Viol Lessons

Viol lessons with Alison Crum, Alison Kinder & Sam Stadlen and 10 progressive viol lessons with Jacqui Robertson-Wade

Click on the Viol for lessons. If you are unsure of your level, please click on the levels at the bottom of the page for more information.

1. Beginner / Elementary 2. Lower Intermediate 3. Intermediate 4. Upper Intermediate 5. Advanced

Treble Viol

Treble Viol 

Treble Viol 

Treble Viol

Treble Viol

Tenor Viol

Tenor Viol

Tenor Viol

Tenor Viol

Tenor Viol

Bass viol

Bass viol

Bass viol

Bass viol

Bass viol

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Pardessus de viole
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Viol Player Book 1
Viol Player Book 2
Viols

Click to open more details below.

1. Beginner/Elementary

Equivalent ABRSM grade 1*

Viol Player Book 1 & Book 2, Chap 1, 2, 3. (equivalent Grade 1)

  1. To be able to play on all 6 strings, with a bow parallel to the bridge, especially on the top string
  2. Place fingers on the frets so the pizzicato sound rings
  3. Hold fingers down when string crossing
  4. Hold different fingers down on different strings simultaneously with thumb placed correctly on the back of the viol with the joint bent out
  5. Play with dynamics
  6. Be aware of bow distribution: how much bow to use for each note value
  7. Retake the bow at the beginning of each phrase
  8. Play notes with 1st, 2nd 4th finger; introduce the 3rd finger
  9. Play one octave scale and arpeggio
  10. Always play with a good tone

Example: Extract from Bransle by Gervaise, Viol Player Book 1, demonstrating holding fingers down across two strings, dynamics and bow retakes.

* This is not an official ABRSM grade

 

2. Lower Intermediate

Equivalent ABRSM grade 2-3*

Viol Player Book 2, Chap 4, 5, 6, Book 3 (equivalent Grade 2)

  1. Place 3rd and 4th fingers down together across strings 1, 2, 3, 4
  2. Hold different fingers down across 3 strings
  3. Use Chordal Fingering in 1st position with 2nd and 3rd fingers
  4. Take the bow off the string with the tip of the 3rd finger
  5. Play notes on the D (1st ) using fingers 1,2, 3 and 4
  6. Play close to the bridge on the top string with the bow parallel
  7. Play two octave scale and arpeggio
  8. Play with dynamics using bow speed
  9. Slur quavers in pairs, feeling strong weak
  10. Always play with a good tone

Example: Extract from Fanfare by Chedeville, (adapted), Viol Player Book 2, demonstrating Chordal Fingering in first position.

Book 3 (equivalent grade 3)

  1. Half position
  2. Chordal Fingering in half position with 3rd and 4th fingers
  3. Bow with loose/flexible wrist
  4. Shift from half to first position
  5. Shift using chordal fingering
  6. Shift using contracted fingering
  7. Play with dynamics using bow speed and supporting the hair for playing quietly
  8. Be aware of what part of the bow to use for different notes values. ie bow distribution
  9. Place the bow on the string, near the tip, for a weak beat on a pull bow
  10. Always play with a good tone

Example: My Love gave me a Cherry, Anon, transcribed by Tamsin Lewis, Viol Player Book 3, demonstrating ‘Contraction technique’ (Crab!)

* This is not an official ABRSM grade

 

3. Intermediate

Equivalent ABRSM grade 3-4*

Viol Player Book 4 (equivalent grade 4)

  1. Play with dynamics using the tension of the bow hair to shape notes, i.e messa di voce
  2. Sight read with choral fingering in 1st and half positions
  3. Shift to the top fret with either diatonic fingering for treble or moving the whole hand for tenor and bass viol
  4. Simple double stopping
  5. String crossing over 4 strings
  6. Extensions forward and back
  7. Slurs over 3 notes
  8. Play semiquavers/divisions
  9. Work up and down the bow with a smooth stroke (Z bowing)
  10. Always play with a good tone

Example:  I care not for these Ladies, Playford, Viol Player Book 4, demonstrating chordal fingering, shifting to the top fret and shifting back with contracted fingering.

* This is not an official ABRSM grade

 

4. Upper Intermediate

Equivalent ABRSM grade 4-5*

Book 5 (equivalent grade 5)

  1. Play chords
  2. Simple scales in 3rds
  3. Play off the frets in alto clef for bass viol and treble clef for tenor viol
  4. Shape notes using messa di voce where appropriate; in cantabile (singing) style
  5. String crossing over 5 strings
  6. Shift from a stopped note
  7. Basic ornamentation
  8. Holding fingers down across 5 strings
  9. Dotted rhythms
  10. Always play with a good tone

Example: Allegro, Abel, from the Countess of Pembroke’s Notebook, Viol Player, Book 5, demonstrating double stopping, shifting and string crossing.

* This is not an official ABRSM grade

 

5. Advanced

Equivalent ABRSM grade 6-8*

There is an abundance of music for Advanced players already published or available on line covering the technique listed below.

Technique (equivalent to grade 6-8)

  1. Chords
  2. Scales in 3rds
  3. Shifting and playing in higher positions, off the frets
  4. Shaping notes: the use of messa di voce where appropriate
  5. String crossing over 6 or 7 strings
  6. More complex ornamentation
  7. Shifting with leaps; holding fingers down across 5 strings.
  8. Appropriate use of the bow for different bow techniques, ie shaping notes, string crossing, fast string crossing
  9. Dotted rhythms with leaps
  10. Playing slowly, cantabile, with expression

* This is not an official ABRSM grade