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I am learning the violin. I am currently going through being able to identify notes in sheet music. How to learn where the fingering positions are for every half-step?

For the G and the E string I believe the amount of lines that separate that note from the base. But, correct me if I am wrong. However, how would I discern say the first F and the second F on the D string or the first B and the second B on the A string and for every other note for that matter for what ever rule should apply.

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    I'm a bit confused as there are no frets on a violin. Usually an instructor would teach you where to finger the notes by ear. – ggcg Jan 31 at 5:24
  • I am sorry, I am new. I believe that I meant semi tones. I cannot afford an instructor. Much like money does not grown on trees, a spray on tan and dyed hair does not count as natural commodities to employers. I am approaching the learning process by being able to read sheet music well enough to where I can get everything out of sheet music and begin with scale exercises at up to three octaves, with speed increasing with the metronome by notes per beat. – Justin Jan 31 at 6:46
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    "because they are crossing paths into the E strings staff space as they move up the fingerboard": this is incorrect. To play the F on the top line of the staff, you can stop the E string one semitone from the nut, the A string 8 semitones from the nut, the D string 15 semitones from the nut, or (at least theoretically) the G string 22 semitones from the nut. If you limit yourself to 17 semitones, of course, the last option is ruled out. – phoog Jan 31 at 7:36
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    @Justin: May I suggest that you edit your question instead of adding comments? Especially the frets from question title cries for replacement by semitones. – guidot Jan 31 at 8:01
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    Do whatever you can to get some lessons, even if only monthly or in a group setting. Without learning when to cross strings vs. shifting positions, you really won't get very far. Pure scale exercises (and concentrating only on speed) is not the way to start. – Carl Witthoft Jan 31 at 13:37
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You really need some guidance on how to learn the violin. If you can't afford a teacher, at least get some method books (this site doesn't do shopping recommendations but google for "violin method books" will find some).

For example your idea of "begin with scale exercises at up to three octaves, with speed increasing with the metronome by notes per beat" is completely misguided. If you look at an exam syllabus like ABRSM there are no three octave scales at all until Grade 5, and you are not required to play (almost) any scale in three octaves until Grade 8. With a good teacher and a student who works hard, reaching Grade 5 will probably take at least three years, and Grade 8 will take a few years more. Average-ability or poorly-motivated students will take longer.

The way to start is with your left hand in "first position" only, so you play A B C with your first three fingers on the G string, E F G on the D string, B C D on the A string, and F G A on the E string. Forget about higher notes. When you have learned how to play those notes in tune, you progress to adding sharps and flats, in the same range. And after that (expect it to take a year or so) you start learning the "higher positions" shifting you hand down the neck of the violin.

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    Actually you usually don't learn the violin by playing in C-major. It is common to start as follows on the four strings: On E-string: E-F♯-G♯-A-B. A-string: A-B-C♯-D-E. D-string: D-E-F♯-G-A. G-string: G-A-B-C-D. Thus you can play A major on the two upper strings, D major on the middle strings and G major on the two lower strings. Once you have learned that pattern which will be a half step between 2nd and 3rd finger and whole steps between the other fingers it is easy to figure out where all the other half steps are. Not easy to play in tune, but easy to figure out intellectually. – Lars Peter Schultz Jan 31 at 20:08
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So I found the answer without a doubt. It is at https://www.violinonline.com/fingeringchart-advanced.htm

There is an example of it in Vivaldi's Four Seasons that they showed https://www.violinonline.com/colorall_fourseasons-springmelody.html

The numbers over the notes on the staff indicate to what position each note is played. That answered my question. Thank you for all who tried to answer.

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  • I am glad you found something helpful. // Note that there are method books designed for public school students, such as "All For Strings," as an example. The organization in this style of book is that each lesson introduces a new note. There is a picture to show you what string to use and which finger, and the name of the note is also given. Small pieces of music are assigned, incorporating the new note in introduced in the lesson. Working with a book of this type, you will get to know the note names and symbols on the written page. The first volume of such a book will be limited to... – aparente001 Feb 1 at 8:15
  • ... first position. Later books in the series introduce notes in other positions. Do you already play by ear, or are you just starting out with this instrument? You might also find it helpful to get a scales book, with suggested fingerings. – aparente001 Feb 1 at 8:18
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I'm not a violinist, but I bought a cheap one to play around with. Of course the very first problem was everything was horribly out of tune!

To get over the initial problem of where to put my fingers I put thin strips of masking tape on the fingerboard marking the first fingering positions up to the unison on the adjacent strings. Ex. on the G string I marked A, B, C, and D, that tape goes straight across, like this...

enter image description here

That doesn't account for all of the half steps, but you can just place your fingers between the tape marks for those half steps.

I get the impression that some people frown upon using tape. I guess they want the player to feel the hand position and hear the intonation. I understand that. Truthfully, it did feel like looking at the tape lost it's usefulness after a short time. It seems much less a visual fingertip targeting thing than a matter of holding your whole hand with good form. Sort of like standing with good posture. If the held is held right, you fingers seem to fall into the right places.

The part of your question about reading sheet music is a bit confusing. If you cannot play some basic scales and arpeggios, you should work on that and select music to read appropriate for what you can actual do on the instrument. Simple folk tunes, Christmas songs, that kind of stuff.

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Playing the mandolin can be helpful. They are very similar in size.

I also tried putting a paper under the strings to make a cheat sheet cheat sheet

I don't know how to go from here though. Drawing on it did not work it just got smudged out. Maybe put on thin strips of tape?

It did help playing with an automatic tuner closeby. Then I saw if I was too low or high.

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One of the keys to playing the fiddle is knowing where to place your fingers. At BGD, I give both notation and tablature (a count system) so that all players will know what note to play and which finger to use.

Before we start, I might wish to distinguish between finger positions and hand positions. In violin tablature, the fingers are counted 1 through 4, with the index being finger no 1 and since the pinky being finger number 4. Let’s specialize in the G string. If you begin to near the nut and slide your finger toward the bridge, you'll eventually get to a different G note, exactly one “octave” above the open G. Fiddle music uses a scale, which divides this octave into 12 even-tempered intervals called half-steps. A half-step is usually referred to as space from a natural to a point. From the open G to the octave G are 12 half-steps, then there are 12 possible finger positions. Violin tablature allows a one-half step higher, to the note earlier the octave point. Since there are four strings (G, D, A, and E), and 13 finger positions, there are a complete of 52 possible finger positions (56 counting the open notes). Since you want to move your hand to play all those finger positions, we'll also define a complete of six different hand positions.

One might think that the finger positions would be added simply one through thirteen. However, this is often not the case. The finger positions are supported by the natural rest position of the hand within the 1st, 3rd, and 5th hand positions. I do know this seems confusing, but hopefully, I will be able to explain it well below. I will be able to re-evaluate those hand positions first.

The 1st hand position

The first seven finger positions are supported by the natural rest position of the hand within the 1st hand position. do that exercise: Curl your fingers at the knuckle then turn your hand toward you as if you're examining your nails. Now attempt to spread your knuckles apart. you almost certainly find that you simply can easily make a niche between your 1st and 2nd knuckles, and your 3rd and 4th knuckles, but not between your 2nd and 3rd knuckles. Now imagine that your fingers are curled around the neck of a violin, together with your first finger exactly two half-steps up from nut. this is often actually the “default” location for putting your fingers on the violin. There are two half-steps from the first finger to the 2nd finger, one half-step from the 2nd finger to the 3rd finger, and two half-steps from the 3rd finger to the 4th finger.

These finger points are counted 1, 2, 3, and 4. The half-step between the first and 2nd fingers is named 2L, meaning “2 lower.” The half-step between the 3rd and 4th fingers is named 3H, meaning “3 higher.” If it's played with the 4th finger, it's commonly called 4L meaning “4 lower.” Therefore, 3H and 4L are an equivalent note but played with a special finger. The half-step between the first finger and therefore the nut is named 1L. The nut position is named “0,” meaning “open.” These finger positions define the primary hand position.

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