Our first position viola fingering chart helps you easily learn viola note locations on your fingerboard and the music staff.
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This beginner viola fingering chart shows the relation between the first position notes on a music staff and the notes on a viola fingerboard using a Fretless Finger Guide™.
Use it to learn viola : The two numbers below each note on the music staff above represent the string the note is found on, and the finger the note is played with, respectively. For example, the first note on the music staff in the chart above is a Yellow C played on the open (O) C (4) string. The next note is an Orange D and below it are the numbers 4|1. The first number (4) is the string the note is on, and the second number (1) is the finger the note is played with.
Play the Orange D note on the fourth (4) string with your first (1) finger. The next note is a Magenta E note and below it are the numbers 4|2. Play the Magenta E note on the fourth (4) string with the second (2) finger. Play the Grey F on the fourth (4) string with the third (3) finger. Follow the chart and play the rest of the notes on each string.
Sharps and Flats
Between the natural notes there are two colored triangles inside a square box like in the example below. The triangles represent the sharps and flats. The "up" pointing triangle is a sharp when you are ascending a scale (going up in tone). The "down" pointing triangle is a flat when you are descending a scale (going down in tone). The color of the triangle corresponds with the color of the related natural note.
In the example above, if you are playing the Blue B on the G (3) string and need to descend one half tone to B flat, move your second (2) finger down the fingerboard to the box that contains the Blue triangle. If you are playing the Red A on the G (3) string and need to ascend one half tone to A sharp, move your first (1) finger up the fingerboard to the box that contains the Red triangle.
Key Signatures: The key signature tells you which notes are sharped or flatted in a scale or song. The C scale below is one of the few scales that contains no sharps or flats and requires no key signature. It is important to understand key signatures for songs and scales. The key signature appears between the alto clef and time signature on a piece of sheet music. They look similar to a pound sound (sharp) or an italicized lower case b (flat). Generally, any note that lies on the same line as a sharp sign is sharped and any note that lies on the same line as a flat sign is flatted. There are exceptions. This is an important concept to grasp. For instance, as a musician playing a composition in E flat major you will need to know which notes on the staff will be flatted.
Using the information from the first position viola fingering chart above, play this C major scale. From left to right, start with the Yellow C on the open fourth (4) string. Next is the Orange D, play it on the fourth (4) string with the one (1) finger. Use the colors, note names and numbers to play the rest of the notes in the scale. If you need help, consult the chart above. Try more color coded viola scales.
Scales are based on a compilation of tones. The common "major" scale consists of eight tones or notes (from the starting root note to the root note one octave higher). The tonal "step" progression for a major scale pattern is:
Whole step, Whole Step, Half Step, Whole step, Whole step, Whole step, Half step.
This is what the major scale step pattern looks like in graphic form.
This tonal progression is the foundation of a major scale. In the above image notice there are eight notes and seven tonal steps in the scale. The seventh "step" brings the scale back to the root/resolve note. The Roman numerals and numbers below each note provide a way to "work out" related scales, notes common to the scale and much more. For example: Each scale progression has three notes that sound better together. These notes are called the primary notes and they are the foundation of music composition. The primary notes can be found in any key/scale at the one (I), four (IV) and five (V) positions in a scale. Using the graphic above you will see that the note in the one (I) position is a C. In the four (IV) position you find an F and in the five (V) position you find a G . Our Fretless Finger Guides™ provide the viola player with a clear way to find chord groupings, scale notes, arpeggios and notes on a music staff right on the viola fingerboard. A comprehensive study of scales is an extremely important factor in a well rounded music education. You will never regret the time spent on memorizing scales and scale patterns.
Fretless Finger Guides™ give you the advantage when learning scales and note positions on a fingerboard. Visit our ordering page to securely order your Fretless Finger Guide™
Start this easy beginner version of Marianne on the second (2) string using your one (1) finger. Reference the first position fingering chart above if needed. With a little practice you will be playing songs quickly and easily. Practice playing our color coded viola scales.
The song above shows how a piece of beginner viola sheet music can be color coded and numbered. Whether you are learning on your own or taking viola lessons, color coding songs is a great way to learn the names and positions of the notes on the staff. You'll need seven colored pens or markers that correspond with the colors on the Fretless Finger Guide®. Using the first position viola fingering chart, and seven matching colored markers, any viola song or viola scale written for first position can be color coded and numbered for use with the Fretless Finger Guide. This exercise will accelerate the learning process for the viola beginner. Start with easy songs and scales, and with practice you'll be able to progress to more challenging viola sheet music.