Written by Antoinette van Spaandonk   
Sunday, 06 February 2005
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First position

The cello has got four strings. When you play open strings you hear the notes A, D, G and C.
When you learn to play the cello you start in first position. Your fingers are near the scroll then. When you play the following notes:

A (open string)      B (index)    C (2nd finger)    C# (3rd finger)    D (pinky)
D (open string)      E (index)    F (2nd finger)    F# (3rd finger)    G (pinky)
G (open string)      A (index)    A# (2nd finger)  B (3rd finger)      C (pinky)
C (open string)      D (index)    D# (2nd finger)  E (3rd finger)      G (pinky)  

Okay, it depends from the signs in your music sheet whether you play these notes of different ones but when you start and there are no signs in the music (b or #) these are the notes you start out with.

Half position

If you stretch your index finger (which is nearest to you in first position) even higher to the scroll you play half position.
Your indexfinger then plays:

A-string                      A# or Bb
D- string                     D# or eb
G-string                      G#/ or Ab
C-string                      C# or Db

You move your other fingers one up too. So in half position your index finger is stretched to the scroll, your second finger is on the spot where your index finger is in first position, your third finger is in the place of the second and your fourth in the place of the third.

Fourth position

Fourth position comes next. It is located near the position where the body and neck of the cello meet. It is relatively easy to find because your dumb rests on the body of your cello.

Second position

When you start out in second position, which I have learned after fourth position, you're starting position is as following. Put your first finger (index) where in first position youre ring finger is. Now you have found second position. Your pink should be on the position where your index finger is when you play fourth position.

Depending on the notes you are playing you have to move (stretch and replace) your fingers. But when you have figured out the starting point it is easy to find the rest. The same goes for fourth and third position.

Third position

And finally (at least for now): third position. It is more difficult to find third position than second position. To get to third position your ring finger is on the position where your first finger (index) is in fourth position.

So it is not so bad to find the positions but it is really difficult to change fluently between positions.

Learning positions in this way makes kind of sense: you start with first, then fourth is the easiest is find and from there you can figure out second and third.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 10 September 2005 )
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