I am thinking of ending my trio piece with the violin playing a double stop. I am wondering however, if the double stop I am thinking of using is playable.

Here, I will just show the harmony as I am not totally sure on the melody before the ending chord.

Here is the planned harmony for the last 6 bars of my trio:

T:Spring Trio
C:Cheyanna Marie Ward
V:Vio treble name="Violin"
d8 | f8 | g8 | B8 | T c8 | H [d8a8] |]
V:Cel bass name="Cello"
D,8-|D,8 | G,,8-|G,,8 | A,8 | H D,8 |]
V:Pian treble name="Piano right hand"
D8 | A8 | d8 |G8 | E8 | H [D8F8A8d8] |] 
V:pian bass name="Piano left hand"
F,8 | D,8-|D,8 |F,4 G,4 | A,4 A,,4 | H [D,,8F,,8A,,8D,8] |]

Is the double stop in the violin part playable at all? I know it is high up and is a fifth wide but is it playable or do I need to change it? I think a violinist encountering this would do a natural harmonic technique on the D and A strings to make it sound an octave above the open string but correct me if I'm wrong on that.

  • yes, the violinist can put a finger across the A and E strings to voice the D on the A string and the A on the E string. There are charts available that show the note range of specific instruments, which can be helpful when composing for instruments that you are not familiar with. Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 20:55
  • 1
    I know, but I also know that you can only go up so far with a double stop and I haven't seen a chart of possible double stops(though I wouldn't be surprised if one was out there somewhere).
    – Caters
    Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


Any individual double stop can be played on the violin as long as:

1) It's not bigger than an octave. (If the lower note is on an open string, a bigger double stop is possible. Other double stops slightly bigger than an octave are possible in certain ranges or for violinists with large hands.)


2) The higher note is at least as high as the open D (so you don't need to play both notes on the G string).

(Also, minor seconds could be troublesome for violinists with small hands.)

There can be problems with particular double stops in the context of a fast passage because the fingering can't work out (but that can happen for single notes too). Also, intonation of double stops can be quite tricky. (Combined with intonation of very high notes being tricky, you're asking for trouble if you want very high double stops.)

  • So are you saying that since my double stop is only an octave above the D string, that having the piece end with that double stop is perfectly fine but maybe I should give the trill to the piano part instead of the violin?
    – Caters
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 2:43
  • The passage you've written can be played without any trouble (though it might sound weirder than you think). Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 3:04
  • Why, because of the F# clashing with G in the fourth bar, only to be resolved 2 beats later to octaves?
    – Caters
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 3:20
  • The violin line is going to be heard as a C# leaping up to a final A. Remember the guideline that each instrument's line should make sense as a melody on its own. Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 4:31
  • Well, I don't know if you read it but I explicitly said in the question that what I am showing is the harmony because I am uncertain about the melody I will be using. I used mostly whole notes for that reason, only really using half notes for the fourth and fifth bars of the left hand of the passage. I most likely won't have a trill in the violin lasting for 4 beats.
    – Caters
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 23:44

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