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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Key of C


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doryman - Posted - 05/22/2020:  12:02:08


I'm just learning the devil's box now and I'm greatly enjoying it. I come from a bluegrass banjo background and, for the most part we play songs in the key of G, C, D and A, probably in that order. On the fiddle, G, D and A are going great for me. It's very intuitive and they are basically the same, just one string over. C however...oh the C.

Would anybody mind if I just bought myself a second fiddle and tuned it down a whole note and just played C that way? I'm an old man and I only have so much time to learn new stuff. Later, will talk about my idea for playing in E.

Brian Wood - Posted - 05/22/2020:  12:12:16


quote:

Originally posted by doryman

I'm just learning the devil's box now and I'm greatly enjoying it. I come from a bluegrass banjo background and, for the most part we play songs in the key of G, C, D and A, probably in that order. On the fiddle, G, D and A are going great for me. It's very intuitive and they are basically the same, just one string over. C however...oh the C.



Would anybody mind if I just bought myself a second fiddle and tuned it down a whole note and just played C that way? I'm an old man and I only have so much time to learn new stuff. Later, will talk about my idea for playing in E.






The key of C can be its own pleasure. It's not harder than other keys. I enjoy many C tunes partly for the fact they're in C. The key of C readily lends itself to playing in 2nd position which gives you a bigger range. So I say being an old man isn't a good reason to avoid it. Enjoy the challenge and it will soon become easier. (Same goes for E).

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 05/22/2020:  12:29:45


To me, C on the fiddle feels like playing in the cracks, so to speak...I just can't get it. I've been playing the fiddle for I think something like 11 or 12 years steady, now...and, that's nowhere near expert level, but it should be long enough that if I EVER feel good or capable in C, I should've by now. Therefore, my opinion is whenever I do need to play in C on the fiddle...it gets tuned down a step, or else I might use the Cumberland Gap tuning, ADAD, tuned down one whole step for very easy C licks. Ain't no other way I'm ever gonna be happy with C. Another thing a person who can't seem to ever get comfortable with C could do would be to buy a cheapie Chinese viola...I bought one, a Cecilio brand...cheap and seems pretty good to me. Viola is tuned CGDA for standard tuning...so if you wanna play in C, the fingering is exactly like playing in G on the fiddle...but it's a little bit low and growly...which is good to me, and you can do whatever double stops or whatever you'd do in G on the fiddle and come out ok.

Of course the only thing is if you tried to play Back up and Push, or some other traditional C tune that need the configuration of open strings to do...like with BUAP you need to do the Hokum Bowing shuffles...you wouldn't have those strings available to you for that by either tuning the fiddle differently or playing like you were in G on the viola. That doesn't bother me personally, since I never play Back up and Push or any of those things...Billy in the Lowground might be another one...I think maybe that might work out in another tuning though...not sure, I haven't really thought to try...might try it one of these days and see. Still, my point...I avoid C. It's just not doable for me.

DougD - Posted - 05/22/2020:  12:44:23


Peggy, your fear of C surprises me, since you play guitàr. Its really very similar, except the g and b strings from the guitar are "combined" in the A string on the violin (a very sensible idea, IMHO). So you have to grab the g note on the D string, and make adjustments for a,b,c and d.
Also the low string is G instead of A, which means the c note is fingered a little higher. Its nice to have that open G note though.

Swing - Posted - 05/22/2020:  14:13:05


I would suggest a simple start..one of the problems for many fiddlers is hearing a key or the intervals.... so, if you can play in G and start that on the D string, then move everything down one string and start on the G string... once you have that indoor ears, start on the G note on the D string, that will get you up to the E string.... practice both those scales and you will be surprised how quickly the C sound comes... I personally like playing in C... we used to hold a weekly session and there was this woman who would come most every week.... so I had just played and lead a tune in C.... it was her turn in the rotation.... she says very loudly, I don't like the key of C, then she proceeds to play a waltz in C.....

Play Happy

Swing

carlb - Posted - 05/22/2020:  14:14:29


C is a wonderful key with lots of good tunes, and for me, some good songs.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 05/22/2020:  14:29:10


I'm now reasonably comfortable playing in C but I still have to agree with Peggy that it is inherently physically difficult to play the fiddle in that key.

First off, there is no open string to keep your ear tuned to.

Second, OT fiddling is traditionally a First Position discipline, which means you have to either move your left hand northward or have a preternaturally stretchy left pinkie to comfortably hit the C on the E string. In my opinion, this is the reason that C tunes are kind of sparse in the OT repertoire as compared to G tunes, D tunes and A tunes.

I will continue with my rant. As implied above, the C scale just doesn't naturally fall under the fingers like the G, D and, to a slightly lesser extent, the A tunes do (which is why so many A tunes involve a re-tuning into Cross). It is just hard for my middle finger to accurately hit the C on the A string. It takes decided backward stretch. If you ever might want to hit the F on the E string, you gotta stretch your index finger slightly backwards, as well.

In any case, I've come to paranoically believe that the insistence on C tunes comes from the cruel minds of piano players. After all, is there any easier key for the piano than C? It's all white notes!

coryobert - Posted - 05/22/2020:  16:13:26


Besides the mental challenge (for me) of playing in C, It's also harder physically (for me). I can really feel it in my hand afterwords. No open strings. There's nothing wrong at all with keeping another fiddle tuned to cajun tuning...FCGD. That's how they play all those C accordion tunes.


Edited by - coryobert on 05/22/2020 16:17:48

frank rehagen - Posted - 05/22/2020:  16:28:38


I play a couple of waltzes in c and I agree that it’s harder to play in but it really makes the fiddle sound great. Nice and deep

Beardog - Posted - 05/22/2020:  16:56:17


I came to the fiddle from bluegrass banjo, too. Welcome to the wild and fretless side!

A good place to start is "Billy in the Low Ground". Play the A section in 1st position. Learn the B section in first position, then shift the B section up to second position. At least that's how I started to learn the key of C on my fiddle. You just have to jump out of the comfort zone of 1st position to do much in the key of C. I agree with others. It isn't inherently easy on the fiddle. I am currently working on Kenny Baker's version of Ashland Breakdown. It is really a tough one, at least for me. It sounded deceptively simple...It isn't! You might try "Stone's Rag", too. It is fairly easy, and is in the key of C. I think it also goes by another name that has something to do with Texas, but I can't recall it at this moment.

ChickenMan - Posted - 05/22/2020:  17:34:14


Open strings in key of C = ALL OF THEM.



C is great. If you are playing bluegrass, slide your ring finger up to E note on A string. You "tune" it with the open E. Then smash the A and E strings down where the C and G notes are. Now you are playing in a closed position, which is great for BG. The F note on the E string is played with the open A to get it in tune. E note on the D string tunes up with the G string OR you play the E and C note together.



Plenty of open strings to "work with" if that is your concern. 


Edited by - ChickenMan on 05/22/2020 17:35:02

LukeF - Posted - 05/22/2020:  18:33:01


How about getting a 5-string violin? The low string is C.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 05/22/2020:  19:00:28


It's probably easier with a 5 string, my guess would be. On guitar I love the key of C, if I'm fingerpicking, which is what I mainly do. I can play just about anything I can think to try to play on guitar by fingerpicking in C...but if I'm playing in another key...I often will capo to where I can backup my playing with (what I consider cool) licks from C...because I love C so much for fingerpicking on guitar.

But on the fiddle...no. I don't like C. So I often capo up to D to play in the C shape on guitar and allow myself to also play along on my multi track recordings using the fiddle, or else, the other way around, play in C and tune the fiddle down. I don't like C on the fiddle.

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 05/22/2020:  19:28:53


Play in one pattern on G/D strings, then if you need to play up an octave, shift up to 2nd position (which is just a half step) on A/E strings. You can stay there the rest of the break if you want. Play the whole thing in 2nd position if you want. C is a piece of cake, just like B, which is C minus 1/2.

Beardog - Posted - 05/22/2020:  19:35:17


Yes, C major is "easier" on a 5-string fiddle. Just shut your eyes and play as if you are in G, D, or A, but "starting" on the lowest string (C). The only problem is learning to use your bow and your left hand fingers just a little bit differently on a 5-string fiddle.....

doryman - Posted - 05/22/2020:  20:54:16


quote:

Originally posted by Beardog

I came to the fiddle from bluegrass banjo, too. Welcome to the wild and fretless side!



 






Like me, did you come the fiddle because you observed that the fiddle players were getting all girls, only to then realize, after all that fiddle practice, that it was you all along that was the problem and not the instrument?  What, just me? 

boxbow - Posted - 05/22/2020:  20:54:33


I can learn some C tunes and play them but improvising in C is very hard.

doryman - Posted - 05/22/2020:  20:55:18


quote:

Originally posted by LukeF

How about getting a 5-string violin? The low string is C.






That thought has crossed my mind.  In this time of corona, it's difficult to get my hands on one to try. 

doryman - Posted - 05/22/2020:  20:56:54


Hey, thanks for the great discussion. This has been very helpful and also good to know that I'm not the only one with C problems. I haven't explored the 2nd position at all yet, but maybe I have reason to try it now.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 05/23/2020:  00:34:29


quote:

Originally posted by doryman

C however...oh the C.



Would anybody mind if I just bought myself a second fiddle and tuned it down a whole note and just played C that way? I'm an old man and I only have so much time to learn new stuff. Later, will talk about my idea for playing in E.






I can't speak for if "anybody" would mind. It depends on who and the context. If playing for yourself, nobody minds what you do... it's your fiddle.



That said, for many folks it's more than just playing a sequence of notes... there's often quality to the tune that comes with the key layout, fingering, bowing, slurs, string crossing, unisons, drones; to which gives each a certain feel. For fiddle tunes especially; many are really designed to take advantage of uniqueness each key.



I've never found C tunes necessarily harder, some C tunes seem be more difficult to play with D layout. I do often tune down to play with a C diatonic accordion... not because it's easier to play, not a problem for me to play in C (or G as pull) -  but those tunes have better feel fingered/bowed as D layout (or A tunes as pull).



 

quote:

Originally posted by LukeF

How about getting a 5-string violin? The low string is C.







5 string doesn't really make playing easier... just allows to play lower like a viola. It might be same name notes, won't be the same sound quality; and some tunes won't work as melody goes down to low A or G. 



 

alaskafiddler - Posted - 05/23/2020:  01:20:45


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

I'm now reasonably comfortable playing in C but I still have to agree with Peggy that it is inherently physically difficult to play the fiddle in that key.



First off, there is no open string to keep your ear tuned to.



Second, OT fiddling is traditionally a First Position discipline, which means you have to either move your left hand northward or have a preternaturally stretchy left pinkie to comfortably hit the C on the E string. In my opinion, this is the reason that C tunes are kind of sparse in the OT repertoire as compared to G tunes, D tunes and A tunes.



I will continue with my rant. As implied above, the C scale just doesn't naturally fall under the fingers like the G, D and, to a slightly lesser extent, the A tunes do (which is why so many A tunes involve a re-tuning into Cross). It is just hard for my middle finger to accurately hit the C on the A string. It takes decided backward stretch. If you ever might want to hit the F on the E string, you gotta stretch your index finger slightly backwards, as well.



In any case, I've come to paranoically believe that the insistence on C tunes comes from the cruel minds of piano players. After all, is there any easier key for the piano than C? It's all white notes!






I don't understand the inherently physically difficult? Perhaps due to very poor hand position??



Most OT fiddling in C plays naturally well in first position, using the open fingering, (not closed) uses open strings, so give a guide to intonation.  Does not require moving the hand nor have any more stretch to them; notes are right under the first 3 fingers, for normal range of finger size.



have a preternaturally stretchy left pinkie to comfortably hit the C on the E string



That is really not a note in first position, rather shift up. It's not that common for C tunes to have to go up to that high octave note. Note that if the melody requires that high octave note, playing in D, or tuning down a step makes more higher up the neck.



middle finger to accurately hit the C on the A string. It takes decided backward stretch.



It's the same as the middle finger hitting the G note on an E string.



 



After all, is there any easier key for the piano than C? It's all white notes!



IMO, it's a similar concept on piano... the key changes and affects the fingering, crossing and fluidity. I don't think C is the easiest key... the piano players I play with, don't seem to prefer it, and I find myself, the black notes can make some fingerings easier. I notice hardly ever hear some styles of piano much played in C (sparse repertoire).

pete_fiddle - Posted - 05/23/2020:  04:27:58


i start with an octave of E Phrygian on the D an A strings ,because its in the middle of the fingerboard giving me the option to shift up down or to one side or another. Then i use the other 6 mode patterns that surround it for the rest of the positions/shifts.



The single octave mode patterns can of course be extended through 2 or even 3 octaves, or i can shift to another Mode pattern by shifting up or down a 2nd 3rd 4th ...etc



There are only 7 single octave mode patterns on adjacent strings to learn for all the Major keys and their relative (natural) minors. And they contain all of the diatonic Double stops, arpeggios, and pentatonic  scales as well.

Beardog - Posted - 05/23/2020:  08:39:39


quote:

Originally posted by doryman

quote:

Originally posted by Beardog

I came to the fiddle from bluegrass banjo, too. Welcome to the wild and fretless side!



 






Like me, did you come the fiddle because you observed that the fiddle players were getting all girls, only to then realize, after all that fiddle practice, that it was you all along that was the problem and not the instrument?  What, just me? 






Yes, that was my experience, as well. But on a positive note, the banjo player jokes about drooling and teeth were no longer directed at me!

Brian Wood - Posted - 05/23/2020:  10:55:03


It occurs to me that if you' don't want to play the key of C then you also have trouble with Am, and playing blue notes in A. That's a lot of fiddling to miss out on. I don't understand why anybody wouldn't spend a little time to get it. It's just like G only over one.

doryman - Posted - 05/23/2020:  11:04:03


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

It occurs to me that if you' don't want to play the key of C then you also have trouble with Am, and playing blue notes in A. That's a lot of fiddling to miss out on. I don't understand why anybody wouldn't spend a little time to get it. It's just like G only over one.






I'm very new at this.  I have trouble with everything.   I'm quite a bit a ways from worrying about playing blue notes in A. 



 

Brian Wood - Posted - 05/23/2020:  11:40:32


quote:

Originally posted by doryman

 



I'm very new at this.  I have trouble with everything.   I'm quite a bit a ways from worrying about playing blue notes in A.






I hear you. I suggest you don't get scared off of learning to play in C though. It is the same as G shifted over. Not any harder if you practice it a little from the beginning, in my humble opinion.

RinconMtnErnie - Posted - 05/23/2020:  14:58:03


I like to play in C and do not consider it to be particularly difficult. I would not tune down to a Cajun tuning unless I planned to play with a C instrument like a C bombarde or C accordion.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 05/23/2020:  15:05:12


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

It occurs to me that if you' don't want to play the key of C then you also have trouble with Am, and playing blue notes in A. That's a lot of fiddling to miss out on. I don't understand why anybody wouldn't spend a little time to get it. It's just like G only over one.






True, C's relative minor is A Minor, and blues in A essentially does use the A minor scale, but when bow is actually put to fiddle the two scales just don't feel the same under the fingers.  When I do an A blues solo on the fiddle, I'll usually start on the G string and slide my index finger up to the A, giving it plenty of slow, wide vibrato.  The C, the all-important minor 3rd, is another slide on the G string, this by the ring finger.  When I'm up on the second octave, I slide my middle finger on the A string to the C.  In other words, I almost never hit C notes straight on when playing blues.  When you're playing a genuine old time C tune, on the other hand, if you don't hit that C note straight on and accurately it sounds sour and wrong.  After all, it's the tonic.  The Do.



In any event, yes, as I've continued to play the fiddle I now hit C's pretty accurately whenever I want, but the fact remains, if I were a rank beginner I'd be much happier if the first tunes I tried to tackle were in the ones where I could just saw away at an open string for a while.

Brian Wood - Posted - 05/23/2020:  15:31:24


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

...In any event, yes, as I've continued to play the fiddle I now hit C's pretty accurately whenever I want, but the fact remains, if I were a rank beginner I'd be much happier if the first tunes I tried to tackle were in the ones where I could just saw away at an open string for a while.






Okay, but there are a lot of open strings in C, all of them as was pointed out. I don't understand why hitting a C on the A string is harder than hitting a G on the E string either. But I'm not trying to be argumentative at all. If people are having trouble with the key of C  I just think it's worth putting some C tunes in your practice to get used to it. I can understand more difficulty on flat keys. But C, G, D, A, and E are important fiddle keys. (I know some people don't like E either, and I can understand that a little better).

doryman - Posted - 05/23/2020:  15:47:03


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

quote:

Originally posted by doryman

 



I'm very new at this.  I have trouble with everything.   I'm quite a bit a ways from worrying about playing blue notes in A.






I hear you. I suggest you don't get scared off of learning to play in C though. It is the same as G shifted over. Not any harder if you practice it a little from the beginning, in my humble opinion.






Thanks...I am trying, but when I jam with others (when we used to be able to do that), I'm typically reduced to just playing double stop shuffles with the C, F and G chords and it's hard for me to improvise anything.  I'll keep working at it.  I sing in C a lot, so additional incentive when it's my turn to call a song. 



 

Pianofiddler - Posted - 05/23/2020:  17:25:33


The Key of C was the first key I learned to play in, but that's because I started off playing the piano :). And, the key of C is pretty easy to learn on that instrument since the scale has only the white keys in it.

My father taught me to play the piano. I remember sitting on his knee while he taught me dozens of tunes, but they were all in the Key of C. I didn't know any different, I was about three years old and thought my dad was the best player in the world. The reason he taught me everything in the Key of C was because that's all he knew how to do. He was a guitar and bass guitar player. All the same, I'm super grateful that he instilled in me the love for playing tunes.

One of my favorite fiddle tunes in the Key of C is an old sottish tune called "The Haggis".


alaskafiddler - Posted - 05/23/2020:  23:25:50


On the piano, I always thought  F# was the easiest key to start to make music in... as just black keys give very tuneful pentatonic scale... almost can't sound bad.

Peghead - Posted - 05/24/2020:  07:55:37


C can be tricky to intonate. Fiddlers will intuitively adjust the fingering of 3rds up or down however, in the upper octave of C the 3rd is the open E string and is fixed. There are many differences on where people hear their 3rds. Lots of Bluegrass players just avoid the issue and play 5ths instead. Depending on how you tune your open E the C/E chord can be funky. It's good to tune your E string carefully before you start a C  or A minor tune. Be prepared to argue with the guitar player. In the low octave the C lands on the ring finger on the G string which can be a stretch and clearing the D string to play the E with the 1st finger can be uncomfortable for some if your elbow doesn't rotate. All of it can make C a challenge but there's lot's of good material there, turn of the century rags and old southern string band tunes.


Edited by - Peghead on 05/24/2020 08:11:28

Jimbeaux - Posted - 05/24/2020:  20:29:41


quote:

Originally posted by Peghead

C can be tricky to intonate. Fiddlers will intuitively adjust the fingering of 3rds up or down however, in the upper octave of C the 3rd is the open E string and is fixed. 






That's a great point. I always thought of some C tunes as having a similar ring to them as calico tunes because of that open E/major 3rd, but I never thought of that as a potential intonation or tuning issue. 



Thanks for this idea.

soppinthegravy - Posted - 05/25/2020:  11:15:29


Speaking of C tunes, here's four brothers taking turns playing the same tune in C, "Sleepy Lou". youtube.com/watch?v=7b9KffUBrSI It seems that C tunes were fairly popular in Tennessee at one time.


Edited by - soppinthegravy on 05/25/2020 11:15:52

Brian Wood - Posted - 05/25/2020:  11:51:38


quote:

Originally posted by Jimbeaux...but I never thought of that as a potential intonation or tuning issue. 




In my opinion it wouldn't be if fiddlers would just stop tuning to perfect 5ths. (I know that's attacking a sacred cow).


Edited by - Brian Wood on 05/25/2020 11:52:42

soppinthegravy - Posted - 05/25/2020:  17:59:40


Interesting. What is your alternative?


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

quote:

Originally posted by Jimbeaux...but I never thought of that as a potential intonation or tuning issue. 




In my opinion it wouldn't be if fiddlers would just stop tuning to perfect 5ths. (I know that's attacking a sacred cow).






 

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 05/25/2020:  18:57:23


quote:

Originally posted by soppinthegravy

Interesting. What is your alternative?


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

quote:

Originally posted by Jimbeaux...but I never thought of that as a potential intonation or tuning issue. 




In my opinion it wouldn't be if fiddlers would just stop tuning to perfect 5ths. (I know that's attacking a sacred cow).






 






Maybe in 4ths?  Then it would look like guitar or bass fiddle.  And, when going from key of G to C, it would be moving a string right instead of left.  And come-home licks would go up instead of down.laugh

Brian Wood - Posted - 05/25/2020:  19:55:14


It would be equal temperament. Tune to a piano, or an electronic tuner. I’m just sayin’. This opens a can of worms I’m not especially willing to get into again. There are old threads to look up for anyone interested. There is no acceptable answer for everybody, it’s a matter of opinion. But that’s mine.

Hector - Posted - 05/26/2020:  08:34:10


I raised the issue of the out-of-tune open E in another thread about the key of G where it's the major sixth above the tonic. In the key of C the E is the major third and can sound a bit sharp but then so can the open A which becomes the sixth. So those ears and fingers have got more work to do to make things sound sweet. Would it be better to play C as a closed position?

The Body Electric - Posted - 05/26/2020:  15:24:10


You guys are going to flip when I tell you about F# if you think C is bad.

The Body Electric - Posted - 05/26/2020:  15:31:11


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

quote:

Originally posted by Jimbeaux...but I never thought of that as a potential intonation or tuning issue. 




In my opinion it wouldn't be if fiddlers would just stop tuning to perfect 5ths. (I know that's attacking a sacred cow).






Just switched to ET in the last year or so. Fiddle is a tiny bit less resonant. I don't care. Everything is in tune when I play with other ET instruments. All keys are in equally in tune (or equally out of tune, as somebody will invariably say). I'm so used to hearing ET anyway that when I tune to the other strings it's already in ET. I don't listen for the beats, I listen for pitch. 



 



But hey, if you want to be a very noticable 6 cents out across a 4 string fiddle, keep tuning to those beatless fifths. 


Edited by - The Body Electric on 05/26/2020 15:31:55

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 05/26/2020:  17:54:47


Thanks to the fact the inventor of the fiddle forgot to include frets, all you need do to be in perfect tune is to move one of your stopping/fretting fingers a fraction of an inch one way or the other.

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 05/26/2020:  18:12:30


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

Thanks to the fact the inventor of the fiddle forgot to include frets, all you need do to be in perfect tune is to move one of your stopping/fretting fingers a fraction of an inch one way or the other.






And the folk, as in folk music what we're discussing here, usually have big ol' fat fingers from manual labor, farming or beating a bull back from running over you with a fist.  If people want perfect intonation they need to find a slender-fingered violinist.  So, when a farmer finger width equals more than a half step, you slide and stop.



C is no different than any other key.  Learn the patterns (which are the same as any other key when tuned in 5ths), commit the 'fret' hand muscle memory, and all is well. 

alaskafiddler - Posted - 05/27/2020:  06:11:57


quote:

Originally posted by Peghead

C can be tricky to intonate. Fiddlers will intuitively adjust the fingering of 3rds up or down however, in the upper octave of C the 3rd is the open E string and is fixed. There are many differences on where people hear their 3rds. Lots of Bluegrass players just avoid the issue and play 5ths instead. Depending on how you tune your open E the C/E chord can be funky. It's good to tune your E string carefully before you start a C  or A minor tune. Be prepared to argue with the guitar player. In the low octave the C lands on the ring finger on the G string which can be a stretch and clearing the D string to play the E with the 1st finger can be uncomfortable for some if your elbow doesn't rotate. All of it can make C a challenge but there's lot's of good material there, turn of the century rags and old southern string band tunes.






You might want re-evaluate how you are approaching playing.  Fingering the C note is the same note as in the key of G. Not any more difficult to intonate.



If folks find playing in C difficult... unlikely it has anything to do with 2 cent difference tuning perfect fifths vs ET.



Unlikely the issue is actually great sense of intonation or just intonation. For playing with others, the main JI issues are essentially same as any other key. Tuning can easily be adjusted for JI key of C.  I doubt that will solve the folks difficulty playing in C. 

Hector - Posted - 05/27/2020:  06:30:13


quote:

Originally posted by Benski

Just switched to ET in the last year or so. Fiddle is a tiny bit less resonant. I don't care. Everything is in tune when I play with other ET instruments. All keys are in equally in tune (or equally out of tune, as somebody will invariably say). I'm so used to hearing ET anyway that when I tune to the other strings it's already in ET. I don't listen for the beats, I listen for pitch. 



 



But hey, if you want to be a very noticable 6 cents out across a 4 string fiddle, keep tuning to those beatless fifths. 






That's a very good point. There's a lot more to music than absolutely perfect intonation all the time. I only wish I was good enough to play a fast tune at the right speed where very few people can notice the difference  between ET and "just" intonation anyway. 



But for the record, the ET major 6th is 16 cents out of tune and the major 3rd is 14 cents out which is a noticeable difference in a slow air or a waltz. Now I'm sure a good player can make a slow tune in ET sound just fine but I think they would sound even better with just intonation.

The Body Electric - Posted - 05/27/2020:  06:44:07


I was talking about the open strings, low G to high E. 6 cents apart, let alone all the trouble that playing against those out of tune perfectly tuned strings causes.

You're bringing up a point which intuitively sounds right,
but it isn't. Your open strings are little islands of pitch that you reference all your other notes off of. I don't think it's possible to play in ET, but you should tune in it.

I'm not going to go into this in detail, but when you hit your open G on one of those beautiful waltzes, it is going to be sour as hell if tuned in beatless perfect fifths. If you play a perfectly blended B against your open D it's going to be shockingly low if you move your bow to open E. It's science. You're shooting yourself in the foot by playing against those notes against, again, out of tune perfectly tuned strings.

I do not enjoy talking about this, and I'm embarrassed at all the time I've wasted and bad information I've given people telling them that they can't tune all the strings to an electronic ET tuner. You can and you should, if you play with guitars and pianos.

Like I said, I'm not saying you should *play* in ET, I'm saying you need those open strings to be little islands of pitch sanity in this markerless craziness that is a violin fingerboard.

Oh, one more thing: Daphne, the fantastic jazz tune by Stéphane Grappelli, came about from checking harmonics against each other. Tuning with harmonics leads to ET tuned strings, so I'm obviously not the first. :)

The Body Electric - Posted - 05/27/2020:  08:02:54


quote:

Originally posted by Flat_the_3rd_n7th

quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

Thanks to the fact the inventor of the fiddle forgot to include frets, all you need do to be in perfect tune is to move one of your stopping/fretting fingers a fraction of an inch one way or the other.






And the folk, as in folk music what we're discussing here, usually have big ol' fat fingers from manual labor, farming or beating a bull back from running over you with a fist.  If people want perfect intonation they need to find a slender-fingered violinist.  So, when a farmer finger width equals more than a half step, you slide and stop.



C is no different than any other key.  Learn the patterns (which are the same as any other key when tuned in 5ths), commit the 'fret' hand muscle memory, and all is well. 






Someone needs to tell Itzhak Perlman that he can't play in tune cause his fingers are too big. Gonna ruin his career but it needs to be done. 



 



Finger size has nothing to do with being able to play in tune. 

Brian Wood - Posted - 05/27/2020:  08:38:44


quote:

Originally posted by Benski

Tuning with harmonics leads to ET tuned strings, so I'm obviously not the first. :)






That's not what you meant, is it?

The Body Electric - Posted - 05/27/2020:  09:22:43


Nope. I was wrong. Hurts me to say it, but there it is.

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