What is Position Play??? Some Basics…
Violin Lounge TV Q&A about the basics of positions:
“Hello, Its me Valyncia McNeil with, yet another question. Since I am teaching myself to play the violin. I would like to know the meanings of 1st position, 2nd position and 3rd position. What does it look like on musical measures? and how does it apply when playing? Much thanks.”
What is position play on the violin? Some basics..
Today I answer the question of Valyncia McNeil. She asked me: Since I am teaching myself to play the violin. I would like to know the meanings of 1st position, 2nd position and 3rd position. What does it look like on musical measures? and how does it apply when playing? Much thanks.
Well first of all, I think it is quite a mission impossible to teach yourself to play the violin unless you are a violin teacher but you aren’t because then you wouldn’t have to start learning it. So it is very difficult and playing the violin is already difficult enough as it is, so don’t make it more difficult for yourself by not having a good teacher to show you the way. And not to take some detours.
You are starting to learn the positions if you have played in the first couple of frames in the first position.
- the first position is when for example you play on the D string: [plays] D, E, F-sharp, G. That is the first position.
- If I replace my second finger (F-sharp) by my first finger, so my first finger is now on the place of the second finger, we call that the second position. By playing in the second position, my hand goes up the fingerboard. Then you can have a bigger range in the notes you play. You can play higher notes, you can play the notes that you usually play on a higher string you can also play them on a lower string which gives a different sound. So the possibilities are a lot bigger when you can play in positions.
- If I place my first finger on the place of the third finger which is as on the first position [plays] that is then the G if I place my first finger on that spot. It is called the third position.4. Etcetera until the tenth position. You can use all your fingerboard up till here. So you can go up and up. For example, if I see a note A, in sheet music and there is no finger indicated, I can play it in various ways. I can play it with any finger so first, second, third, fourth on the D string. I can also play it on the G string in a very high position.
How is position play notated in sheet music?
It is not really that you can see it from the sheet music. You scan the music from the context if there is other fingering around it and there are most used ways to do fingering on something. You can see it in the sheet music by fingering so a 2 or a 3 or 4 above the note. So that is how you can see it. But don’t start playing on positions until you can play very pure, you can intonate very well in the first position. So have that first and then playing in positions is a next step.
Then a little viola joke:
Why do violinists don’t like the Kama Sutra? It is too many positions for them!
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