Beginner Violin Tips

Open Strings – How to Read Sheet Music

This is the first of several lessons that pair up what you’re seeing on the page (sheet music) with how to physically play the violin.

If you do not already have some familiarity with reading sheet music, then it may be a good idea to go back to our reading sheet music Introductory Lessons and start with our first sheet music lesson, about Pitch.

What are open strings?

If you play a note without putting any fingers down, that’s playing an open string. It’s simply bowing or plucking a string and letting that note sound without modifying it with your left hand. The violin has four notes that can be played “open,” one for each string (from low to high): G, D, A, and E. Here is what the four open strings look like on the page:

The above notes are, from left to right (also lowest to highest): G, D, A, E.

The corresponding strings on the violin (when holding the violin in play position) are also left to right (thickest to thinnest string): G, D, A, E.

Labeled Violin Strings

As an exercise play each of the strings, switching rhythmically from one to the next, and making a point of having your eyes simultaneously go to the corresponding note in the sheet music. Before long, you’ll automatically associate each of the notes with that string.

What’s Next?

Go to the next lesson, about Violin Fingerings in sheet music.

See a list all our lessons about How to Read Sheet Music for Beginner Violin.

Check out our favorite book/CD combo for How to Read Beginner Violin Sheet Music.


5 Responses to “Open Strings – How to Read Sheet Music”

  1. Taylor Says:

    Since I want to learn to play three instruments, this being one of them, I can say that you’ve helped me learn the basics, like the location of the notes on the strings. Thank you so very much. I will definitely be coming back to look up some more notes.

  2. Emanuel Says:

    This has been excellently displayed and informed I am very appreciated that you posted much gratitude

  3. Anthea Says:

    So helpful to my younger sister. Without me finding this website she’d still be staring at her sheet work! I wish someone told me about this website!
    P.S. I own 99 percent of the credit. 🙂 Thanks!

  4. Angelique Says:

    Highly recommend it for beginners!

  5. della Says:


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