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3 Ways to Check if You are Playing in Tune on the Violin or Viola

Zlata Brouwer

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Published: September 17, 2015 at 7:22 AM [UTC]

You don't want to depend only on what your teacher tells you in the lesson. You must be able to check if you are in tune yourself when practicing.

In this episode of Violin & Viola TV I give you three ways to check if you are playing in tune on the violin or viola:

1) Check your note with open strings

If you are playing a G, D, A or E on the violin or a C, G, D or A on the viola, you can check if the note is in tune by comparing it with an open string.

For example when you play the 3rd finger on the A string, which is a D, you can check it with the open D string.

It doesn't matter in which octave you are playing the note: even in the highest positions, you can always check it. For this it's important to always be aware of the note you are playing.

2) Check yourself with a piano

If you have a piano at hand, hit the note you are playing on the violin on the piano and you can check yourself. If you hold the pedal, you can play the note on the violin while the note of the piano still sounds. This is easier than remembering the note and playing it on the violin after it has sounded on the piano.

3) Use an electronic tuner

Besides that you can use an electronic tuner for tuning your violin, you can also use this device to check if you are playing in tune. If you are lost on the fingerboard, this can come in very handy. Read here more about how this device works and which one I recommend.

Don't wait for your teacher to correct you. Check yourself all the time and correct yourself while practicing.

Checking and adjusting all the time is the way to go to learn to play in tune confidently. You train your muscle memory and your ears.

Now I would like to hear from you! Share in the comments below what's your favorite way to check yourself while practicing. If you don't do this yet, tell me which one of the above three ways you are going to use.


Is this video helpful to you? Please let me know in the comments below! If you like it, share it with your friends!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to and I might dedicate a Violin & Viola TV episode to answering your question!

From Tom Holzman
Posted on September 17, 2015 at 1:15 PM
This should be very useful to string players at all levels, particularly beginners. I use the first technique extensively to determine whether I am in tune. Once I have ascertained that a particular note resonates with a corresponding open string, I can tell if the surrounding notes are in tune. Thanks for posting this.
From Zlata Brouwer
Posted on September 23, 2015 at 8:39 AM
Thanks for your comment, Tom, glad you like it.

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