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One of those days....

Posted by fiddlepogo on Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I had one of those performances a week ago Monday,
at a volunteer convalescent hospital gig.
Usually my intonation is pretty good.
But it was off, and I was floundering, and worse, two of my sisters were there to listen... and one of them is a musician, a trumpet player.  Fortunately I could cut my losses on fiddle and switch to banjo and guitar which went fine.
Afterwards I asked my sister the trumpet player if she'd noticed my intonation was off, and she said "yes".

The funny thing was that I even practiced before the gig, and it didn't help- in fact, I noticed the problem some during the practice!

Anyway, thinking about it, I suspect this is what happened, aside from nervousness from my sisters being there, which is an unusual event.

1. I had a gig the previousSaturday night, two days before.
It was for a Jewish cultural association, and so I learned a bunch of Jewish or Jewish sounding tunes in G minor, which has the index finger in a different position than I'm accustomed to.
And I practiced them for hours the two previous days to the gig.
2. I think all that practicing caused a lot of rosin buildup on the strings,
because when I knocked the excess rosin off, I could intonate much better.


I think the G minor tunes threw off my fingers' location memory, which meant I was much more dependent on hearing when the note was off, but the rosin buildup was causing the intonation to be off or the notes to sound less clear than normal, which meant I couldn't successfully correct based on what I heard.  Very frustrating- live and learn.

2 comments on “One of those days....”

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Tuesday, August 11, 2009 @8:35:56 PM

Sometimes my intonation is off, too, for reasons I can't explain. I'll be going along for weeks on end, thinking I'm finally "there," that my Silver Creek just produces the prettiest notes, when HROOONK sounds the note that should've been G (on the D string), a note not quite G but just off enough so's to stick out right during my solo. Yet once I get perfect, this stuff won't happen anymore....

bj Says:
Wednesday, August 12, 2009 @9:08:39 AM

I had one of those days on Monday. I kept turning on the tuner to check the fiddle tuning. It was fine. It was ME that was off, not the fiddle. I finally ended up doing my entire practice with the tuner on, which is very unusual for me. That might be embarassing during a performance though. :-)

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