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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Intonation for absolute beginner


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/54930

AndyW - Posted - 03/17/2021:  08:22:53


Hi. Only a few sessions in, and keeping practice sessions very short until I get comfortable holding and bowing.

Currently practicing my D scale. Is it recommended to keep my tuner clipped on to check my intonation as I bow, or should I ditch the tuner and go by ear.

Is it worth trying to get my intonation spot on via scales (and maybe learn the fretboard (is it still called that with no frets?) a bit before I attempt tunes or just 'dive in' and be happy my intonation will likely improve as I go on.

Swing - Posted - 03/17/2021:  09:31:00


I strongly disagree with the tuner approach! Since you are practicing the D scale ( a good place to start as well as the G scale) then I would recommend finding a friend who plays guitar or piano and have them play along with you... natural intonation is learned as an aural exercise, not a semi visual one. The learned muscular training is retained much easier and faster and you have the benefit of having someone with you... wear a mask!

Play Happy

Swing

doryman - Posted - 03/17/2021:  10:40:47


Following this post. As a lifetime player of instruments, but new to the fiddle, my greatest fear is to have bad intonation and not realize it. I like to jam and I don't care if folks are indifferent to my playing, but I'd rather they not visibly wince when I set bow to fiddle.

Since I took up the fiddle as a covid project I have been unable to play with others or even a teacher. Thus I have found the tuner to be very helpful. Also, it has helped (and it's also been painful) to record myself. I sometimes cannot hear intonation problems when I'm playing but they become immediately obvious when I listen to myself.

Finally, Andy, play some tunes! I can't imagine only playing scales until I felt my intonation was acceptable, I would never play any tunes then! Many simple tunes are basically scales anyway.

AndyW - Posted - 03/17/2021:  11:03:22


Although David's idea of getting hold of a guitar player is a no-no in the UK at present as we are in lockdown, that combined with John's advice to record things has give me an idea.

I think what I might do is record myself on fretted banjo (be it scales or slow tunes) and play along to that. I shouldn't really need the tuner then if I do that.

jphalabuk - Posted - 03/17/2021:  11:22:16


What about playing a drone in the background as you practice? There are any number of websites that feature drone notes; I use drones all the time.

RichJ - Posted - 03/17/2021:  11:23:35


Scales are looked at by some as boring, but actually a scale is a tune of sorts and can be played with accompanying chords. I have been using Strum Machine for many years and wrote chords for most of the scales. These are very helpful for both intonation and timing. If nothing else they make scale practice a lot more fun. The attached photo shows chords for going up and down the D major scale.

BTW, I agree with what others have said about not using that tuner.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 03/17/2021:  11:36:31


If you need backup tracks to help you practice and work on intonation and everything else we all miss just playing alone...you could try this website...it's mainly Bluegrass, but has some other tracks, old time, celtic, etc., so hopefully at least one or two that would appeal to most people. You can adjust the speed and play along...you can add other soloists or keep it to what they call "bare bones" accompaniment...so...it's free and y'all might find something useful there... fbbts.com/Home.html

Plus there is always oldtimejam.com site, which has real instrument backups and two choices of speed...but even the slow choice might be too fast for beginners.

There's also this youtube site youtube.com/channel/UCB9CEXR7c...wP8gDQ2lw , which has a couple of speed choices for backup tracks and of course you can slow down a youtube with the little cog in the rh bottom of scream.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 03/17/2021:  11:38:06


 here's otj activated... oldtimejam.com

DougBrock - Posted - 03/17/2021:  12:02:13


I’m new to fiddle, too, and like you am struggling with intonation.

For the popular keys of G, D, and A, I like to first work on the fourths. In the key of D, play the open D, then aim for the G on the same string with the third finger. You can easily check it against the open lower string, which is also a G. Listen to the G on the D string as you bow it. Move that finger just bit either direction, toward the nut or toward the bridge. When you’re in tune, you will cause the open G string to resonate - your sound will be much fuller and have an after-ring. When you move just out of tune, you lose that resonance and the sound difference is rather dramatic. In time, you’ll be able to hear via the resonance of your violin that the G’s, D’s, A’s, and E’s are in tune with your violin. That’s only one piece of intonation, but to me it’s a nice place to work that DOESN’T require looking at a tuner to know if you’re doing it right. (An interesting thing is to gently tap the open resonating string with another finger on your left hand while bowing. When your fingered note is resonating the open string, you’ll hear the sound change when you tap the open string. When your intonation is a bit off, you won’t hear anything from that open string because it won’t be resonating.)

As mentioned by others, drones are another way to HEAR that your intonation is right. You can get drone notes on YouTube and other places. Deep cello drones are especially satisfying. Some of my tuners can produce drone notes, but I find that they are really too quiet to hear well. Another thing you can do (but requires you to play two strings at once, so a bit more challenging) is to produce your own drone on the violin. For instance, you can play the D, E, F#, G, and A on the D string, all while bowing the A string, too. You should be able to hear when the two notes sound “pleasant.”

Good luck! It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it! :)

Snafu - Posted - 03/17/2021:  12:54:58


All great device here. I might add that playing what are called broken thirds up and down the scale is often recommended as a method to develop an ear for intonation. They also sound somewhat sing-songy, a bit like simple tunes. The fingering developed will also help with chords since chords are based on stacked thirds.

I found this very useful and now start off every fiddle practice session by playing broken thirds in the keys of (this order) C, G D, A, E, F and Bb.

I’m in the don’t become reliant on the tuner for developing intonation category too and for gods sake, don’t use tapes on the fretboard either.

farmerjones - Posted - 03/17/2021:  13:50:05


So far no one has mentioned Solfeg'e for developing intonation. Solfege is better known from it pieces, doe-rey-me, etc. Good for developing a sonic/mental image.
I also started early on playing an open drone string together with a fingered string as an intonation check. Then, as one progresses into double stops, you'll have already had the rudiments.

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 03/17/2021:  18:20:41


Well .... yeah you can do it with a tuner or a drone or a scale track or simple play along tunes. Or you can work through melodies you already know... Christmas carols are good for that. The real "key" no matter which course you choose is to do it slowly and listen while you correct your intonation. Muscle memory is the first hurdle. The good news here is that single octave scales in the keys of G, D and A are the same physical pattern... just on different pairs of strings. Lastly ... tune your fiddle each and every time you pick it up. If it is even a hair out of tune you will be learning the wrong fingering for your scale work. Patience ..... and a good mute will be your best investments....... R/

Brian Wood - Posted - 03/17/2021:  21:39:39


quote:

Originally posted by RichJ

Scales are looked at by some as boring, but actually a scale is a tune of sorts and can be played with accompanying chords. I have been using Strum Machine for many years and wrote chords for most of the scales. These are very helpful for both intonation and timing. If nothing else they make scale practice a lot more fun. The attached photo shows chords for going up and down the D major scale.



BTW, I agree with what others have said about not using that tuner.






I agree about the tuner too. But I would turn around your comment that a scale is a tune of sorts, and say tunes are scales of sorts, and a lot more interesting to practice. I second your enthusiasm for Strum Machine.


Edited by - Brian Wood on 03/17/2021 21:40:13

RichJ - Posted - 03/18/2021:  02:55:37


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood


But I would turn around your comment that a scale is a tune of sorts, and say tunes are scales of sorts, and a lot more interesting to practice. I second your enthusiasm for Strum Machine.







Totally agree. Sometimes, while playing scales, especially with a guitar backing, I'll start improvising. Each time through I keep adding more and more variation until it usually becomes unrecognizable. When you start improvising on scales they totally stops being boring.  

WyoBob - Posted - 03/18/2021:  07:19:06


quote:

Originally posted by groundhogpeggy



Plus there is always oldtimejam.com site, which has real instrument backups and two choices of speed...but even the slow choice might be too fast for beginners.

 






I signed up with the oldtimejam.com site 8 years ago when I started playing the banjo.  Back then, you got all of the mp3's and tab for a flat fee of $39.00.



Here's the site so you can check out membership options now: oldtimejam.com/join-the-jam/



I've played along with the tunes (which come in guitar/fiddle, banjo/fiddle and banjo/guitar) for years.  You can slow down or speed up the mp3's in Windows Media Player or VLC player on the computer.   I have most of the tunes on my android phone and, with the free "Music Speed Changer" app, I can speed up and down, change keys, highlight sections, loop sections, etc.  I can Bluetooth to my ear buds or speaker or car audio system.   I particularly like learning a tune in sections, slowed down and looping it.



I play with the oldtimejam tunes or recordings I made of our local old time jam every day with my fiddle.   I figure the timing on these resources are pretty accurate and, if not, if you're going to jam, you have to learn to "go with the flow" so as not to "stand out". 

Banjer - Posted - 03/18/2021:  10:12:41


Here's my +1 thumbs up for using drones. I use cello drones on Youtube all the time. Not only because they help with intonation but also because it gives my practice sessions a certain feel that i really like. You can really dive into the music much more easyly then when only playing solo. That is because it gives your scales and tunes harmonization and you're hearing intervals rather than just melodic lines.
To me, drones help with quite everything: It's more pleasent to my ears and therefore it makes practice much less frustrating. You can correct your intonation much faster because you imediately detect mistakes. I also tend to play slower and softer when using drones which is a good thing for muscle memory.
Idk which kind of style you're going for but in Old-Time-Fiddling it's quite common to use cross-tunings (I play mostly AEAE and ADAE, sometimes DDAD and ADAD). These tunings give you much better options to drone on the open strings which also helps a lot with intonation since you are becomong your own drone-instrument. Open string drones also help with a good finger placement because you are forced to keep your fingers off the other strings.

That beeing said, here's my no.1 tip for good intonation and overall fiddle playing that got me to a breakthrough poit just recently (I'm also a beginner who is recently quite hyped because I'm finally at a point where my playing doesn't suck that much anymore and starts to sound like actual old-time-fiddling): Play softly. Really, don't press the strings too hard against the fingerboard. You can check it out yourself: Put your finger on a string and just lightly put a little pressure on it until you get a sound off it. Now press that string harder and notice how the pitch changes just because you are putting more pressure on it. It happens to me all the time because I'm used to press the strings quite hard since I play fretted instruments (Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin) and just when I notice that my playing and intonation sucks I always have that moment when I notice: "Oh, I'm pressing to hard again"

banjopaolo - Posted - 03/18/2021:  10:20:24


I think that the best work for intonation is to use double stops, for example play D and A open strings, the press the E on the first finger on D string still playing the A and listen to the interval if it is in tune, repeat many times the fix the first finger and always playing double stop with A press the second finger on the Fsharp and listen in the interval is consonant, repeat it many times then press the G with the third finger and at tis point play the G note togheter with the Open G string, and check if the octave suond is Ok.
this is a good exercize for intonation, repeat many times each finger, also with two notes slur....

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 03/18/2021:  11:09:32


Drones or double stops are both great tools for checking intonation. I think it was Ruggiero Ricci who talked about the usefulness of practicing scales with an open string.



Another thing you can try (again, a Ricci idea) is to play your scale using only one finger and without making audible slides. It makes you listen very carefully.



These techniques are more specific approaches, but you may want to look at the bigger picture if you’re just getting started. Good intonation can only be accomplished if your ear is trained. Consider some ear training methods if you haven’t tried any already. They can give you a solid foundation. Being able to hear subtleties of tone is critical to musicality.



One of the best things you can do for general ear training is to sing in a chamber group. When there are fewer singers, there’s nowhere to hide, and you really have to pay close attention to intonation and blending. The aural skills you gain are invaluable.



Although it isn’t technically an ear-training book, I highly recommend reading Victor Zuckerkandl’s book, The Sense of Music. It’s an easy-to-read book aimed at all audiences, and it offers a lot of great information while encouraging one to think about the natural origins of music and its significance to mankind.

RichJ - Posted - 03/18/2021:  11:17:30


quote:

Originally posted by banjopaolo

I think that the best work for intonation is to use double stops...






Intonation on my double stops come out two ways, twice as good (rarely) or twice as bad.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 03/18/2021:  12:14:11


quote:

Originally posted by farmerjones

So far no one has mentioned Solfeg'e for developing intonation. Solfege is better known from it pieces, doe-rey-me, etc. Good for developing a sonic/mental image.

I also started early on playing an open drone string together with a fingered string as an intonation check. Then, as one progresses into double stops, you'll have already had the rudiments.






Solfege ain't so easy when you're doing much more than just trudging up the scale from Do. I've been struggling with it for years.  I still get slow-down-itis if try anything beyond a do-so-do progression.  By the same token, though, I have developed pretty good scale-to-finger IQ on a number of instruments & fiddle tunings. On fiddle, especially, my fingers can now pretty much play any tune that enters my head.

Snafu - Posted - 03/18/2021:  12:15:10


I bought a drone to help with my fiddling but the damn thing flew on to my neighbors roof the first time I turned it on.

Oh wait.... never mind...

doryman - Posted - 03/18/2021:  12:28:34


quote:

Originally posted by RichJ

quote:

Originally posted by banjopaolo

I think that the best work for intonation is to use double stops...






Intonation on my double stops come out two ways, twice as good (rarely) or twice as bad.






Ha!  Thats true and funny. But also, that's the point.  Double positive or negative re-enforcement. 

banjopaolo - Posted - 03/19/2021:  01:58:47


quote:

Originally posted by RichJ

quote:

Originally posted by banjopaolo

I think that the best work for intonation is to use double stops...






Intonation on my double stops come out two ways, twice as good (rarely) or twice as bad.






work a lot on it and you will see that it become 'twice as good (often) or twice as bad (rarely)' :-)

Jimbeaux - Posted - 03/21/2021:  10:11:50


My intonation improved a lot when I stopped using a tuner and started tuning by ear. At first, just focus on tuning the strings to each other. Don't worry about getting A440. Learn how to hear perfect 5ths, and if you use alternate tunings you'll need to learn to hear 4ths and octaves. Maybe even perfect 3rds if you try calico tuning.

If you practice tuning by ear every time you pick up the fiddle your intonation will improve fast

buckhenry - Posted - 03/21/2021:  18:02:39


Yes, ditch the tuner and 'train' your ears. 'Ear Training' has been discussed many times on this forum, and there are many aspects to it, but basically it's all about 'listening'. Dive into the tunes, but they'll have to been really simple ones for the beginning, until you become comfortable with posture and basic technique. Tunes can be used to improve skills, but always allow time in the practise session for specific technical improvement, such as the basic bowing of down and up will improve rapidly if done on the open strings without the distraction of left hand finger movements. Also, 'intonation' should be practised separately from other skills so to allow complete focus. Thus, the practise sessions will continue with a little bit of this and that until one day they will all come together.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 03/23/2021:  18:31:01


quote:

Originally posted by AndyW

Hi. Only a few sessions in, and keeping practice sessions very short until I get comfortable holding and bowing.



Currently practicing my D scale. Is it recommended to keep my tuner clipped on to check my intonation as I bow, or should I ditch the tuner and go by ear.



Is it worth trying to get my intonation spot on via scales (and maybe learn the fretboard (is it still called that with no frets?) a bit before I attempt tunes or just 'dive in' and be happy my intonation will likely improve as I go on.






It improves for some as they go on, others not so much; depends on how much they listen, pay attention. 



Intonation is about how the quality of how it sounds... determined by human ears of listener. For most folks, average listener; it's based on what can concrete and naturally sense of how notes are qualitatively related (harmonically) to each other, and to a overall musical layout of key, and it's tonic. ... essentially if it sounds good or something a bit off.



To me, the issue with using the idea of tuner approach; it seems abstract based on what someone else defined; and perhaps with goal of memorizing exact frequency of each note (as per perfect pitch?)... and/or memorizing exact finger placement of each note. Not much focused about listening as sensory awareness in quality how it sounds; in context of music based on harmonic relation.



As far as tunes vs scales. Most tunes have the  musical harmonic aspects built in; based on harmonic relation; typically easy to hear and grasp. Playing simple melodies, that you know how they are supposed to sound in your head... Just pay attention to if it sounds good... as average listener; should be able to hear if sounds good or not quite. Scales perhaps, but exercises seem more linear based and on developing other things. You could also directly isolate and focus on quality of individual notes within a key. Start with fifth, third, sixth, fourth to the tonic are fairly easy; (second and seventh easier to hear related to the fifth). The latter doesn't require a fiddle...  focused on ear not fingers; singing is good option.



 



 

doryman - Posted - 03/23/2021:  20:46:30


quote:

Originally posted by alaskafiddler

 


...As far as tunes vs scales. Most tunes have the  musical harmonic aspects built in; based on harmonic relation; typically easy to hear and grasp. Playing simple melodies, that you know how they are supposed to sound in your head... Just pay attention to if it sounds good... as average listener; should be able to hear if sounds good or not quite...



 



 






So, let me ask you, and other forumites as well, this question.  As a banjo player, I've been jamming for decades. In the time I've heard many fiddle players, who have been playing for years and years, who have terrible intonation.  What do you think is going on there?  Is it that they actually cannot hear that their intonation is really, really not good?  Or do you think that it is more common that they know it's not good, but they haven't figured out how to fix it, or that they are still working on it?  Obviously, it's not something I can just up and ask said fiddle player.  Sometimes I will politely ask how long they've been playing, but I've never asked a fiddle player if they realized how bad they sounded!  



As a new fiddler, I worry about this a great deal.  When I practice, I mostly can tell when my intonation is off...I think.  But, when I record myself, I can REALLY tell when my intonation is off.  I notice intonation issues in the recording that I don't notice while playing.  This both gives me confidence in that I CAN notice bad intonation, but also causes me some worry in that I need to listen to a recording to really hear how bad I am at times. 

AndyW - Posted - 03/24/2021:  01:03:21


Firstly thanks everybody for all the good advice so far. I get it -Ear - Ear -Ear. Thanks especially for the way some folks have taken a little time to actually explain their reasonings for what they say, that is very much appreciated.

Sounds a bit contradictory, but given all the advice above I will be buying a new tuner to make sure I am in tune to start each practice (the daddario clip on arrives Friday), and at the same time ditching keeping the tuner on permanently (I have found some drones on youtube to practice scales to and I'm pretty hopeful that my ear will recognise when basic tunes are in tune.) Once my bowing gets better I will try and learn to tune by ear, and I do have a bowing question which I'm going to start another thread on.

buckhenry - Posted - 03/24/2021:  16:03:30


quote:

Originally posted by doryman

 Sometimes I will politely ask how long they've been playing,





I would think that in some cases it doesn't matter how long they have played. If the intonation is bad then they may not have learnt how to hear good intonation. In my case I think it was my back ground that gave me a good ear even before I began playing music. My father was always banging on the joana and he could sing and strum guitar. My brother played jazz guitar and had a record player. I had four sisters and they were always singing. I played classical guitar and mandolin before I began on fiddle, so the slightest 'off' note would hurt my ears and I worked out how to play in-tune very quickly. 



I think a better question would be... "Do you come from a musical family". Or, "Do you play other instruments". Or, "Who was your teacher". It would be a give away if they answered.. "I never had a teacher". 

Uspesusz - Posted - 03/25/2021:  09:26:12


Thank you for your support!


Edited by - Uspesusz on 03/25/2021 09:27:07

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 03/25/2021:  12:45:15


I enjoy the out-of-tuneness that I've found is so much a part of Old Time. The lack of perfect intonation adds a celebratory "let's get together and play" vibe, especially if tempos are suitably fast. Hey, we ain't the Berlin Philharmonic. Players show up in the middle of tunes, take their fiddles out, and just join in despite the fact they may be tuned slightly off. And if you're thirsty and you want to sidle up to the bar in the middle of a number, that's okay, too.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 03/25/2021:  12:59:53


This comment is on the Very First Post..
Scales are a good way to work on intonation, but If you want to work on a TUNE, then focus on the intonation on just ONE measure... WHen you think you have it sounding good, then go to the Second measure.. Just an old man's suggestion..

buckhenry - Posted - 03/25/2021:  16:35:07


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler



I enjoy the out-of-tuneness 






Thats fine, among consenting adults. 



But, in this age of information technology it's very easy to learn how to play in-tune...  



Fiddle Lesson - Practicing for Pitch | ArtistWorks

Dan Gellert - Posted - 03/29/2021:  09:33:42


Yes, there are some traditional players with not-so-well controlled intonation, but much of the "out-of-tuneness" perceived by too many as quaint rusticity or raw passion is very deliberate choice of notes which don't happen to be used in "legit" European music.

Another part of the problem is that we're surrounded by music played on keyboards and fretboards with 12-tone equal temperament, and learn to accept that as "in tune", which it isn't, or at least "close enough"; but that doesn't make it IN TUNE. IMO standard violin style acquired its habitual use of vibrato since it was a graceful way of avoiding conflict with the piano....

Anyway, the question was learning fiddle intonation, and as with all things fiddle, it STARTS WITH THE BOW!
The first step to good fiddle intonation is getting the fiddle in tune with itself, and the only way to do that is to be able to bow the adjacent pairs of strings steadily and clearly. Then, if your strings are not worn out, and kept clean of rosin buildup and finger crud, the sound of a perfect fifth will ring with unmistakable clarity.

Once the fiddle is in tune (standard tuning), play the G and D strings together. Bow up and down, sounding both. now put your first finger down on the D where it sounds E (natural) which sounds in good tune with the G. (BTW it will be a good bit flat of what a tuner says E ought to be!). Then your 3rd finger on G-- that octave interval will waver or beat very obviously if it's the least bit off of perfect. Move over to the D and A. Drone the D, and the same two fingers on the A will give you B and D. Now you've got all the notes you need to play "Amazing Grace" in the key of G, along with a constant drone on the string below which will tell your ear exactly how your intonation is doing. There are actually a whole bunch of tunes you can play in that same 2-finger pentatonic scale.

Forget all about the electronic tuner. I'm not at all a Luddite when it comes to those things, and have lots of them. They're a cheap, handy replacement for a whole collection of tuning forks, BUT will never be a substitute for your ears, and aren't much use for training your ear, either.

Brian Wood - Posted - 03/29/2021:  13:20:21


quote:

Originally posted by Dan Gellert

Yes, there are some traditional players with not-so-well controlled intonation, but much of the "out-of-tuneness" perceived by too many as quaint rusticity or raw passion is very deliberate choice of notes which don't happen to be used in "legit" European music.



Another part of the problem is that we're surrounded by music played on keyboards and fretboards with 12-tone equal temperament, and learn to accept that as "in tune", which it isn't, or at least "close enough"; but that doesn't make it IN TUNE. IMO standard violin style acquired its habitual use of vibrato since it was a graceful way of avoiding conflict with the piano....



Anyway, the question was learning fiddle intonation, and as with all things fiddle, it STARTS WITH THE BOW!

The first step to good fiddle intonation is getting the fiddle in tune with itself, and the only way to do that is to be able to bow the adjacent pairs of strings steadily and clearly. Then, if your strings are not worn out, and kept clean of rosin buildup and finger crud, the sound of a perfect fifth will ring with unmistakable clarity.



Once the fiddle is in tune (standard tuning), play the G and D strings together. Bow up and down, sounding both. now put your first finger down on the D where it sounds E (natural) which sounds in good tune with the G. (BTW it will be a good bit flat of what a tuner says E ought to be!). Then your 3rd finger on G-- that octave interval will waver or beat very obviously if it's the least bit off of perfect. Move over to the D and A. Drone the D, and the same two fingers on the A will give you B and D. Now you've got all the notes you need to play "Amazing Grace" in the key of G, along with a constant drone on the string below which will tell your ear exactly how your intonation is doing. There are actually a whole bunch of tunes you can play in that same 2-finger pentatonic scale.



Forget all about the electronic tuner. I'm not at all a Luddite when it comes to those things, and have lots of them. They're a cheap, handy replacement for a whole collection of tuning forks, BUT will never be a substitute for your ears, and aren't much use for training your ear, either.






Gee, I disagree with almost everything you say. But the main thing is good intonation involves tempering notes. Arcane discussions about tuning methods, and there are many on this site, aren't really going to help a beginner play with good intonation. I do agree that playing with the tuner on isn't helpful. I am strongly in favor of tuning the fiddle with a tuner for many reasons. But if the original poster wishes to follow your advice and tune to perfect fifths that's okay too. The point is the notes played after the open strings. I think what works best is listening well and using adjacent open strings as referece (unison, octave and harmony).

pete_fiddle - Posted - 03/29/2021:  14:41:26


Are we talking about intonation on an an "Open tuned" fiddle or a standard tuned fiddle?

Dan Gellert - Posted - 03/29/2021:  15:54:35


quote:

Originally posted by pete_fiddle

Are we talking about intonation on an an "Open tuned" fiddle or a standard tuned fiddle?






What I said was referring to standard all-fifths tuning, but using the intervals between an open and a fingered string is a good way to check your intonation in any tuning.  

AndyW - Posted - 03/31/2021:  00:13:57


Update. OK, I am now tuning the fiddle via my new d'addario clip on tuner, then taking it off and going by ear rather than watching the tuner as I play. I'm also as recommended diving into tunes. Started on 'Boil em Cabbage' and 'Cripple Creek' which I know from banjo.

Perfect fifths tuning........ I had a go last night at bowing two strings together. Not super easy for this beginner, so I'm gonna have to practice that before I even get to attempting the tuning bit. Found a good video on you tube where it is demonstrated. Good news is I can hear it (on the video), at least between the D and G string, between A and D I'm not so sure, but I reckon I will get it once I can do the bowing.

Seperately from playing I have also started to teach myself to read music a bit after downloading the 'American Fiddle Method' book. Although I knew there was 'FACE' and 'Every good boy deserves favour' that was as far as my previous musical notation knowledge went. I've found a note recognition app for my phone, and I'm pleased to say I can now name almost straight away the violin notes including above and below the staff as they appear which I imagine will come in quite handy.

buckhenry - Posted - 03/31/2021:  15:48:15


quote:

Originally posted by AndyW

 I had a go last night at bowing two strings together. Not super easy for this beginner, 






 



And, theres no need to wait until you gain mastery of the 'double string bowing' before you practice 'intonation'.



Find a reliable pitch reference for the open scales G, D and A and match them on the fiddle. 



Remember to use 'minimal' left hand finger pressure, it's been discussed on this forum. 


Edited by - buckhenry on 03/31/2021 15:51:17

pete_fiddle - Posted - 04/01/2021:  00:43:31


quote:

Originally posted by buckhenry

quote:

Originally posted by AndyW

 I had a go last night at bowing two strings together. Not super easy for this beginner, 






 



And, theres no need to wait until you gain mastery of the 'double string bowing' before you practice 'intonation'.



Find a reliable pitch reference for the open scales G, D and A and match them on the fiddle. 



Remember to use 'minimal' left hand finger pressure, it's been discussed on this forum. 






The reliable pitch reference eventually has to be the player themselves. Given a pitch from an open string, or any other reference note, the goal would be to be able to "hear" all scales arpeggio's and intervals etc. off of that one note , then learn where they are on the fiddle. ....Or even sing them!! laugh



But hearing the intervals  is a good start,.Solfege is your friend.

pete_fiddle - Posted - 04/01/2021:  01:05:15


As an after thought IMO tuning devices are just to get roughly in tune with others in noisy environments. One pitch "should" really be all that is needed. "A 440Hz" is the norm nowadays, (the A string on the fiddle), and i got a good tip from this site on how to get it without any tuner. Just think of the beep that used to happen when someone hangs up the telephone on you, (maybe just in the UK ?), That's A 440.



i amazed myself by getting it right first time!..Oddly though, i have to think of the hang up "Click"... then the "Beep".


Edited by - pete_fiddle on 04/01/2021 01:06:09

buckhenry - Posted - 04/01/2021:  06:02:25


quote:

Originally posted by pete_fiddle





The reliable pitch reference eventually has to be the player themselves.






Of course. I was referring to an audible pitch like a piano just to get started on the intonation practice. As the execution of double string bowing presents a technical problem for the beginner. The pitch would be matched in unison on the fiddle. Then continue to develop the ability to 'hear' and 'sing' scales, arpeggi and intervals.  

BetteB - Posted - 04/11/2021:  18:43:42


Spend time listening to and humming along with, someone playing in tune.

I bought the book, Violin Scales by Lois Phillips. It is just what it says. Every scale possible, and a CD you can download to play along. I've been playing for years but I don't assume my intonation is always on target especially these past months playing more by myself than with someone.

Playing along to a scale before playing a song allows your ear to tune in to your fingers. Next, play the song. The more you do this the more you will self-correct notes. Then when you play with others, your intonation should be very good.

It has been well worth my time, effort and money, to have and use this resource. I found it on Amazon.

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