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Fingering Techniques Adopted by Indian Violinists

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There are a number of ways Indian violinists stand apart from their western counterparts, but perhaps the biggest distinguishing feature between violinists emerging from these two varying traditions is the fingering technique. This difference in fingering techniques enables Indian violinists to produce completely different tunes from their western counterparts, Balasvamy Dikisitar was arguably one of the first Indian violinists to gain recognition all over the world. While peoples ears were captivated by the beautiful sound of his music, what caught the eye was his unique fingering technique.

The differing fingering technique is quite simply the result of a different sitting position adopted by Indian violinists. As a matter of fact, since Indian violinists sit cross-legged while playing their instrument, they have more flexibility as to how they hold their violin. Most traditional violinists from India place their instruments between their chest and the right angle. Now the instrument no longer requires one hand for the purposes of support.

The Indian violinists hence enjoy much greater flexibility as to where they can place their left hand. Without having the worry of supporting the violin while playing it, they can take advantage of much greater reach. The four-finger style that most classical Western violinists preferred to use was never adopted by Indian violinists. As a matter of fact, most contemporary Western violinists prefer using one or two fingers on the string, which actually reduces the quality of music produced quite drastically.

Indian violinists have stuck to using four fingers due to the fact that their left hand is free from the responsibility of supporting their violin. This fingering technique is different because the entire hand, including the thumb, move in the same direction as the finger, rather than stay stagnant. After each finger movement, the thumb must return to its original position. This motion, along with the movement of the wrist, is what is ultimately responsible for the difference in the kind of music produced by western and Indian violinists.