19, 2013 at 20:35
  • Yeah, I've been learning songs mainly by watching others play.
    – Saturn
    Mar 19, 2013 at 20:35
  • Like I said, it's most important that you're using your ears. Can you tell when a note you are playing is off? First position is closest to the nut, and third position is midway up the fingerboard, with your first finger where the third finger used to be in 1st position. In the chart, you should see that the '1' notes in third position are equivalent to the '3' notes in first position.
    – NReilingh
    Mar 20, 2013 at 1:35
  • As a beginner stick with first position for a while before venturing into third and higher positions.
    – dumbledad
    Apr 1, 2013 at 15:30

I purchased a chord book for mandolin to get better acquainted with the fingerboard on violin. But like you I haven't paid for lessons so am not entirely sure if all the fingerings transfer 100% (for example barré seems easier on mandolin).

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