FOR THE CURIOUS CELLIST

Pattern Fingerings On The Cello

This page is a sub-article of the Cello Fingerings page. Here we are looking at fingerings which, by repeating constantly the same pattern, make it easier for our brain.

One of the most common examples of pattern fingerings occurs when we use the same finger sequence for passages that repeat themselves identically while moving through different keys. In these modulations, it may be easier to always use the same fingering. Even if sometimes our repeated fingering pattern may not be the easiest fingering for the body, or may not be the most “musical” fingering, the idea behind our choice of these fingerings is that this is compensated for by the increased ease for the brain (for example: “just do the same but each time up a semitone”). This can avoid both reading and aural problems (pitching the different intervals) in very chromatic passages and also often avoids a lot of complex shifting.

verdi traviata pattern

Pattern fingerings are especially useful in:

  • thumbposition, because the use of the thumb allows us to transpose passages all over the fingerboard with the same fingering
  • orchestral playing, because they makes the reading and fingering process so much easier, especially in passages that are notated in strange keys or with many accidentals
  • chromatic scales

The following link opens up a page of repertoire examples of these fingerings:

Pattern Fingerings: REPERTOIRE EXCERPTS