How to Play a High 3rd Finger after a 4th Finger on the Violin (semitone) | Violin Lounge TV #482

by | Jul 6, 2022 | Play in Tune | 2 comments

In a descending scale, you might find it difficult to go from a fourth finger to a high third

Here are tips to play this in tune even if you have thick fingers:

Video content:

  • 02:12 B Major violin scale
  • 03:56 Tips for thick fingers
  • 05:06 E Major violin scale
  • 05:52 A Major violin scale

How to play semitone in tune on the violin

It might seem impossible to make the distance between the notes on the violin small enough to play semitone in tune.

Certainly coming from the fourth finger a lot of violin players have difficulty with this.

The key is to place your fingers arched, coming from the top and landing on the tip of the finger.

To do this you would need to embrace the violin with your arm and align your knuckles with the neck of the violin. This brings your fingers closer to the spots they need to be, so they don’t need to stretch.

If you place your fingers flat, then automatically the distance between the notes is too large and the semitone is out of tune.

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

Elbow position for different strings

On a descending scale you move from higher strings to lower strings. If you don’t adjust the position of your arm to the string you’re playing on, it’s very hard to reach the notes with your fingers.

If you move your elbow to the right while moving to lower strings, your fingers will be able to reach the notes much easier.

Make sure you place your fingers arched and on the tip.

If your fingertips are too big, you might need to shift them a bit when placing the third finger from the fourth finger. It’s ok if you can’t place them together at the same time.

Find the solution in your overall arm hold and left hand shape instead of focussing just on the fingers.

Tips for thick fingers

If you have chunky fingers, a semitone might seem impossible for you. Don’t worry, with any type or size of fingers you can play in tune on the violin.

You’ll also love this…

If you want to learn more about playing semitones in tune, also ascending, go and watch this video lesson.

Leave your questions and insights in the comments!


  1. Sheila Ryan

    I think concepts in this video relate to a problem I am encountering while playing Orange Blossom Special. I have trouble in the B part with repetitive notes on the E string. My ring finger “cramps” making speed difficult. It may be my hand position or perhaps I need to strengthen my 3rd finger. Do you have suggestions?

    • Zlata

      It’s normal that the hand tenses up in repetitive notes. Practice this with pauses, play few notes, then consiously relax the hand, then another few notes. If you can play this relaxed, speed it up and make the breaks gradually shorter until they’re not there anymore. Your mind will be trained to relax the hand while playing.


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