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I am learning to play on the violin. On my score sheet there is a chord with the notes C,E,G in C major (the scale is not relevant). I do not understand how one can play two notes on the same string simultaneously. Can somebody tell me how one would play such a chord in terms of how to place the fingers given that E and G are on the same string ? Thanks.

  • Need to see a copy of the dots! It's also worth bearing in mind that it's not easy to play more than two notes simultaneously on a violin. Especially using more than two strings. Arpeggios, yes.
    – Tim
    Mar 31, 2023 at 12:33
  • Pretty sure this is a duplicate. Having trouble finding it… Mar 31, 2023 at 12:37
  • 1
    Meanwhile, yes, please edit to include an image, or at least specify exactly which c, e, and g this is. 1. You can often play two notes that would be on the same string in first position by shifting, or extending so you're in two positions at once. 2. If there's any uncertainty about the triple stop, see this thread (though the only answer that's really accurate is the one by SomeMathStudent). ... Mar 31, 2023 at 13:11
  • 3. It's always possible that you're reading something poorly written, or not originally intended for violin. If the notes are middle C plus the E and G directly above, then no, there's no way to play it using shifting or extensions, and it can't be done on violin (short of changing the tuning of the strings). Please edit to clarify so we can choose from these possibilities. Mar 31, 2023 at 13:12
  • @Andy Bonner. I included a picture. It's about the spot where it says "Dreiklang". Thanks.
    – user996159
    Mar 31, 2023 at 15:44

1 Answer 1


Those pitches are not meant to be played; they're providing a little music theory along with the scales. The German text at the top of the page translates to "In the following 24 scales, at the end of each the root, third, fifth, and octave of the key are provided, so the student can be acquainted with the triad of the key." (At least I hope that's a reasonable translation; I'm not fluent!) In other words, the scale "represents" a musical key, and this chord also represents it in a harmonic way.

You might benefit from a more modern beginner's method book, in your primary language, and published within the past century. I use "Essential Elements" when starting new students.

To answer the core question as it was intended, in case others find this question while looking for something similar: No, you can't play those three pitches simultaneously on the violin. If you just took the top two pitches, the E and G that would be played on D string in first position, those could be played simultaneously by shifting into another position so that the E could be played on G string. But then you could no longer play the middle C; that's lower in pitch than D string and all the higher strings, and no string can play a lower pitch than its open pitch. If you used a non-standard tuning, like lowering the A string by a whole step, it could be done.

But to @user996159, I'd ignore all that for now. Don't worry about shifting to other positions until you're very comfortable in first position, probably a year or more. And I wouldn't recommend messing around with alternate tunings at first, especially while getting familiar with fingerings.

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