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Violin Lessons: Basic Hand Shape

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There are a lot of misconceptions
about the basic shape of the left hand on
the violin.
A lot of rules about where the fingers
have to go, where the thumb have,
has to go.
The thing to remember is that it differs
in quite an extreme way from
individual to individual based on hand
size and arm length and factors like that.
Your hand shape should be based on how the
fingers lie on the violin.
You need to be able to move all four
fingers freely.
The first thing to think about is how your
upper fingers lie on the string,
because that fourth finger is the shortest
And on some people it's quite a bit
If the fourth finger is having to stretch
out just to get onto the string, then your
handshake is inefficient, because it's
gonna have to reach up every time.
So you want a handshake that lets three
four fit very comfortably on the string
and maintain some curve.
That's going to mean, most likely, that
two and
especially one will reach back to play
normal notes.
So if you had.
These four notes.
You can see that my first finger is
reaching back while my fourth finger is
still has a comfortable curve.
Many people's hand position is instead
based on the first finger.
And now you can see the strain that my
upper fingers are under, especially that
Now the thumb is there to support the
You can support the instrument with the
left hand, and
it's also there to provide a counter
You can't press down on the instrument
with your fingers
unless something is providing
counter-pressure up.
So the thumb is there for that.
Depending on the size of the hand, the
length of the thumb,
that thumb might be more or less under the
It may be, as I have it, more in this
But what I don't want is pressure from the
side with the thumb.
So even though it looks like my thumb,
maybe compressing to the side,
it's actually this lower part that's
that's providing the counter pressure.
The upper part is just there along for the
If you had side pressure, you severely
limit the mobility of your hand, and
you, you create tension that's just bad
all around.
So the thumb is there to support and it's
there to provide the counter pressure for
the fingers.
Now, any intonation work that you do
should be within this basic hand frame.
Frame of an octave.
Within this frame of one and four,
all the fingers can move around.
You have a low two, a high two, normal
three, high three.
When you move those fingers around,
the frame of the hands should stay the
same, rather than moving the three and
having the hand change, moving the two,
and changing the hand.
You should be able to move your fingers,
independently [SOUND] without changing
that basic frame.
That's vital for consistent intonation.
Also I'd like you to look at where your
fingers contact the string.
Generally they should contact them on the
left side because that gives
more flexibility for the vibrato and for
shifting on the string.
So the left side, depending on the size of
your fourth finger you may have
to compromise on the four.
Over time you'll see the calluses on your
fingers and that will tell you
whether your been countering the string on
the, on the correct side.
So when you send me a video for hand
what I'd like to see is you setting the
On the octave and then I'd like to see a
chromatic scale, like this.
With a nice, relaxed hand,
and without the hand moving or
having to adjust.
And I'd like to see that on all four
strings because as you go across
the strings your, the frame may change a
little bit.
There are differences in where the elbow
You don't have to worry about those so
much as long as your hand is feeling nice
on the four strings.