Violin tabs are a form of musical notation which tells the player where to place their fingers rather than which pitches to play (see how violin tabs work). Violin tabs allow musicians to improvize music while staying within the chord structure of a song. This page provides a listing of violin tabs that are available on the internet. If you would like to contribute violin tabs to this listing, please contact us
Tablature is almost exclusively for fretted stringed instruments, in which context it is usually called tab for short (except for lute tablature). It is frequently used for the guitar, bass, and violin, but in principle it can be used for any fretted instrument. It is commonly used in notating pop music, and is often seen in folk music and the recorder during the Renaissance and Baroque period. Keyboard tablature has also been proposed more recently, e.g. by Béla Bartók, but without success.
How Violin Tabs Work
While standard music shows the rhythm, duration, and pitch of each note, tablature is operationally based, showing where and when a finger should be depressed to generate a note, so pitch is denoted implicitly rather than explicitly. The rhythmic symbols of tablature tell when to start a note, but often there is no indication of when to stop sounding it, so duration is at the discretion of the performer to a greater extent than is the case in conventional musical notation. Fiddle tablature has 4 lines representing the strings. The numbers represent the LEFT HAND FINGERS on the Fiddle, which makes it simple for someone that can not read regular music to play.
In order to use violin tabs, you need to mark the fingerboard with small pieces of tape. These indicate where to place the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers (like frets on a guitar). Jay Buckey suggests placing small white dots of liquid paper on the fingerboard instead of tape.
Marker measurements for markers on a full size violin:
- 1st marker should be 1 7/16 inches from the nut (where the strings start to vibrate at the peg head)
- 2nd marker should be 2 21/32 inches from the nut.
- 3rd marker should be 3 1/4 inches from the nut.
- 4th marker ahould be 4 1/4 inches from the nut.
Origin of Violin Tabs
Lute tablatures were of three main varieties, French, Italian (used also in Spain), and German, detailed below. French tablature gradually came to be the most widely used. Tablatures for other instruments were also used from early times on. Keyboard tablatures flourished in Germany c. 1450 - 1750 and in Spain c. 1550 - 1680. Much of the music for the lute and other historical plucked instruments during the Renaissance and Baroque eras was originally written in tablature, and many modern players of those instruments still prefer this kind of notation, often using facsimiles of the original prints or manuscripts, handwritten copies, modern editions in tablature, or printouts made with specialized computer programs.