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I'm becoming anti-scales
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Composer
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March 18, 2012 - 1:09 am
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Which seems like a ridiculous position to take considering western music is built upon scales, arpeggios, etc.  When I say I hate scales I mean no matter what the compass (1-octave, 2-octave, 3-octave, 4-octave) of the scale, there is a huge gap between those beautiful typed notes on a page and the number of diverse technical problems on a violin that don't seem to exist on the piano.   For example, string crossing.  I don't begin practicing string crossing in the context of a complete scale structure because its too inefficient.  I use notated exercises designed exactly to develop that skill.  Another example is shifting.  Fiddlermans third position smear exercise is a good way to begin.  It certainly isn't a complete scale. 

 

Its not simply interval patterns to be learned...there are lots of other problems even in 1st position.

1.  Finger preparation (ex. fourth finger --> 1st finger string crossing)

2.  Finger tip placement

3.  Hand support (ex. in a descending scale a first finger down to support the hand)

4.  etc...many more

Sure, practicing scales is crucial...AS A FINISHED PRODUCT...but all these technical problems must be isolated and taught with specific examples and more than just musical notation.

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Kevin M.
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March 18, 2012 - 10:09 am
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Why are you always so negative?

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Oliver
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March 18, 2012 - 10:14 am
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Very astute post.

Here are some related calculations for finger tip location but don't bet the family fortune on my accuracy.

For the "A" string ...... an interval of 1/8" is about equal to 25 musical cents (around 1 st position).  Musical people can discriminate 10 cents and a piano tuner can do even better (so the internet reports). 

So, to operate at very acceptable pitch accuracy I would guess that perhaps 5 cents is reasonable or a spatial finger accuracy of 0.025" or about 1/2 mm.

In any case this is a good argument for vertical (accurate) finger tips (including the fact that it works!)

coffee2

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 18, 2012 - 10:13 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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How can you be a Composer and hate scales? ROFL smile

You don't need to practice scales, it's just advantageous. Exercises and intervals are great too. Anything that you like to work on. What ever works for you is what you should be working on.

When you say that you hate them do you mean that you don't do them or you hate doing them?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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March 18, 2012 - 11:45 pm
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Okay Pierre, I have a specific question for you:  A scale book says the fourth finger should play the D on the G string instead of open D.  So how do you do vibrato on the fourth finger D and still prepare the 1st finger for the next note E on the adjacent D string?  When you vibrate with the fourth finger, the first two fingers have to come off the string so as to not impede the vibrato motion.  A break in continuity occurs and/or intonation is compromised when at this point in the scale. 

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March 19, 2012 - 12:01 am
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In regards to the fingertips, I meant the angles of the four fingers to the fingerboard.  For example, on the E string the 1st finger tends naturally toward being parallel with the fingerboard when a whole step is between the 1st and 2nd fingers.  But If I play a sequence of notes that involves a half step on the E-string such as:  G-->F#-->G by putting both 1st and 2nd fingers down before I start playing,  it becomes awkward.   The 2nd finger likes to flatten the 1st finger (and thus disrupt intonation) unless I change the angle of the 1st finger to the fingerboard so that both fingers can remain in the same curved shape. 

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March 19, 2012 - 12:34 am
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I think the strong pro-scales people advocate all elements of technique are practiced within 4 octaves even from the beginning because of the diminishing distances of the 25 semitones on each string.  How can you appreciate the necessity of a sensitive ear in 1st position?  Nevertheless, the major stumbling block is shifting and the difficulty of measuring semitones in the high registers through fingering.  Shifting induces recklessness and dropping fingers from the air is not careful measurement, it is an approximation process.

 

Analogy would be learning calculus without ever studying pre-calculus.  On the violin,  you would need to begin with shiftless scales and 1 finger glissando technique to practice scales that develop the ear and basic hand memory with all the semitones on the entire fingerboard.  

Otherwise its too much and you start the deconstruction process aka 1st position, repetition hits...with the fatal consequence of an intonation logic that is never uniform. 

 

Or I'm drunk at the moment which is also true.

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Fiddlestix
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March 19, 2012 - 8:39 am
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Composer said
I think the strong pro-scales people advocate all elements of technique are practiced within 4 octaves even from the beginning because of the diminishing distances of the 25 semitones on each string.  How can you appreciate the necessity of a sensitive ear in 1st position?  Nevertheless, the major stumbling block is shifting and the difficulty of measuring semitones in the high registers through fingering.  Shifting induces recklessness and dropping fingers from the air is not careful measurement, it is an approximation process.

 

Analogy would be learning calculus without ever studying pre-calculus.  On the violin,  you would need to begin with shiftless scales and 1 finger glissando technique to practice scales that develop the ear and basic hand memory with all the semitones on the entire fingerboard.  

Otherwise its too much and you start the deconstruction process aka 1st position, repetition hits...with the fatal consequence of an intonation logic that is never uniform. 

 

Or I'm drunk at the moment which is also true.

Sounds to me like you're trying to make playing the violin harder than it already is. All the analogy's and such, if you do play piano which you are comparing the violin too, perhaps maybe you should stick with it, or try out another "two" different instruments, how about "spoons", there's no scale to contend with playing them.

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TerryT
Coleshill, Warwickshire
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March 19, 2012 - 9:54 am
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roflol
One good thing about FM forum articles is the balanced approach of seeing discussions from both ends of the spectrum

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and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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Oliver
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March 19, 2012 - 11:48 am
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New horizons indeed!

Except for threads like this I would never imagine what a miracle music machine I am.

dancing  

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
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March 19, 2012 - 10:00 pm
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Good points Composer but it's hard for me to answer all of your questions because you combine so many in one post.

Most people play scales without vibrato. Yes you need to momentarily stop the vibrato when putting down your 1st finger on the E string from the 4th finger on the A. Or you time it. If you ever take Skype lessons from me I will show you. As far as intonation in first position, you will notice that this is in fact a problem with almost everyone. Therefore even first position scales are good. Remember that scales in different keys cover a whole spectrum of finger patterns.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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dionysia
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March 19, 2012 - 10:21 pm
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Composer said
Or I'm drunk at the moment which is also true.

LOL Composer. Go be a happy drunk and fiddle your heart out, no analysis, just PLAY. It will probably do you good.exactly 

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