High “c” on the fiddle

High “c” on the fiddle

Another fiddle discussion! Recently I learned a tune which goes up to the high “c” on the fiddle. (the notes in that particular part go abc) Originally I was using my pinky on the “b” like normal and then sliding or sometimes (and often unsuccessfully) jumping up to the “c” with the same finger. I showed it to my teacher and she suggested I go into 3rd position by using my second (instead of the usual third) finger on the “a”, then my third (instead of the pinky) finger on the “b” and then the pinky on the high“c”. It seems to work well, but I am curious as to how others may approach the same problem. I imagine not that many tunes go up to the high “c”, or are there loads more that do?

Posted by .

Re: High

If I have to go up that far (it’s not common, as far as I know) I just stretch my pinky. Shifting positions seems waaay to complicated for me. But, I’ve only played for four months. 😛

Posted by .

Re: High

Yes, there are loads that do although you don’t need to play them!!

You can always cheat by rearranging them slightly and playing a different “C” note!!

Seriously, If it’s only the occasional high “C”, I sometimes slide up as you do but it’s best to use the third position. A good book (-for Scottish tunes, but the techniques would work well with Irish tunes also) is The Scottish Folk Fiddle Third Position Book from Taigh na Teud publications

see http://www.abel.net.uk/~martin

John

Re: High

If it’s a C natural (as in a reel or jig in the key of G), shift up slightly and use your fourth finger.

If it’s a C# (for example, in the key of D), what you do depends. My first choice would probably shift to the 5th position (1st finger on the A on your E string, playing the C# with my third finger). It depends on the context of the other notes. For example, if it the next notes were B and A, this would make perfect sense. Or notes a run that could be played in the 5th position shifting over onto the A string.

Thank God most of these tunes are best played in the 1st position! You can get by most of the time without even using your fourth finger, though there are tunes, like Blarney Pilgrim, where, for example, it makes more sense to play a couple of Es on the A string with your fourth finger.

A good exercise is to play a G or D scale in the 1st position using open strings, then playing only the first G open, but what wout otherwise be the open D, A and E with the fourth finger. Once you get this down, start on the D string, playing the G in the third position and all the other notes (or as many as you can!) in the third position.

You don’t often need to get out of 1st position, but if nothing else it’s interesting to explore the more of the fingerboard, and it does help train your ear for proper intonation. Not that it’s easy.

Re: High

It’s up to you. But the more positions you can play, the more versatile you’ll find your playing. While learning, play the way wherein you can get the note in tune and as quickly as you need to, but do work on the other way as well until it’s just as comfortable and accurate as the first way. Working in positions isn’t particularly traditional, but it’s good technique. 🙂

zls

Re: High

Andee and Romkey, the positions (first, second, third, etc.) are determined by the position of your first finger. When your first finger is in its usual, basic place (F# on the E string, for example), that’s first position. When it’s where the second finger goes in first position (G on the E string), that’s second position; when it’s where the third finger goes in first position (A on the E string), that’s third position; first finger on B on the E string is fourth position; then it goes up from there, so first finger on C on the E string is fifth position.

In my experience (classical background), third and fifth are used more commonly than second and fourth, but it really depends on the notes you’re playing. For example, if a figure included C on the A string as well as the high C on the E string, you’d need second position so you could play them both.

Try practicing going back and forth from first position to second or third by repositioning your first finger and using it as a base for the others. That will give you a more solid base than aiming with your fourth finger. And keep at it until it seems natural to land on the note, in tune. You might also try practicing scales in the different positions: C major, for example, going up to the high C. You’ll get there; like everything else, it takes repetition.

Carol

Re: High

Sometimes its the length of your fingers that dictates if you can stretch to the high c. I know a number of fiddle players with fairly long fingers who stay in the first position and simply stretch to the high c with no bother at all. I do not have such long fingers and have to resort to shifting to the third position to reach this note, I have no other option. Playing in the third position is no big deal, just learn to do it.
Good Luck
Mikea.

Posted by .

Re: High

Thanks for all of the info everyone. Yeah, Mikea, third position (at least on the e string) doesn’t seem such a big deal, and for me it is more accurate than sliding or shifting up to that high c since my hands are on the smaller side of medium for a woman.

I realize there aren’t that many different options, just thought it would be interesting to see what others did in the same situation. Thanks again all!

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Re: High

Not just the length of the fingers, either. The width and flexibility of the hand are equally important.
Trevor

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Thanks for the correction, Carol. I must be lexdixic. I was basically talking about playing in the third position -- first finger on the A on the E string, and first finger on the G on the D string. I’m not allowed to use the checkbook, either. Terrible things happen when I try to use numbers!

Re: High C

I had to practice playing in different hand positions when I had violin lessons long ago. I cut other positions than first out completely when I started with ITM but had to le-learn using the third position when I joined this pop-jazz orchestra. The theme from “Hawaii five- o” goes up to the high e (would make a nice jig, by the way). I asked permission to play one octave lower in the middle of the tune. To cheat, I only play beginning and end of the tune high.
For me it works best to change position with my first finger on the A on the E string so I can rest my hand against the body of the violin. That makes it easier to hit the right note quickly. Stretching up to C would rarely sound in tune with me. So I find a spot within the tune where it is comfortable to move up and play a few notes in the third position before I need the high C or D. Strange tune anyway that goes so high up. I think you can still be a decent player if you stick to first position only.

Posted by .

Re: High

The context of the note in question is also important as to the techique you use to get there. If it’s just a fast note, then a quick stretch it the way I like to do it. If it’s a note that is a bit longer or it is played in a context that makes the stretch difficult, then I look a few notes before and after and “map out” my shift around the notes that provide the most fluid shift (open strings, etc.).

Cheers,

PC