Violin C Major Scale

One of the most commonly used scales on a violin is the C Major scale. Let’s learn today this scale and arpeggio!

Here you can download a free C Major booklet:

C Major Scales & Arpeggios

C Major Scales, Arpeggios
and a Bonus Exercise


What Are the Notes of the C Major Scale on the Violin?

The notes of the C Major scale are C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. In this scale played in the first position, a low second finger is used on D, A, and E strings, and an extended fourth finger on the E string.

Violin C Major Scale - first position fingering
1st noteTonicC
2nd noteSupertonicD
3rd noteMediantE
4th noteSubdominantF
5th noteDominantG
6th noteSubmediantA
7th noteLeading ToneB
8th noteTonicC

How Do You Play the C Major Scale on the Violin?

The one-octave C Major scale on the violin starts with the third finger on the G string. Next comes the fourth finger (or open D string) followed by notes on the D string: E stopped with the index finger, a low second (F note), a regular third, and again the fourth finger or open A string. Lastly, play on the A string B note with your first finger and C with the low second finger.

violin c major scale - beginner - 1-octave

After playing the scale upwards, try playing it in reverse order.

In this video, I show how to play it:

How do You play a Two-Octave C Major Scale on the Violin?

C Major scale can be played on the violin in the first position with the use of the extended fourth finger or entirely in the third position.

Two-Octave C Major Scale in the First Position

Violin C Major Scale - 2-octave scale in the first position

Start just as the one-octave scale and continue with the third finger on the A string, then stop the E note with the fourth finger or use the open E string. Remember to use on the E string the first and second fingers in the low position, the regular third and fourth fingers, and finish with the C note played with the extended fourth finger – so you have to play two notes with the pinky finger.

Two-Octave C Major Scale in the Third Position

If you’re ready to go higher up the fingerboard, play an entire 2-octave scale in the third position.

Violin C Major Scale - 2-octave scale in the third position

Three-Octave C Major Scale on the Violin

The three-octave C Major scale starts in the second position on the G string. On the A and E strings, you will have to shift to higher positions.

When practicing it, pay special attention to your intonation and smooth shifts without glissando.

violin c major scale - advanced - 3-octaves

How Do You Play C Major Arpeggio on the Violin?

Violin C Major Scale - arpeggios

C Major arpeggio consists of the following notes: C, E, and G. To play the 1-octave arpeggio, start with the third finger on the G string, next stop the E note with your first finger and the G note with the third finger on the D string, and lastly stop the C note with your low second finger on the A string. Continue in descending order by playing G, E, and C.

You can also try out the 2-octave arpeggio, with the use of an extended fourth finger on the E string.

Sheet Music of the C Major Scale and Arpeggio

Download here a booklet with sheet music of C Major scales, arpeggios, and a bonus exercise to practice dynamics:

C Major Scales & Arpeggios

C Major Scales, Arpeggios
and a Bonus Exercise


How to Practice the C Major Scale?

1. Practice with a metronome

Set a metronome to a comfortable tempo and increase the tempo each time you feel you can speed up without decreasing the quality of your intonation.

2. Practice with an accompaniment

If you’re a member of Julia’s Violin Academy, try to get used to playing with an accompaniment by practicing a scale with it!

3. Try different bowings

When you’re comfortable with playing the scale, try to use other bowings, like in this lesson: C Major Scale – 2 Octaves (JVA members only).

6 Well-known Pieces in C Major

Now, let’s listen to some audio & video examples of pieces in the key of C Major.

Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy is most famous for the piece Wedding March from opus 61, which he composed for the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. Here’s an orchestral version but most often you will have a chance to hear it played on a pipe organ in a church at the end of the wedding ceremony.

You can learn my easy arrangement of this piece on your violin, here’s the sheet music:

violin wedding songs - Wedding March - Mendelssohn - Violin Sheet Music

Wedding March by Mendelssohn

Free Violin Sheet Music


Rondo in C for Violin and Orchestra by W. A. Mozart

This piece from 1778 is one of the pieces that Mozart wrote for his friend the Italian virtuoso Antonio Brunetti.

A few years earlier, in 1776, Brunetti took the position in Count Hieronymus von Colloredo’s orchestra when Mozart resigned from it, and soon after, in 1777, Brunetti became the concertmaster.

Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen

A lovely piece written and originally sung by Leonard Cohen. It’s an ideal piece to learn for a beginner! Check out my post with tips on playing it and click the link below to get the sheet music for a small fee.

Hallelujah - Violin Sheet Music Tutorial

Violin Sheet Music

Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen


Violin Concerto in C by L. van Beethoven

Only a part of the original score of this concerto survived to our times, or maybe Beethoven didn’t finish it, so this piece was completed by others. That’s why you may find different versions of this violin concerto.

Fantasy in C Major for Violin and Piano by F. Schubert

Schubert’s Fantasy in C Major was his last piece for violin and piano. In the Andantino part, we can hear variations of his own song “Sei mir gegrüsst” composed a few years earlier.

G. Holst – Jupiter from The Planets Suite

The Planets Suite is a seven-movement piece composed for a large orchestra. Holst’s inspiration came from the astrological significance of the planets and horoscopes.

Mars – the Bringer of War, Venus – the Bringer of Peace, Mercury – the Winged Messenger, Jupiter – the Bringer of Jollity, Saturn – the Bringer of Old Age, Uranus – the Magician, and Neptune – the Mystic, is the complete list of movements. However, you will hear Mars and Jupiter the most often during a performance.


Playing scales is one of the steps to learning music faster. It gives you the opportunity to study the finger placement, focus on the tone, and try out different speeds or bowings – without the complex rhythm and difficult bowing that can appear in a piece.

I hope that this post along with the sheet music will help you advance in your violin playing!

Make sure to download the free booklet with exercises:

C Major Scales & Arpeggios

C Major Scales, Arpeggios
and a Bonus Exercise


Do you want even more resources? You can download a booklet with a set of scales for your level here:

how to get good tone on violin - The 5 Most Commonly Used Violin Scales for Beginners

5 Most Common Violin Scales
for Beginners


The 5 Most Commonly Used Violin Scales for Advanced Players

5 Most Common Violin Scales
for Advanced Player


What is your favorite piece of music in C Major? Let me know in the comments below, I always love hearing from you!

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