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Minuets with Fingerboard Illustrations by Robert Crome (Violin Tutor)
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The five minuets in this string sampler (the same minuet, arranged in five keys) come from a violin tutor written in 1741 by Robert Crome entitled: The Fiddle New Model’d, or a Useful Introduction for the Violin, Exemplify’d with familiar Dialogues. Crome used his minuets for instructional purposes: to show violin finger patterns in different keys. He also provided finger placement assistance through fingerboard illustrations. Crome explained why he felt the need to write his violin method book:

The Fiddle is a difficult Instrument to learn because there are no fix'd Places to stop the Fingers on; for when a scholar is taught to play in one Key, beginning in another Key alters the situation of the Fingers so much that we in a manner undo all we were doing before. . . I have drawn a Scale for every practical Key, by representing the Finger Board of the Fiddle with strings and placing Spots thereon, to show where the Fingers should be put to stop each Note in tune, and though the scholar can't at first stop with Exactness, he will see where the Fingers should be put. Though I am satisfy'd these Scales will be of great use for stopping in Tune, nevertheless we must depend on the Ear as Umpire.[35]

Crome Fingerboard image
Fig. 1.16 Crome fingerboard and scale (click image to enlarge)

Crome’s tutor, designed for beginning amateur violinists, provided instruction and musical examples, including illustrations of the violin fingerboard showing the appropriate finger placement for specific keys. Crome also included a minuet, transposed in eight keys, to illustrate the appropriate fingering pattern to use for each key. A sample image of Crome’s violin fingerboard illustration is provided in figure 1.15, and his Minuet in the key of C is shown in figure 1.16. It is interesting to note that Crome used this same Minuet as the first piece in his cello tutor, The Compleat Tutor for the Violoncello, Containing the Best & Easiest Instructions for Learners.[36] Although some minuets have three parts (ternary form: A-B-A ), Crome's minuet has two parts (binary form: AB). It is also in triple meter (meter refers to the grouping of beats: 1-2-3;1-2-3;1-2-3;).

Fig. 1.17 Crome Minuet, key of C

TECHNIQUE TIPS: Use Crome’s illustration of the fingerboard and the photo provided in the viola sheet music of a violist’s hand to determine where to place your fingers for each finger pattern. The five finger patterns used in the featured Minuets are the standard finger patterns you’ll need to play most music in any key.