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Drones
My discovery of the year!
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Jim Dunleavy
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June 11, 2015 - 3:09 pm
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I was browsing through Fiddlerman's tuition videos yesterday and came across the one about using drones to practice scales, so I had a try at playing along with some.

I could hardly believe how incredibly useful they are to practice with! You can teach your fingers (and ears!) exactly where the correct pitches are. And they don't just work for scales, some simple pieces work with a drone as well! Fantastic!

Who else uses them for practice?

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DanielB
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June 11, 2015 - 4:14 pm
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I do.  Right up there with metronome as practice tools.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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BillyG
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June 12, 2015 - 4:47 am
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Yup, same.   Also, as I am slowly coming to terms with shifting position, I find it interesting and useful to practice 2-note chords ( if a chord can have only 2 notes ) and not "just" open string drones, and I often just "play about" with things like chord progressions - which are probably more familiar to the piano / guitar way of thinking - for instance - one of the most common (and easiest) progressions in the key of G major is the chord progression G, C, D - i.e. in interval terms the I, IV, and fifth.

Gmaj   Cmaj     Dmaj

D         G         A

B         E          F#

G         C         D

You can find quite a number of different ways of picking two of the three notes, but useful to retain the F# in the Dmaj chord ( F# is the 7th of the tonic ), which gives the sense of an impending return to the tonic.

Once you have a "pattern" or just some sort of improvised piece with fingering sorted out, move up and do the same on the D and A strings, then the A and E.  So you'll still be working with the same I, IV, V intervals, but based on the different root/tonic

Great for practice and intonation checks - and also great fun to do !

A simple tune that works well with open string drones (and you find a way to slip in at least one fingered-two-note-chord) is Skye Boat Song.

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Schaick
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June 14, 2015 - 7:28 am
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@BillyG Have you seen this thread?: http://fiddlerman.com/forum/le.....et/#p71230

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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Jim Dunleavy
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June 14, 2015 - 8:12 am
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Yes @BillyG - also when the boat comes in works with a single drone note.

I've even started using them for my flute & sax scales now. Helps me get the problem notes of the scale in proper tune, rather than getting used to the inherent intonation problems on the instruments.

Bizarrely, since learning the violin, I've become more fussy about intonation on my other instruments, and it's making me improve on those as well!

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BillyG
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June 14, 2015 - 8:23 am
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Schaick said
@BillyG Have you seen this thread?: http://fiddlerman.com/forum/le.....et/#p71230

Strangely enough, no!   Just must have missed it entirely - which is a bit unusual for me!  Thanks - and thanks @KindaScratchy for the fine work there !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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DanielB
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June 14, 2015 - 8:27 am
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@BillyG:

Not wanting to over-complexify things, but when you're working against accompaniment and 7th chords are involved, you also may want to consider whether the accompaniment is using the major 7th or dominant 7th for the chord. 

To use your example, if you're working off the F# of the D chord to lead back to the tonic G, but the accompaniment plays a G7 (dominant 7th chord) instead of a Gmaj7 (major 7th chord) to resolve the turn-around, then that F# is going to have a lot of "jangle" against the G natural and F natural than it did as the 3rd of the D chord..  

Not saying that dissonance can't be used.  The tension from a bit of dissonance and it's resolution to consonance is part of the dynamics of soloing, how we keep the listener's interest.  Stacking up half-step dissonances can work.  Just saying, you want to make sure you're using them on purpose. LOL

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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BillyG
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June 14, 2015 - 9:31 am
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Yup @DanielB - you make a good point to be understood and not overlooked. So yes, one needs to be careful in the choice of note when playing against accompaniment! thumbs-up

Primarily I was just thinking about solo practice and getting the ear used to these drones/double-stop intervals and their resonances and "beating" largely for intonation purposes, especially with both strings stopped - and not with one just droning.  (This was a fingering exercise - once it became easy ( ROFL ) to reliably and repeatedly play single notes in-tune, I initially found placing another finger just a little bit troublesome - odd things would happen - like the originally stopped finger would shift slightly and so on...)

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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