Violin fingerboard notes

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Sara said: Jan 5, 2011
191 posts

Does anyone have a recommendation for making sense of the violin notes?
I’m noticing my students getting confused and not remembering that b and c and e and f are always half steps.


“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Diane said: Jan 6, 2011
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

Well – This is a topic I’ve invested a lot of time and energy on!
The quick answer to remembering b/c & e/f are half steps – Big Cookies & Eat Fudge.
I do familiarize students with a piano keyboard to illustrate this. If you could stretch out the piano keys so the black keys could fit between—that’s what it’s like to play a stringed instrument.

Now for the long answer.
Here’s a list of video tutorials I’ve made on this topic. I show my students this material during a lesson and have them watch the videos for review. There is a free download of the keyboard/fingerboard chart on the blog part of but I’ll include it here as the 4th link. I’ve included revised videos as well—see below.

The Fingerboard Workbook: Map the Violin for Good (and Map the Viola for Good) is a workbook series I’m currently making. I’ve used the 1st position book with my own students for many years. Students drill by interpreting all the musical symbols, placing the notes on the fingerboard, practicing singing for ear training and then play for kinesthetic memory. It’s a comprehensive study of the fingerboard and when the books are done will cover 1st – 11th positions.

The revised first book for violin may be done in 4 – 6 weeks.

Here are updated videos that will be on the future website of The Fingerboard Workbook Series :
Overview of The Fingerboard Workbook Series:
Updated Fingerboard 101 video showing the order of notes, ½ steps and whole steps:
Example of The Fingerboard Workbook Series:

I’ve had such a positive experience teaching this material and have always had great results with students. If you have any other questions I’m happy to help.

Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Sara said: Jan 6, 2011
191 posts

Diane ~ Thank you so much for your fast reply! I looked over your videos and charts and they look very helpful! Thank you!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Diane said: Jan 7, 2011
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

Always happy to shed light on this subject!

Big Smiles!

Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Sarah Coley said: Jan 8, 2011
Sarah Coley
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
34 posts


I will have to take the time to check out your materials on this subject, because they sound fanastic!

I have recently had a lot of success with Barbara Barber’s Fingerboard Geography series. I had the opportunity to attend a workshop with her “promoting” her series last summer, and I was really impressed by her ideas. I came back and immediately started using the concepts (and books) with several of my poor intonation students. What a difference! My students who had the worst intonation due to lagging finger placement are now some of my students with the best intonation in my studio—in just a matter of months. Of course, they saw a difference immediately, and so were motivated to practice. I am not sure if this system would work for a student who is not so motivated to practice.

Connie Sunday said: May 23, 2011
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts


Those holographics are waaaaay coooool.

I have to retract my recent recommendation of Lisa’s affiliation offer. We generated over 1,000 click throughs and at least a half dozen sales from my students, but their company never could get the software to work, and I was never paid for any of this, though I spent a great deal of time, designing links, a page for her, and promoting it. Apparently, I was the only affiliate, so hopefully, no harm done. Sorry about that.


Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:

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