How to Play in Tune with the Fourth Finger on the Violin or Viola

by | Feb 4, 2014 | Play in Tune | 2 comments

I have a fourth finger fobia!

Robyn writes in response to the Pinky Training Program:

LOL yes, I have 4th finger phobia! I am not afraid to use my (left) pinky, but every day when I practise it seems to want to go to another place. I will be too sharp, or too flat, and even if I correct this, the next day it is off on it’s own journey again. Frustrating!
Thanks again for another informative video Zlata

Practice playing violin or viola using the fourth finger

In response to our Pinky Training Program, Robin writes:

“LOL yes, I have 4th finger phobia! I am not afraid to use my (left) pinky, but every day when I practise it seems to want to go to another place. I will be too sharp, or too flat, and even if I correct this, the next day it is off on it’s own journey again. Frustrating! Thanks again for another informative video Zlata”

Are you familiar with this problem? Most of the time this unstable sound is caused by weakness in the fourth finger. Your fourth finger, namely the pinky, is your smallest and weakest finger because you don’t use it regularly in your daily life. The other fingers are much bigger and stronger. Also, when playing the violin, your pinky has to go quite far away from the finger board compared to the others. This is why lots of people avoid using this finger. The fourth finger should be trained because these problems are mostly caused by the weakness in your pinky.

Placing the finger with confidence The most important part to creating a secure intonation is placing it confidently on the fingerboard. This way, it will know where it needs to go. If it’s weak, it’s more of a coincidence where it needs to go.

Exercise to strengthen your pinky

The exercise that works best for this problem, goes as following: You place your first three fingers on a string, the D-string for example. Then, you’ll place your fourth finger confidently on the string. You should be able to hear the fourth finger slap the string on the fingerboard (don’t squeeze is but slap it). Start doing this with only the fourth finger, and when you’ve done that, you can work towards placing the second and third finger on the string as well. This will make your intonation more secure and it will make your finger stronger and more confident.

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

Love,

Zlata

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2 Comments

  1. Thisbe

    The fourth-finger-fight, beware me… Good exercise, thanks Zlata! Maybe one more to add: place your second and third finger on a string and place (slap) your fourth finger on the G-string, than D, A and E and the other way around. Or place your second and third finger on different strings and do the same with the fourth finger. Leave your fourth finger on every string for 5 seconds, it is powertraining for your hands!

    Reply

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