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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Tape


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/53925

sbhikes2 - Posted - 08/15/2020:  15:50:53


My violin teacher is going to put tape on my fiddle. I'm so ashamed. But also hey, I get to cheat for a while. I wonder why more aspiring fiddlers don't put tape on the fingerboard.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 08/15/2020:  17:11:27


Let the teach do it. For one thing, it'll get your ears better nailed in as to where the pitches actually are (or at least where the teacher says they are). It'll also loosen your left hand, enabling the fingers to hit the pitches more easily. In any case, tell us how it goes.

Brian Wood - Posted - 08/15/2020:  19:10:59


quote:

Originally posted by sbhikes2

My violin teacher is going to put tape on my fiddle. I'm so ashamed. But also hey, I get to cheat for a while. I wonder why more aspiring fiddlers don't put tape on the fingerboard.






That seems like going backward. You've been playing for quite awhile without tape, right?

alaskafiddler - Posted - 08/15/2020:  22:27:49


quote:

Originally posted by sbhikes2

 I wonder why more aspiring fiddlers don't put tape on the fingerboard.






Because it doesn't really work, achieve the touted claims (esp regarding intonation). Many view tape as it is essentially unnecessary, if not inefficient or counter productive; and logically backwards. 


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 08/15/2020 22:38:23

old cowboy - Posted - 08/16/2020:  03:46:46


Hey! If it helps you to be more relaxed, do it! I took mine off a couple months ago. Been at this for 2 yrs now. Put it back on last week just seems to make things easier. This thing is hard enough why make it more difficult?

Peghead - Posted - 08/16/2020:  03:49:38


Hello, my name is Greg and I had tape on my fiddle too. Ultimately we all know it comes down to ear training but I personally don't see anything wrong with having a visual cue ( the tape is tactile actually) to get the fingers in the ballpark. Eventually ears take over the job of intonation but intonation is easier when the bowing is under control and reasonably solid and with consistent pressure. There are so many interrelated aspects to fiddle playing to deal with, having a temporary workaround for finger placement is OK with me. No big deal. Even if it just adds some assurance and confidence that helps move the student forward with the other aspects. When the tape keeps wearing off you don't need it any more.      


Edited by - Peghead on 08/16/2020 04:19:52

Woodcutter - Posted - 08/16/2020:  03:59:01


Why not train your ear and fingers by leaving a D'Addario tuner tuned ON while you play instead of using tape? With tape it's easy to be 10% or more out of tune and you have no way of knowing it.

stumpkicker - Posted - 08/16/2020:  05:39:09


Just a tape anecdote if I may, my wife played viola in middle school and high school. She always complain she was no good at it and couldn’t get it. When her father sold their house and move to a senior apartment we found it. It had tape on the fingerboard. I bought new strings for it and attempted to play it. The tape was in the wrong place! All those years of frustration, because the music teacher got it wrong. Once I ignored the tape, I’ve been able to add the viola to my pallete of mediocre musicianship.. ;-)


Edited by - stumpkicker on 08/16/2020 05:40:12

Baileyb - Posted - 08/16/2020:  05:55:02


I use a free app on my cell phone called " Guitar and Violin Tuner" it is a chromatic tuner.

After I get my violin in tune, I use the app to see where each note is on the finger board when I bow it.

My fingers seem to be preprogrammed to play in the Key of D as I seem to always want to sharp the C & F notes.

I believe it is more important to train your ear to hear the actual note than to memorize a precise physical location on the finger board. JMHO

sbhikes2 - Posted - 08/16/2020:  06:01:56


Apparently I've trained my ear and my fingers to play a few of the notes wrong. I think the tape was to compensate for that and to help take one thing out of the way of learning some other thing.

ChickenMan - Posted - 08/16/2020:  08:30:46


As Greg said, it is more tactile than visual. You can feel where the tape is. Looking way up there on the neck is useless; you cannot see accurately at that angle and perspective. If only a couple of notes are out of tune, be sure to practice those notes and hopefully the tape is perfect for whatever key you are out of tune. The use of a tuner is okay, but I personally think a drone will get you more intuned (ha, unintentional) to being in tune with each key. My experience is that folks have trouble with the G note on the E string, or at least my ears hear that one regularly. And the thirds can be squirrelly. smiley

Peghead - Posted - 08/16/2020:  12:07:46


I use the open string octave when I can to place my ring finger, the rest follow.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 08/16/2020:  13:16:55


quote:

Originally posted by Woodcutter

Why not train your ear and fingers by leaving a D'Addario tuner tuned ON while you play instead of using tape? With tape it's easy to be 10% or more out of tune and you have no way of knowing it.






I know a lot of fiddlers do just that, but I would advise against it. If you actually play in tune with the tuner, it will sound awful, as the tuner is set up for equal temperament. The violin is not an equal temperament instrument. That's why using the tuner for all four strings will leave the instrument sounding slightly out of tune.



In school we had a harpsichord in the music library that was often used for demonstrations of intonation. It had a couple pedals that could be used to change the intonation. One was set up for equal temperament, another was tuned by fifths, and I think there was a third, but I don't remember what interval was used. Equal temperament made all keys sound passable without any adjustment, but the other pedals sounded far more in tune; they were just limited by key. The beauty of the violin is that you can always adjust the intervals to be in tune with the mode or key. 

Woodcutter - Posted - 08/17/2020:  03:37:30


quote:

Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

quote:

Originally posted by Woodcutter

Why not train your ear and fingers by leaving a D'Addario tuner tuned ON while you play instead of using tape? With tape it's easy to be 10% or more out of tune and you have no way of knowing it.






I know a lot of fiddlers do just that, but I would advise against it. If you actually play in tune with the tuner, it will sound awful, as the tuner is set up for equal temperament. The violin is not an equal temperament instrument. That's why using the tuner for all four strings will leave the instrument sounding slightly out of tune.



In school we had a harpsichord in the music library that was often used for demonstrations of intonation. It had a couple pedals that could be used to change the intonation. One was set up for equal temperament, another was tuned by fifths, and I think there was a third, but I don't remember what interval was used. Equal temperament made all keys sound passable without any adjustment, but the other pedals sounded far more in tune; they were just limited by key. The beauty of the violin is that you can always adjust the intervals to be in tune with the mode or key. 






Rich, what I do on a daily basis is to tune with the tuner but have the E-string just a tad on the sharp side and the G-string just a tad flat. Then I play from scales from open G to B on the E-string a few times before turning the tuner OFF to practice whatever is on the agenda that day. Is this a bad thing to do? To my ear it sounds good. Hope I'm not fooling myself and ingraining the wrong thing.

Brian Wood - Posted - 08/17/2020:  08:23:47


"I know a lot of fiddlers do just that, but I would advise against it. If you actually play in tune with the tuner, it will sound awful, as the tuner is set up for equal temperament".



There have been many discussions about tuning. People have personal preferences for sure. But one thing that's just not true is "it will sound awful" to play in equal temperament. On average it will sound better than anything else if you're playing with other instruments. Lots of piano music is quite beautiful, and if you're playing violin with a piano you had better use equal temperament. Even mandolins, violins companion instrument, are played in equal temperament.



 



 


Edited by - Brian Wood on 08/17/2020 08:32:50

sbhikes2 - Posted - 08/17/2020:  09:01:21


I know to play on two strings to check the tuning. But my teacher would like me to be able to play in tune on one string at a time and also train my ear, I guess.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 08/17/2020:  12:37:12


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

"I know a lot of fiddlers do just that, but I would advise against it. If you actually play in tune with the tuner, it will sound awful, as the tuner is set up for equal temperament".



There have been many discussions about tuning. People have personal preferences for sure. But one thing that's just not true is "it will sound awful" to play in equal temperament. On average it will sound better than anything else if you're playing with other instruments. Lots of piano music is quite beautiful, and if you're playing violin with a piano you had better use equal temperament. Even mandolins, violins companion instrument, are played in equal temperament.



 



 






I agree. Take advantage of one of the fiddle's greatest strengths -- the ability to fine tune your intonation on the fly.  

Brian Wood - Posted - 08/17/2020:  12:55:43


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

 



I agree. Take advantage of one of the fiddle's greatest strengths -- the ability to fine tune your intonation on the fly.  






Yes, it is a great strength. And for practicing intonation early on, getting the hang of things, you can hardly be led astray with a tuner clipped on.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 08/17/2020:  19:36:42


Rich, what I do on a daily basis is to tune with the tuner but have the E-string just a tad on the sharp side and the G-string just a tad flat. Then I play from scales from open G to B on the E-string a few times before turning the tuner OFF to practice whatever is on the agenda that day. Is this a bad thing to do? To my ear it sounds good. Hope I'm not fooling myself and ingraining the wrong thing.



I don't know if I'd say it's bad if you get good results. Typically the violin is tuned by establishing the pitch for A, which can vary with the group you perform with (our opera house players here tend to be at 444-446, even higher if the heat is on in the winter). Once you have the A tuned, you can check the other strings against it to tune. The goal is to listen for the sound of the second note beating against the first--you adjust the pitch until that stops. That establishes that open strings. From there it's up to your ear to hone in on the other intervals. Playing double stops really focuses your attention on this.



 I'm not trying to argue against using a tuner, just hoping to point out that it's not as perfect a tool as it seems on the surface. What really interests me is that the human ear is sensitive enough to be able to detect such subtle pitch variations. 



If a player is having trouble hearing intonation problems, an aide like a tuner can be helpful, yet I think the emphasis should always be on strengthening the ear rather than relying on a device for feedback. If all efforts at ear training are unsuccessful, devices like finger tapes and clip-on tuners may be useful for building up muscle memory as a workaround. 

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 08/17/2020:  20:03:13


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

"I know a lot of fiddlers do just that, but I would advise against it. If you actually play in tune with the tuner, it will sound awful, as the tuner is set up for equal temperament".



There have been many discussions about tuning. People have personal preferences for sure. But one thing that's just not true is "it will sound awful" to play in equal temperament. On average it will sound better than anything else if you're playing with other instruments. Lots of piano music is quite beautiful, and if you're playing violin with a piano you had better use equal temperament. Even mandolins, violins companion instrument, are played in equal temperament.



 



 






I'm not against the piano, and I've certainly done my fair share of performance with the instrument, but it's very interesting to hear some of the opinions that were voiced when the piano became a popular instrument. To this day, there are many people who find it very hard to listen to the piano or to an orchestra because of the pitch range. Equal temperament allows for more key modulation in music. The trade off is some of the harmonic purity. Tuning a piano is a complex process of tuning for certain intervals and then adjusting them to iron out kinks; it isn't a matter of just turning the key until the pitch matches the tuner for each note. You have to account for the Pythagorean Comma.



Also, I don't think equal temperament necessarily sounds awful, but I do think it's not quite as harmonious as just intonation. My point about the violin is that it doesn't sound in tune when tuned exactly with an electronic tuner. Some adjustment is necessary to fix it. It becomes very obvious if you try playing a relative harmonic on another string against the open string. 

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 08/18/2020:  00:57:07


Ultimately, you just have to let instruments and ensembles sometimes be slightly out of tune with each other (for want of a better term). It's not necessarily a bad thing, either. It adds personality and color. It adds life and complexity. A sense of humanity.

buckhenry - Posted - 08/18/2020:  02:56:33


quote:

Originally posted by sbhikes2

I know to play on two strings to check the tuning. 






The first and third finger can be tuned with the low adjacent string.



The second and fourth finger can be tuned with high adjacent string. 

Peghead - Posted - 08/18/2020:  03:23:19


The tuner set to equal temperament will result in slightly narrower 5th intervals. That is to say, working from the A, the E string will sound slightly flat, the D slightly sharp and the G even sharper. The ear naturally wants to widen the intervals and eliminate the beats to pure intervals. However what you do from here varies on the key, the mode of the tune and the other instruments. If you are playing with tempered instruments, it's more important at the end of the day to be in tune with them than to be perfectly in tune with yourself. Especially the E string in the key of C for instance.

boxbow - Posted - 08/18/2020:  14:05:51


I had tape on a cello when I was about 9. My next school program loaner didn't have tape. I didn't miss it. I found that I'd been using my ear for a while. And try looking at the tape on a cello while playing!

Playing by myself I like to tune the fiddle to perfect 5ths.

Playing with others I'll tune the D and A with my tuner and the G and E by 5ths relative to the D and A. I'll adjust as needed between tunes, or maybe tell the guitar player to try using a tuner. Deaf or not, my pitch is pretty good, usually. If the tinnitus and/or background noise is too bad, it's the tuner and I know about how sharp or flat to tune the G and E.

No matter what, I find myself fine tuning between tunes to what I heard during the previous tune.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 08/18/2020:  14:09:16


The difference between pure fifth and tempered fifth is 2 cents. That is pretty difficult for most folks to distinguish, esp in context of playing music. That degree of precision in every note played is incredibly difficult to achieve.



The difference is probably not the core problem or solution for folks struggling with basic intonation... or using tape.



Accuracy is more important than precision, for most folks.



 

Brian Wood - Posted - 08/18/2020:  15:52:08


quote:

Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful


To this day, there are many people who find it very hard to listen to the piano or to an orchestra because of the pitch range.



Really? Who?

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 08/18/2020:  20:30:35


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

quote:

Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful


To this day, there are many people who find it very hard to listen to the piano or to an orchestra because of the pitch range.



Really? Who?






I hear it from people who are said to have perfect pitch occasionally. My father had a classmate whose hearing was so precise that he could detect a change in pitch in his tuning fork when it had sat in his pocket and picked up body heat; he actually ground the ends down so that it would be purely in tune when he took it out of his pocket. That's definitely a bit extreme, but there are people who feel that way. Renaissance and baroque musicians sometimes voice their issues with the standard tuning of modern orchestras. 

 



Here's an interesting article about the issue of equal temperament: gramophone.co.uk/features/arti...verything



This book is also fairly well-known:



amazon.com/Equal-Temperament-R...393334201



I think it's important to note that Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier was not an equal-tempered one. I have read that it's likely that he used instruments with split keys to allow for playing without having to use the same key for enharmonic equivalents. 

 



Rosseau and Rameau were outspoken in their opinions against equal temperament, just as a couple examples.



Does this all mean we should throw equal temperament away and go back to playing in earlier tunings? I'm not sure I'd go that far, but I do think it's good to be aware of the way temperament changes music, both technically and emotionally.



 


Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 08/18/2020 20:31:45

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 08/18/2020:  21:43:51


Whatever the difficulties may be when an orchestra is pitted against a piano, I just love classical piano concertos. They're magic. I either never hear pitch improprieties or I simply ignore them. I gotta say, too, that Mozart wrote twenty-seven of the things. I truly doubt that he gritted his teeth every time he sat down with an orchestra to play one.

old cowboy - Posted - 08/19/2020:  04:36:28


I think some of you are missing the purpose of the tape. It simply gives you the vicinity of where to start with your intonation. When you are trying to play either alone or with some one else you don't need to be hunting where to place your fingers to begin with. You still need to let your ear perfect the intonation once you are in the general area.

Brian Wood - Posted - 08/19/2020:  07:55:13


quote:

Originally posted by old cowboy

I think some of you are missing the purpose of the tape. It simply gives you the vicinity of where to start with your intonation. When you are trying to play either alone or with some one else you don't need to be hunting where to place your fingers to begin with. You still need to let your ear perfect the intonation once you are in the general area.






Yes, and that would be so with a tuner clipped on too. I don't think either of those crutches should be used for more than a day or two when you're first starting out. Like training wheels on a bike, you're not really riding until you take them off.

Humbled by this instrument - Posted - 08/19/2020:  10:27:51


quote:

Originally posted by Peghead

I use the open string octave when I can to place my ring finger, the rest follow.






I too.

Humbled by this instrument - Posted - 08/19/2020:  10:34:25


Hmmmmm, a thought came to me. Early on my instructor noticed that when I had positioned my finger a bit shy of the correct spot, I'd vibrato the H--- out of the note and bend it to get there. (I played guitar for decades and simply used guitar vibrato on the fiddle from day one.) So he told me, "Don't use vibrato so much, but DO move your finger just a tad up this way or that and try to intonate on the spot. Twenty years later I still do this, though generally more in the second or third position, moving my finger just a tad up or down to intonate on the spot. In fact....

Would moving your finger just a tad and practicing intonation on the spot help? Play scales slowly. I still think a touch of vibrato helps immensely.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 08/19/2020:  19:10:33


quote:

Originally posted by Humbled by this instrument

Would moving your finger just a tad and practicing intonation on the spot help? Play scales slowly. I still think a touch of vibrato helps immensely.






Slow scales can show you what needs to be ironed out very well. It's good to practice with and without vibrato--when you play without it, you have nowhere to hide. Using vibrato allows you to add more musicality to the scale. 

buckhenry - Posted - 08/19/2020:  20:30:30


quote:

Originally posted by Humbled by this instrument



Would moving your finger just a tad and practicing intonation on the spot help? Play scales slowly. I still think a touch of vibrato helps immensely.




 



I learnt intonation by placing the finger precisely in tune, if the note was off just a tad, wiggling or moving the finger to be in tune was not permitted, the exercise must be repeated sans wiggle or vibrato. The most important aspect of this exercise is to HEAR THE NEXT NOTE before it is played, and the slow practice allows the necessary time to really HEAR and anticipate every note.  When 'tapes' are used the process of 'anticipation' is by past in favour of 'looking for the notes' and 'adjusting' when out-of-tune. The 'note anticipation method' may take must longer to acquire but it assures confident playing in any position on the violin.  

alaskafiddler - Posted - 08/20/2020:  08:50:04


quote:

Originally posted by old cowboy

I think some of you are missing the purpose of the tape. It simply gives you the vicinity of where to start with your intonation. When you are trying to play either alone or with some one else you don't need to be hunting where to place your fingers to begin with. You still need to let your ear perfect the intonation once you are in the general area.






I agree with the first part. It is similar to how beginners use frets... simply as a rough guide to count fret markers where to put fingers to differentiate between C and C#. (second string up 4 frets, okay) But unlike frets, tape is likely not in tune (for many reasons, it is complex to achieve)... and the student isn't necessarily actually listening that well.



Indeed folks who switched from played fretted instruments, even mandolin... quickly find out are not necessarily better about intonation, being in tune.



IMO, that's part the point... tape is unlikely to really do much anything to help learning intonation; possibly interfere.



I agree in let your ear do the work... but the ear can't do that if it doesn't know what that sounds like. To that point the best path is to start with the ear, let it teach the fingers.


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 08/20/2020 08:53:57

sbhikes2 - Posted - 08/20/2020:  18:22:41


Why don't they ever put a tape between the first two? Why is that one left out?

alaskafiddler - Posted - 08/20/2020:  19:16:20


Unsure who you mean "they"? nor how others can universally  answer why one person does it one way. Just suggestion, might ask the individual instructing you to put tape on, as to why... and what is the purpose.



Or not.



I have found asking questions is good in process of my learning. One thing I learned, was supposed authorities or experts... sometimes don't really have a clue... just passing along what they were told.


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 08/20/2020 19:22:45

ChickenMan - Posted - 08/20/2020:  19:43:14


I think I've seen just that - only a couple of pieces of tape. Is the tape on F# and A on the E string? Those are the home base for the 1st and 3rd finger. I'd guess it is because the middle finger plays both the 3rd and 4th 'fret' depending on the string.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 08/20/2020:  20:00:36


quote:

Originally posted by sbhikes2

Why don't they ever put a tape between the first two? Why is that one left out?






I think this is because the most common way to start students playing is to work from open strings to major scales starting on open strings. The major scale pattern requires whole steps for the first two fingers. The minor scales tend to come after the major, and they're shown to be different by switching to a half step to get to the third note.



Children are great at absorbing lots of information rapidly, but they have less desire for understanding theory and abstract concepts. Because of that, teaching methods tend to be set up to allow children to develop the mechanics of playing first, then go back and explain the reasons for all of those things. 

buckhenry - Posted - 08/20/2020:  20:06:09


quote:

Originally posted by sbhikes2

Why don't they ever put a tape between the first two? Why is that one left out?






I think you mean a tape for the low 2nd finger, usually this is not needed because the 2nd low finger is actually placed between the 1st and 2nd tape. 



Sometimes all the finger positions don't need to be taped, this depends on the ability of the student. Often only the 3rd finger tape is required because the student is able to find the other notes using it as a guide,  the same applies with just a 1st finger tape. The idea is to eventually play without any taped positions. All of them maybe required in the beginning, and all of them maybe removed at the same time or removed one by one, it all depends on the progress and ability of the individual student.  

old cowboy - Posted - 08/21/2020:  04:41:15


I find I only needed one tape. either the first or the third finger, like I have said that gave me a starting point . I have found the fiddle to be similar to the harmonica. My ear will tell me when I am on the right pitch for the note I am playing. When I was learning the harmonica I used fiddle recordings to play with. I found it easier to play along with the fiddle than any other instrument.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 08/21/2020:  06:12:07


Tape on the harmonica, might be very difficult to see; and might be problem with lips.

sbhikes2 - Posted - 08/21/2020:  11:26:32


My ear hears in tunedness different than my tuner seems to at least in some places.

Peghead - Posted - 08/21/2020:  12:41:12


quote:

Originally posted by sbhikes2

My ear hears in tunedness different than my tuner seems to at least in some places.






Me too. After many years I had to learn to play several notes differently.  

alaskafiddler - Posted - 08/21/2020:  17:42:55


quote:

Originally posted by Peghead

quote:

Originally posted by sbhikes2

My ear hears in tunedness different than my tuner seems to at least in some places.






Me too. After many years I had to learn to play several notes differently.  






A few things could explain it. Some of the struggle folks have is confusion of what they listening for, not really understanding intonation; and/or a bit of contradiction of theoretical math defined and what they hear.



That is why IMO, before addressing fingers, start with the ear, learning what sounds in tune... and understanding certain concepts.



There are a few different overall ideas/goal of what "in-tune" means, thus different method.



1. One is that intonation systems are memorized. Different theorists or cultures devised theoretical calculation measurement; an objective quantified system of pitch/frequency; or steps. Folks simply acculturate, memorize those fixed pitches or steps. So goal is developing long term "memorization" of pitch/frequency; or steps. This seems similar to many ideas of perfect pitch. I don't know much about methods to achieve that, but as tuners are measurement tools, might work for that.



2. The other is about qualitative sound of harmonic relationships based. For example from a tonic (any frequency)... the qualitative sound of a octave, fifth, fourth, third, sixth, seventh. It is not really about memorization based, just honing listening awareness. Different intonation systems have different subjective qualities of intervals. IMO, the 5 limit, just Intonation is simplest, natural for most folks to hear; IMO great place to start... as well it is easier to notice as vertical harmony... starting with basic chord triads (root, fifth, third). There are different ways to go about this, but don't use a tuner.



 

----------




Is intonation overrated? surprise There is another not much discussed aspect to consider of what "in-tune" means... that might cause a bit of struggle.



Many instructions focus on a objective precise quantified measurement, perfect pitch definition of "in-tune" and strict binary idea; you hit the target or you didn't. Some folks get obsessed or frustrated with that, might fear if they don't hit that (match tuner), it will be out of tune.



That is not the way most listeners actually experience music in context... they use idea of subjective and accuracy, within range, has more of a window of in-tune. How narrow or wide, depends, or is affected by the context of all other aspects of the music. 



Just some thoughts.

sbhikes2 - Posted - 08/22/2020:  07:18:33


Yesterday in my lesson she had me play the scale (been practicing with a tuner and the tape on my fingerboard for a week.) She said I did great. Then she said that when violinists play the 7th in a scale, they play it slightly sharp. She said I should learn to play the 7th a little sharper. Thought that was interesting and I kind of understand that on some intuitive level.

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