How to Reach all Notes on a Large Viola | Violin Lounge TV #256

by | Apr 25, 2017 | Play Comfortably, Play in Tune | 3 comments

Large viola’s have a full and deep sound, but it might be difficult to reach all notes with your left hand.

This video teaches you how to position your left hand and thumb, so you can easily place your fingers on the right spots.

Don’t worry that your arms or hands aren’t large enough… it’s (almost) all in the right technique.

 1) The position of your left thumb

It might be difficult to reach the spot for the fourth finger on a large viola. This depends on the position of your thumb. There is a connection between your thumb and your pinky. The more your thumb points to the scroll, the harder it will be to reach the right spot for your fourth finger.

When you play violin, you usually put your thumb opposite your index finger. On a viola, you might position your thumb opposite your middle finger or even your ring finger.

2) Position of your left arm

Have your left elbow right under the viola… not too much to the left or to the right. Make sure that your left arm is relaxed and that your elbow points to the floor. Imagine a weight hanging on your elbow pulling down your elbow to the floor.

3) Position of your hand and fingers

Put your knuckles as much in line with the fingerboard as possible. In this way your pinky will not have to cross a big distance to reach it’s right spot. Watch the video to see what I mean. I demonstrate the right and the wrong hold.

I hope this helps you out! Let me know in the comments.




  1. B.ramya

    Nice mam


    Thank you this is useful. My fingers and thumb are relatively short and so I see I need to move the thumb up the neck even in 1st position to land my 4th finger with confidence.

    E McCallum/ viola student since 6th grade.


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