How To Play Double Stops on the Violin

by | May 1, 2014 | Play in Tune | 6 comments

Double stops can be difficult. 

Sylviane writes:

Hello Zlata,

Have you made a movie/video clip about double stop and chords? If not, would you put that on your list for next movie? I am currently playing some songs that require so many double stops, oh my goodness, and it seems like I am having trouble producing the double stop sounds when it’s on A & E strings. Not sure why, perhaps because the E is positioned low that I don’t see where my bow is. So usually when I do the double stop on those 2 strings the first milliseconds I will only hear either A string or E string, then the soonest I hear it I would correct it.

Perhaps you have some useful tips for this double stop action.

Thank you Zlata, have a nice day.


There are three aspects to double stops: you see, you hear and you feel. Hearing is too late, because the wrong sound did already sound. Seeing is not always possible and most of the times not good for your violin hold. Therefore, it is important that you can feel how to play a double stop.

To practice the double stop, place your bow on the A and the E string. Think about how it feels to be on both strings? How does your arm position feel? If you play these notes very slowly and very consciously, you know where you have to be. You have to know how to position you arm without being on the wrong string, even for a millisecond.

A second exercise to practice the double stop is to imagine that you are playing on one imaginary string that is in between the two strings that are included in your double stop. Imagine this in your feeling, not so much in your ear or eye.

Practice this often to really get the double stop in your muscle memory!



PS: Do you want to see YOUR question answered in a Violin Lounge TV episode? Post a comment below!


  1. Sylviane

    Thank you Zlata! Very useful information indeed!
    My double stops have improved quite a bit, as well as the chords. I will keep on practising and feel for my imaginary strings between A & E.
    Have a nice day!

  2. This

    Thanks Zlata, you are so right: hearing is to late! :-D. But your tip to play on an imaginary string between the strings works out so well. My teacher always says that most of the sound is mentally: if you focus on a certain sound, your brains are driving your fingers to do the right thing needed to reveal that sound. We did some exercises to give evidence to this theory. Very exciting! And it works also for a double stop. One simple sentence can change the mind, thanks! XX


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