Basic Note and Double Stops on the Violin

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 53,699
    Professional violinist and pedagogue Slavico Ilic demonstrates the basic note and double stops on the violin.

    Slavico Ilic

    Slavico Ilic is a professional violinist and pedagogue. She has performed concerts in Italy, Israel, US, former Yugoslavia, and currently she is a principal second violin with Mount Vernon Symphony Orchestra. She is on the faculty at the International School of Music (ISM) in Bethesda, where she teaches violin to all ages, levels, and styles. With a distinguished faculty of 55 teachers, ISM provides students with a rich music education experience. The ISM faculty’s friendly personalities, insightful approaches, and individually tailored teaching methods have helped students become complete and versatile musicians. ISM provides an atmosphere that is warm and supportive so every student can achieve his/her best.

    Slavica Ilic: My name is Slavica Ilic and we are today in the International School of Music in Bethesda, Maryland. My next clip will be about finger placement and some basic notes and the double stops on the violin.

    To understand better how the violin works, at least in the first position, I will tell you a couple of things. The strings are G, D, A and E. When we play the violin of course we use four fingers and the fingers are numbered from one to four. This is first, second, third and the fourth finger.

    At the beginning a lot of times in the violin music you will see the numbers above the notes. Sometimes the numbers are helping you to know which finger to put for which note, but the wrong way of learning how to read the music is to learn by the numbers of the fingers. At the same time of course you have to know the finger number you use for the note and you have to know the note name and the string that you are playing that note on.

    So for example, on G string we have the notes G, A, B, C, D, the fourth finger is D and the same note D we can play as the fourth finger on G or open D string. Then on D string we have D, E, note F or F sharp, G and A.

    When I say, F sharp and G, thats basically the first finger position we learned on the violin. We learned the finger position when the second and third fingers are together. We keep fingers together on the violin when we have the half-steps between two notes. The whole steps are indicated with the space between two fingers. The half-steps are indicated when the fingers are next to each other. So for example, when we play a simple D Major scale that goes D, F sharp, D, A, B, C sharp, D were going with F sharp and C sharp on A string. Sometimes called a high second finger it makes a half-step between F sharp and G and C sharp and D.

    If we decided to play note F Major instead of F sharp on D string then we will move simply second finger half-step lower and the half steps moves between the first and second finger. So thats how it works. Every time we have a half steps fingers next to each other whole step fingers are apart.

    Now, we will be talking about playing the double stops on the violin. Sometimes when the violin could be played more than one string at the same time its actually two strings if you are talking with double stops. The double stops means that you are stopping the strings, two strings at the same time with two different fingers bowing them at the same time. So, for example, I can play D and A string at the same time placing the fingers on the different place and making a different interval. Thats the double stop.

    Sometimes on the violin we can play a three or four strings at the same time. In that case sometimes, we call that a chord or a broken chord. In that case we have to bring, if we want to play all three strings at the same time, we want to bring the bow slightly closer to the fingerboard simply because the strings are closer to each other so we can easily get all strings together, if we need that.

    Sometimes we have to play that as a two lower and two higher strings like two double stops together or play as a broken chord. So in that case we give the favor to the two higher notes, playing them. That will be the chord.

    My next clip will be about practicing tips.