How to Place Your Second and Third Finger Close Enough Together | Violin & Viola TV #217

by | Jan 27, 2016 | Play in Tune, Start to Play | 4 comments

In this video I’m going to explain something a lot of beginners struggle with: placing your second and third finger close enough together to play the semitone in tune. A lot of beginners play the second finger too low or the third finger too high or both.

In the first frame you learn on the violin, you place the first and second finger with a space in between them, the second and third finger close together and the third and fourth finger with a space in between them.

Certainly if you have thick fingers it can be difficult to place the second and third finger close enough together. I’m going to give you some tricks to solve this issue and be able to play in tune more easily:

First your elbow must be under the violin and not to the left or to the right. Perhaps you can point your elbow slightly to the left or to the right depending on the string you are playing on. Your arm should be able to relax, your elbow should point to the floor and your arm should be able to wobble under the violin. See in the video exactly what I mean.

A lot of adult beginners have a lot of tension in their left arm which makes playing more difficult. Holding the violin the right way makes it easier for your fingers to reach their spots on the string, which brings me to the second point…

Place your second fingertip on the string and make your finger round. Then slide your third finger over the second finger in the same curve and place it just on the spot next to the second finger. Listen to the semitone I demonstrate in the video. If you place your fingers flat, than it’s impossible to place them close enough together.


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Mind these two things not only before you start playing, but also while playing. Some people start in a very good hold and after a while their elbow moves to the left and their fingers go flat causing them to play out of tune.

A good left hand hold not only makes it easier to play in tune, but it makes it also easier to play relaxed and comfortably. A bad hold can cause unnecessary tension and pain.

Just to summarize my tips:

  • Hold your elbow under your violin and let it point to the floor
  • Place your fingers round on their tips and slide the third finger over the second finger, listen to the semitone
  • Check yourself while playing

Is this video helpful to you? Please let me know in the comments below! If you like it, share it with your friends!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to and I might dedicate a Violin & Viola TV episode to answering your question!


  1. Thisbe

    Yes, that’s the solution!!! “Slide the third finger over the second finger”. By making this small movement the third finger lands exactly on the right spot. A frustration of 2,5 year is solved in 10 minutes 😀

  2. Shiva

    Hi teacher . I have one problem can you help me please?
    When i put first and second fingers( for example b and c on the second string) should there be a space between them? I mean should i attach team closely or a little space is necessary inorder to play in tune

    • Zlata

      The notes b and c are a semitone apart, so the fingers are close together.


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