How to read violin notes on sheet music

An Easy way to learn how to read violin notes on sheet music

If you are looking for an easy way to learn how to read violin notes on sheet music, I can provide one. Violin is one of the most complicated instruments to learn but with enough concentration, determination and practice, you can start learning relatively fast.

The way we learn how to read violin notes on sheet music is by starting to learn the actual notes. Musical scores have different clefs. You get the trebble clef, base cleff and the F cleff. Violas use the F Cleff so we are going to ignore that one. Instead, we are going to focus on the base cleff and the trebble cleff. You need a basic understanding of the base cleff to understand that some of the trebble cleff notes on the violin are borrowed from the base cleff. So without much more to say about this, let’s dive into how to read violin notes on sheet music.

Your trebble cleff has five lines and four spaces. But some of the notes of the base cleff extend on the trebble clef, making the trebble clef the only cleff that violin sheet music is written in.

The five lines on the trebble cleff is easily remembered by a sentence, “eat good bread dear father”, each word representing a letter, in other words, E, G, B, D, F. In the same way, the spaces (those places in between the lines) are named “F A C E spells Face”, each note on a space being F, A, C, E. See the image below.

Now, below the line, the notes go down. You get D and then middle C. Middle C is the note that separates the two cleffs, Base and Trebble. Now you are going to borrow notes for the violin front he base cleff. Go down with the lines as in the image to get to G.

The next image will show you the finger positions associated with the violin notes on the sheet music.

This is how the violin notes on sheet music works and how to read them. If you are still wondering more about how to read violin motes on sheet music, feel free to browse the rest of the site for information pertaining to how to read violin notes on sheet music and so on.

Click here to see my lesson on how to do finger positions on the violin

Violin String Notes

Violin String Notes

The violin string notes are written across two octaves, three and four sometimes. But for basic beginner violin, you will play across three strings only.

As with any music, musical notes go from A to G only. So A, B, C, D, E, F, G and then it starts again with A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C etc. In between these notes, there are half tones as well which makes up sharps or flats.

The violin string notes are ordered according to standard music theory. In other words, your notes are still A B C D E F G, but you start on the G string. Each finger is a different note. The notes on your strings are as follows:

  • G String: G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#/li>
  • D String: D. D#, E, F, F#, G, G#
  • A String: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#
  • E String: E, F, F#, G, G#, A
  • Of course if you are a beginner player, your violin string notes to start with will be in the scale of D Major. And for that to work, your fingers will be placed in the standard violin finger positions. To find out more about the finger positions, click on this link or watch my video here.

    It is advisable to get a fretboard or mark your violin so you have the correct string positions to learn with the correct placement for the violin string notes to begin with.

    In this case, your string notes will be as follows:

  • G string: First finger, A, second finger B, third finger C#
  • D string: First finger, D, second finger E, third finger F#
  • A string: First finger, B, second finger, C#, third finger D
  • E string: First finger F#, second finger G, third finger A
  • These are the basic violin string notes and names. Some of these are sharps because the first basic violin scale that everyone learns is D Major. D Major contains two sharps namely F and C. Thus, your violin string notes to start with will have these two sharps.

    Click here for my video on the violin finger positions

    Click here for where to place the finger positions.

    Violin Tuner Online

    Violin Tuner Online

    In this page, I have included a violin tuner online! Yes, you can just get the violin tuner here and tune your violin. Alternatively, you can go to the YouTube channel and get my violin tuner free and online to help you tune your violin.

    Click here to go straight to the violin tuner online

    To use a violin tuner online, you need to be certain that the violin tuner is on pitch. This particular violin tuner has been used from an electric piano which means that the pitch is correct.

    A violin tuner is something that every violinist needs when he or she goes to play at a concert, band, worship team or just for fun at someone’s home. However, how you use the violin tuner and whether you use an online one or an app on your phone depends on you. Many people don’t have the space for apps on their phone and thus uses a violin tuner online from YouTube or the web.

    Violin Tuner Online:

    The way you use a violin tuner is string by string. Start with one string and work your way towards the next string. Never try to tune two strings at once. Online, there are some videos on how to tune your violin. I have a link on this website to a page on how to tune your violin.

    As you tune your violin more and more, you will start finding that using a violin tuner online becomes less and less difficult. And with time, you will even be able to do your violin tuning with only the A note of the piano or a violin tuner. Enough practice and your musical ear will start to develop.

    If a violin tuner that you find online is not going to work for you, you could always look at some of the violin tuners that they have available on Amazon or in a music store. Those are not online but physical tuners that you either plug in or clamp to a violin. Below, are links to some physical violin tuners.

    Your other option is to ask someone to play the notes on the piano and tune according to that. The problem with this is that pianos are not always in tune and on pitch unless it’s an electrical piano.

    The safest is to use a violin tuning app or a violin tuner that you find online. I hope this has helped and provided you with a violin tuner online that you can use anytime, anywhere to tune your violin to pitch.

    What are the violin string names

    What are the violin string names and where are they?

    If you have recently picked up a violin or you are wanting to learn to play, you may be wondering what are the violin string names and where they are on the violin. In other words, which string is which string.

    The violin has four different strings. The strings are called from left to right, G, D, A and E. G is the lowest, deepest sound and E is the highest sound. If you are still wondering what the different violin string names are, a picture below indicates the names of the strings.

    Violin string names

    On the piano, the violin string names match up to the G just below middle C, the D next to middle C, the A above middle C and the E one octave above middle C. An octave is 8 notes. These are the string names you will be using to tune your violin. An image below indicates the different violin string names and where you will find them on the piano. The C next to the note marked D is middle C.

    Violin String Names on the Piano

    The other thing is that once you know the violin string names, you need to tune the violin according to the right pitch. You can use a piano to do this with a trained ear, but if your ear is not yet trained, it’s best to use a violin tuner that will tell you if your strings are on pitch and in tune. The violin tuners are usually programmed to the violin string names and the correct pitch. A list of violin tuners available on Amazon are below:

    The thickest of the violin strings is named G. D is a little less thick, A is less thick and E is the thinnest string. This information will come in handy when you need to replace your strings. Also how to trouble shoot the tuning pegs or how to replace violin strings. You can see an article on how to troubleshoot the tuning pegs here called “When the tuning pegs keep popping off”.

    The first thing every new violinist needs to know is the different violin string names and where they are placed on the violin. It is also handy to know where they sit on a piano. I hope this article has informed you of the different violin string names and that you can now go ahead with tuning or starting to play the violin!

    Violin Finger Positions

    Violin finger positions

    Having the correct violin finger positions on the violin is crucial to successful violin playing. If you place your finger on the fingerboard and it is just slightly off yes even 1 mm, you will get a false sound. It is important to get the right finger positions when playing the violin.

    This involves both how and where you place your fingers on the fingerboard. First we will start on how you place your fingers on the fingerboard.

    To get your violin finger positions right, your fingers need to be curled and the tips of the fingers need to press down as in the image below. But, since the violin does not have a fretboard, it makes it quite hard to put the fingers in the right place, even if how you position your fingers on the violin is correct.

    Violin finger positions

    The next thing you have to do is to make certain that you know where the fingers need to go. With a trained ear and many hours of practice, knowing the correct violin finger positions will come naturally. But for beginners, it is important to have markers to show where the finger positions are. Teachers will generally place these on the violin in the form of stickers. But in the case where you are attempting to teach yourself, you will need some help.

    You can place the stickers yourself, but you need to know that it does have to be in exactly the right position. The measurements are at the bottom of this page, but they are measured from the nut as in the image that is also below.

    Violin finger positions are measured from the nut

    The alternative to get your violin finger positions right is to get a violin fingerboard sticker or sometimes called a violin fretboard sticker. This is easy to put on and a quick fix. There are links below to these on Amazon.

    Whatever you decide to use to get your violin finger positions right, you need to remember that the measurements or fretboard stickers need to be placed in exactly the right spot, measuring from the nut.

    Always remember that practice makes perfect. I know that violin finger position aids are unsighly but in time, your ear will get trained and you will be able to remove the stickers.

    Full Size Violin (4/4)
    Tape 1 – 35mm (1 3/8 inches)
    Tape 2 – 66mm (2 5/8 inches)
    Tape 3 – 80mm (3 1/8 inches)
    Tape 4 – 106mm (4 1/8 inches)

    3/4 Violin
    Tape 1 – 32mm (1 1/4 inches)
    Tape 2 – 61mm (2 3/8 inches)
    Tape 3 – 75 mm (2 7/8 inches)
    Tape 4 – 100 mm (3 7/8 inches)

    1/2 Violin
    Tape 1 – 28mm (1 1/8 inches)
    Tape 2 – 54mm (2 1/8 inches)
    Tape 3 – 68mm (2 5/8 inches)
    Tape 4 – 91mm (3 5/8 inches)

    1/4 Violin
    Tape 1 – 25mm (1 inch)
    Tape 2 – 48mm (1 7/8 inches)
    Tape 3 – 60mm (2 3/8 inches)
    Tape 4 – 79mm (3 1/8 inches)

    Violin Bow Exercises

    Violin bow exercises for beginners

    Violin bow exercises are incredibly important to correct your violin bowing technique. Especially when you are a beginner and you are struggling with balancing the bow on the strings and hitting different strings at the same time.

    Violin is not an instrument that can be learned overnight unless you are a super musical genious. There is a lot involved in learning the violin. A lot of technique and also musical knowledge goes into it. Part of the technique is getting the bowing right from when you are a beginner. For that you need the right kind of violin bow exercise for the particular issue that you are struggling with.

    There are several exercises that you can try to correct your bowing. The most important one is learning how to bow. I have outlined some exercises below that you can use to get your violin bowing right.

    1. Try to bow a long full bow on just one string. This would be from the end of the bow to the tip. This should have enough pressure to make a nice sound, but not so much that it scratches. If you hear a scratchy sound, you will know that the bow is being put down too hard. You will also need to balance the bow so that it only touches the string you want to play. Do this exercise going up and down several times at 60 beats per minute (use a metronome) on each string. Count four. After you have done this on each individual string, do it on different strings eg A D G D A E A E
    2. Do the same violin bow exercise again except this time, use only half the bow.
    3. The same exercise can be done again using a quarter of the bow and counting one count per note.
    4. When you get the balance right, do a down bow, full bow. Pick up the bow and put it down for another down bow. Just do down bows.
    5. Do the same as no 4 except now its an up bow.
    6. Try two strings on a bow. Move from A to D on the same bow without stopping. If this is an issue, try stopping in the middle of the bow first and switching. When you get that right, you can try the switching without stopping.

    These violin exercises will help with the basics of the bowing. If you can get these right, you should be good with beginner violin bowing.

    You can see more on my YouTube video regarding beginner violin bow exercises. Below is a link to the video on violin bow exercises.

    Link to YouTube video: Violin Bow Exercises for beginners

    Violin finger placement

    Violin finger placement woes

    So you have started violin lessons and have gotten to the part where you learn where to place your fingers on the fingerboard. But the violin finger placement is quite tricky and you don’t always get it right.

    Many times it’s false when you play and you just struggle, especially with that third finger.

    A big part about violin finger placement has to do with your ear and how in tune you are to the pitch of the notes. That’s why developing your musical ear is important. I believe that this is possible, even if you are completely tone deaf. With enough practice you can definitely develop enough of a musical ear to deal with these challenges.

    Another part of correct violin finger placement is how you hold the fingers on the fingerboard. Are they curled or flat? A flat finger is not going to give you the correct sound, even if your finger is in the right place. But a curled finger on the other hand, will give you a better tone and have more of a correct placement too. It is important to remember how to hold your fingers on the violin fingerboard. The placement needs to be correct and the fingers need to be curled.

    There are aids that can help you with the finger placement, although these aids should only be used right at the beginning. We do not recommend using these aids for more than a couple of weeks. If you keep using violin finger placement aids, your finger placement will not develop on it’s own as you will start to rely on the aids instead of your tone and yourself. Below, I have linked to some aids on Amazon that can help you with violin finger placement.

    Getting the correct finger placement right from the start is incredibly important to having success with learning how to play the violin. In the video linked here, I share some insights into the correct finger placement and where to put your fingers, as well as which note each one of the fingers represent. I hope this helps you with your violin finger placement and that you can finally overcome those woes that get you down.

    How to effectively practice violin

    How to effectively practice violin

    The secret to practicing an instrument is not how many times you practice the same exercise over and over. The secret is in playing the same thing over and over again, but in different ways and with different methods.

    For example, if you are going to practice Mary had a little lamb effectively, first analyse the piece of music. Look at the time signature, Look at any ornaments, volume indications and other symbols etc. Then play it through on the violin once.

    The second time, practice it with counting out loud as you as you play the piece on the violin. The third time, play it in perhaps playing each note four times. Make sure you practice it in different ways, at least three different ways.

    The key to how to effectively practice the violin is in variation in your playing through of the music.

    Another important thing to do is in any piece of the music that you are struggling with, play just that one piece, that one bar or one line slower and over and over again until you get it right. then add it into the rest of the piece again. This is how you effectively practice the violin.

    Violin Bow Hold

    Correct violin bow hold

    Playing the violin is not just a “pick up the bow and play” like a plug and play device that you can do with a kitchen or computer. Playing the violin is a combination of technique and the effort that you put into it. Part of this effort is the violin bow hold that you have.

    If your violin bow hold is not correct, your bow stroke and your violin sound may sound bad. It will look off and just be wrong. You will bow skew (yes you will) which will NOT help your sound and your general playing. The bow can fly out of your hand during fast music and in general, your playing will be bad.

    So to get your violin bow hold right, you need to put the time and effort into practicing the bow hold so that your violin playing ultimately becomes professional. It is hard practice and many people struggle getting the correct violin bow hold right from the start.

    Howdo you hold the bow? Your ring finger and middle finger needs to be around the frog. Your pointing finger needs to be around the finger grip and your pinky needs to be on the top of the bow. The image below shows you how to do a correct violin bow hold.

    Violin Bow Hold
    Violin Bow Hold

    It does not stop there though. The back of your fingers over the bow also has to curl. Below is a picture from a different angle on the correct violin bow hold and what your thumb is supposed to be doing.

    Violin bow hold
    Violin bow hold

    Several aids can help in how to hold the violin bow. It can help your fingers get used to the position the bow has to be held in. This is a known fact, it’s hard to hold the bow in the way it’s supposed to be held. Especially if you’re new at this. That’s why the aids are useful. Below, you will see some aids to help you with the bow hold.

    There are other factors involved in holding the violin bow correctly as well. Your upper arm needs to be still as you attempt the bowing and you need to go straight between the bridge and the finger board. Check out my YouTube Video on how to bow straight and have the correct violin bow hold.

    I hope this article has been helpful in you learning more about the correct bow hold for the violin. Remember, with a lot of practice your fingers will eventually get used to holding the bow. If it feels like the bow is about to fly out of your hand, you are probably holding the bow correctly!

    How to rosin a bow

    Every new violinist have wondered about how to rosin a bow. Especially if there has never been lessons before. Nobody ever explained it and you are left wondering how to rosin the bow.

    So out you go and get a new piece of Rosin from Amazon or from a violin or music store. You come home and try to rosin the bow only to find out that you don’t actually know how to do this.

    First let me explain why it is important to rosin a bow and then I will get to the “how to” part. Rosin is what makes the bow make a sound on the strings. If you have tried to make a sound on the violin strings and nothing has worked, no sound whatsoever, chances are that you need to rosin the bow.

    The first thing we need to remember about putting Rosin on a bow is that it needs to be chipped. This gives the rosin a better chance of giving off residue or powder if you want to call it that. So chip the rosin against your music stand or against another hard object. Never chip it against an instrument or this will cause harm to the instrument itself.

    You then take the chipped part of the rosin and rub it up and down the hair of the bow. If its the first time you apply rosin, you need to apply it quite generously. But if it has had rosin on before, you do not have to rosin the bow so generously.

    I hope this has helped you figure out how to rosin a bow. For more information, please check out my YouTube channel.

    Types of violins

    Types of violins

    The types of violins and which one would be right for you. There are so many types of violins to choose from. When just starting out with the world of violin, you can be confused as to what type of violin you need.

    There are electric violins, semi electric violins, acoustic violins, student violins and professional violins. All these types of violins can bring confusion, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking at or what you are doing.

    If you are a brand new violin student, the type of violin you need to look at is probably an acoustic violin, a student violin at that. The acoustic violin will assist you in proper learning of technique which the electric, silent and semi electric violins cannot do. The acoustic violin is also used for classical training.

    The electrical type of violin which includes the semi electric and silent violins are specifically designed for contemporary violin and does not really work in a classical setting. The types of violins are different, depending on the genre you want to play. Acoustic can be used for contemporary violin too.

    When you just start out, I would recommend getting the type of violin that would teach you technique. A good student violin which is acoustic will serve this purpose well. Later on, when you do contemporary stage performances you can spread out your collection and get other types of violins but to start with, get yourself a good acoustic student violin.

    I hope this clears up the confusion around the types of violins. To find out what you need when starting violin lessons, please go to my article on it or click on the link.

    Starting violin lessons

    Starting violin lessons

    The essentials to starting violin lessons are described below. If you are new to violin or want to start learning violin, you might be wondering now what. What do you need to know? Do you need any previous musical experience? Do you need a violin? In this article I will explain everything you need to know about starting violin lessons.

    Violin is a complex instrument. Having a solid musical understanding can be extremely helpful. This means, having a background in Piano is a good thing. I always recommend that students have a year or so of piano lessons before starting violin lessons. The reason is that the piano gives a solid and good foundation of music, the different keys and a bit of theory. Once you understand the piano, you understand music basics. And the basics will help you when starting violin lessons.

    The next thing to determine is whether you want to learn professionally, and what you want to learn? Do you want to learn classical for orchestral and classical music or do you want to learn rock or pop? If you want to be starting violin lessons with the purpose of just playing contemporary, you could probably go to any violin or music school in your area and they will be able to help you. But if you are looking at classical training, you would have to look at starting violin lessons with a Suzuki teacher or a private teacher. These will help you to get a thorough understanding of music and a thorough and complex training of music. If you can play classical, you can play anything. Church bands, pop, classical and others – nothing will be too difficult. But if you learn contemporary, you will find difficulty with playing classical and other genres.

    Starting violin lessons also requires you to make a commitment to practicing. Violin is not an easy instrument. You need to dedicate time and effort into it to master the violin. The time and effort you put into it will determine your progress. If you put ten minutes a day in, you won’t get very far. But if you put an hour in every day, you will get a lot further faster, and master it easily.

    Starting violin lessons also requires you to have your own violin. You can rent a violin from a music school or you can buy your own. There are good second hand options out there, or you can buy a brand new one. Amazon has some nice violins, as well as music stores. Once again, when starting violin lessons you do not need a professional violin. A good student violin will do. To know more about violins and the types of violins, see my article on the type of violins there are and determine what you would need.

    I hope this has been helpful in determining if you are ready for starting violin lessons. Hopefully you have the determination and want to move ahead. Starting violin lessons is a great hobby or art to learn and will bring many hours of enjoyment and relaxation.

    How to clean your violin

    Knowing how to clean your violin

    Many people learn how to play the violin but they never learn from their violin teachers how to clean their violins. Your violin is something that needs to be kept in tip top shape at all times.

    If the violin is not cleaned, eventually residue from the Rosin on the bow will settle on the violin and cake onto the violin, making it hard to get off. Then it needs to go to a luthier to fix. So before it happens, here are some helpful hints in how to clean your violin and keep it in good shape.

    The first thing is to get a soft dust cloth. Each time you have played the violin, you should softly and gently clean your violin and wipe off all dust or residue from the rosin and bow. This step is important to maintain the violin in mint condition.

    The second thing you can do to clean your violin is that if you have neglected cleaning your violin and you see the rosin starting to cake on the violin’s body, is to take a damp (thoroughly wrung out) cloth and gently wipe it across the violin. It must not be dripping or you can cause damage to the wood. It must be decently wrung out.

    This is how you clean your violin and maintain the violin. Make sure you do this on a regular basis so that the violin stays in good condition.

    Holding the violin bow

    Holding the violin bow

    Holding the violin bow correctly is a skill that needs to be mastered over time. It takes many many hours of practice before the skill is properly mastered.

    To hold the bow correctly, one’s fingers are stretched in an abnormal way, making it feel like the bow is about to fly out of your hands. If it feels like the bow is about to fly out of your hand, the bow is held correctly.

    Many people struggle getting the hold of the bow correct. There are several methods, but the most popular method is the one I will show below. To hold the bow correctly, you need to curl your thumb into the frog, hold your ring finger and middle finger together over the frog on the side, and point your little finger at the top of the bow by the little mechanism that winds the bow. Your pointing finger kind of just rests over the bow. The following image illustrates holding the violin bow correctly.

    If you do not hold the violin bow correctly, you will find that your sound will be affected as you play. You will also find that when you play fast, you might actually have the bow fly out of your hand. These are the two main reasons you need to hold the bow correctly. But there are more reasons too.

    Holding the violin bow correctly also influences how you bow. Every good violin student is taught to bow straight. But if you are not holding the violin bow correctly, you will not be able to bow straight without huge effort and it will affect your performance.

    There are several ways that you can practice holding the bow correctly on the violin. On Amazon you can buy a bow grip which you attach to your bow to help you grip the bow correctly. Or some of my students have actually used elastic bands to train their middle finger and ring finger to stay together.

    There are many ways that you could practice holding the violin bow correctly, but whatever you do, make sure that you practice it right, and don’t practice holding the violin bow incorrectly. This is a very important part of playing the violin.

    When the tuning pegs keep popping out

    Tuning pegs keeps popping out

    A violin is a great instrument to play. It can be temperamental though. It has a mind of it’s own. When the tuning pegs keeps popping out, it can make one fly through the roof with frustration, especially if you’re trying to practice for a recital, lesson or exam.

    When the tuning pegs keep pooping out, it’s usually easily fixed. The problem originates with the violin itself and the fact that the violin is made out of wood. Because it’s a woodwind instrument, it gets altered by the weather. Just like wood contracts and expands in hot and moist environments, so the violin does too.

    For example, if you leave the violin in a hot car all day, your violin will be very out of tune by the end of the day, and difficult to tune up again. It is because the heat has affected the violin. In the same way, the heat affects the tuning pegs. Sometimes it seems like the tuning pegs are too small for the holes they go through.

    When the tuning pegs keeps popping out, it’s easily remedied. All you need to do is to push them in quite hard. If that does not work, you will have to take them out and rub some rosin on. Once you’ve done that you can put them back in and you will find that they stick. Sometimes more than what is needed.

    The next time your tuning pegs keeps popping out, try this remedy and see if you can make it work.

    Most difficult instrument to play

    Violin is the most difficult instrument to play

    Yes, that’s right. Violin is the most difficult instrument to play. Google and you will find that out for yourself. But why is violin listed as the most difficult instrument to play and master? Surely it can’t be that complicated!

    Well the truth is, it is a difficult instrument to master and play. There are so many aspects of the violin that is just practically impossible to learn in one day or lesson. Some do, but those are people with a lot of talent. For the most people, it takes years to master how to play the violin.

    One of the reasons the violin is the most difficult instrument to play is because holding the violin and the bow incorrectly can alter the sound a big amount and it will no longer sing. Sometimes people can still get away with it but it will never sound as good as it can and professional unless the posture and holding of the violin and bow is correct.

    Another reason is that if the violin is not held correctly, the bow will not go straight and that will also alter the sound. It will also make it very complicated to actually play it, especially later on when more advanced work is done.

    Violin is the most difficult instrument to play because of all the technique that needs to be mastered to make it work. It can take years to master the technique that is needed to be a good violinist.

    Holding the violin correctly is important

    Why holding the violin correctly is important

    Many people start out with the wrong posture and learning how to hold the violin incorrectly. They practice the violin, sometimes for years, and then realize that getting further is going to be complicated. This is why holding the violin correctly is VERY IMPORTANT to playing correctly.

    When you hold the violin the wrong way, not only do you not make a beautiful sound, but you also hamper your progress in the long run. Later on, when you get to more complicated pieces to play you will find one of the following scenarios if you have not held the violin correctly from the start

    • Your sound will be horrible and won’t sing
    • Your bow will be playing skew
    • Your fingers won’t be able to reach the fingerboard properly
    • You won’t be able to play in position correctly
    • You muscles and bones will hurt
    • You won’t be able to play vibrato

    The list goes on. But I cannot stress enough how important it is to hold the violin correctly from the start. This is paramount to any successful violin playing in the future.

    Many students have arrived at my music lessons holding the violin incorrectly. I then need to first teach them the basics again of how to hold the violin correctly before I can move on and proceed to continue teaching them where they left off. This is why holding the violin correctly is such an important part of getting the basics right.