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I have always struggled a bit with writing for strings, as a wind player the notation system implies different techniques and sounds sometimes.

 I'm trying to familiarise myself with string fingering and string qualities. Does anybody have any useful charts for positions? Or any tips on how to understand the process of a string player, and how they 'choose' the string for certain pitches?

 Does anybody know what the name of the technique is (if any) when a string player plays arco with the right hand, and pizz. over the fingerboard with the left?

 Any help, suggestions, thoughts or questions much appreciated.

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- changing strings adds to difficulty

- changing positions adds to difficulty

- extensions add to difficulty

So ideally, you want a balance between moving around strings and positions, preferably to reduce the amount of both as much as possible. Sometimes it's better to stretch a bit instead of changing position for a note or two.

Also the string player will sometimes choose to do more position changes if moving around strings would make some notes stand out awkwardly. It's fine tuning, mostly, but professionals do that - each string sounds differently, after all.

Thanks Greg and Jos! Good tips to think about.


This site has a number of demos regarding strings as well as other instruments including video and audio of various techniques.



Thanks Tim, really helpful! Loads of great sections and tips on there... Currently lost in the "bowing" section...

This website is also very interesting and has nice audio and video examples:

If you want to understand fingering you should ask a violinist or read a book about instrumentation. The Adler with the audio examples is very interesting but the most complete is Casella's "The Technique of Contemporary Orchestration".

Actually, when you compose you don't need to think so much about fingering, the violinist know which one to use. It's only useful if you want to know if a very fast tremolo is possible or for multiple stops.

Fredrick zinos said:

and NO you don't need a word of German to get a lot out of this.....

If you don't speak German and want to know what he is saying just click on the Subtitles button below the video.

Thank you! Great links.

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