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Michael Baumgardner
Can someone help me with a 3 Octave C Major scale fingering question?  I am looking at Carl Flesch's scale book.  As others (Galamian, Fisher) suggest, he begins in 2nd position with the C (2) on the G string.  He then suggests a shift to E (1) on the A string, which puts you on B (1) on the E string.  He then suggests a shift to D (1) and a final shift to F (1) (finishing with an extended (4) on the high C).  

Here is what I don't understand:  After you get to B (1) on the E string, what is the purpose or need of the shift to D (1) and then a shift to F (1)?  Why not play B (1), C (2), D (3), E (4), and then shift to the F (1), entirely eliminating the shift to E (1)?  Seems like a useless shift.  However, I notice this same fingering is recommended by Galamian, Fisher, and others.  Am I missing something here or misinterpreting the fingerings?  In the image, the upper fingerings are Flesch' fingerings.  Thanks.

Michael Baumgardner
7 Responses
Posted: October 7, 2019
Last Comment: October 8, 2019

Beth Blackerby
Posted: October 8, 2019
You got it, Michael. Shifting after the 4th finger is a dangerous shift. It's just too big to play reliably in tune. Do try it though, so that you can feel it for yourself. I often try other fingerings for the sake of comparison, especially when I'm trying to get into the heads of past editors.

Arthur Mendez
Posted: October 7, 2019
Plz check out Scalesace.com

Michael Baumgardner
Posted: October 7, 2019
Thanks Sonia.  I asked one of my teachers about this today and her response was similar:  ..."It's the standard figuring that every violin student learns" and also said it's probably so standard because the large shift is awkward and ultimately less reliable than the 2 short shifts.  

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: October 7, 2019
Hi Michael,
I canít answer why, but I use the lower fingering. I would echo Gregory though, itís preferable to avoid big awkward leaps in position changes.


Michael Baumgardner
Posted: October 7, 2019
Good thoughts...  I was also wondering if a shift from a fourth finger to a 1st finger a half-step away is just something to be avoided even if it requires an extra shift to avoid...  They are of course a number of fingering possibilities, but it sort of struck me that Flesch, Galamian, and even Fischer have this same "double" shift in their fingerings - that makes me very wary of my single shift and both of your responses have make sense to me.  Thank you.  I'll probably practice both at different tempos and see how that goes...  I've been working on 3 octave scales around the circle of 5ths for awhile (avoiding the bottom of the circle), but somehow neglected C Major till now...

Gregory Gillis
Posted: October 7, 2019
Thatís a large risky shift, a shift from b to f which is a diminished 5th. 

Michael Baumgardner
Posted: October 7, 2019
Correction: In the 2nd paragraph, I should have said "entirely eliminating the shift to D (1)" rather than "E (1)".  Hard to keep this stuff straight!