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The Right Notes
Topic Rating: 4.9 Topic Rating: 4.9 Topic Rating: 4.9 Topic Rating: 4.9 Topic Rating: 4.9 Topic Rating: 4.9 (10 votes) 
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jessviolin
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September 8, 2012 - 11:23 am
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Hi everyone.

I am going to start the violin properly over again because the last few weeks have been very higgledy piggledy, but now I'll have a proper routine.

The only thing is, I don't know when I am playing the right notes and I know my tutor will help me, but I just want to be playing the right notes. I used a tuner to help me, but I don't think thats a good idea, because then I'll just start relying on the tuner. Does anyone have any advice?

 

Thanks, I'm a music novice really!

Ultimate violin beginner from the UK :)

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Fiddlerman
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September 8, 2012 - 7:27 pm
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Maybe not the answer that you want to hear but practice scales.

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

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KindaScratchy
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September 8, 2012 - 8:22 pm
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In addition to playing scales, here's another idea along the same line: practice playing a few songs with which you're familiar. Since the idea is to train yourself to hear when a note is right, if you know what a song is supposed to sound like, you should be able to hear when your finger placement is right or a bit off.

Also, playing along with a recording of a professional playing the same piece should let you hear when your notes are right or wrong.

Both of those things seem to work for me, but then I'm a newbie, too, so go with what your teacher -- and Fiddlerman -- recommend.

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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DanielB
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September 9, 2012 - 7:07 am
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A drawback to electronic tuners for checking your pitch while playing is their response time often isn't all that great.  Most take at least a fraction of a second to figure out what note you are playing, and as your playing speeds up, they aren't so useful.

I'd agree with Fiddlerman and KindaScratchy that scales and simple tunes you know well are probably the fastest way.  They also have the advantage of giving your ear some training, which is more useful in the long run than an electronic tuner.

"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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Fiddlestix
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September 9, 2012 - 7:40 am
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Depending on how you place your finger on the string will also affect the Hz of an electronic tuner. If you place the very tip of your finger on the string, you need to be more precise in getting the correct note, by placing the flat of your finger you will cover more area of the string and the human ear can tell us which direction the finger need's to move or rock in a direction to be exact.

Be thankfull that the difficulty in reading musical note's is actually very simple. Just imagine reading music without note's, only to be written in Hz.

Example: 440, 440, 660, 660, 733.3, 773.3, 660 Hz. and then this...550, 550, 825, 825, 916, 916, 825 Hz.

How long will it take to figure out those song's and then think about having to read and  play a concerto via. Hz.

For the member's here ini the forum who have electronic tuner's, play these song's using strictly your tuner and respond here to let everyone know how long it take's to figure out a song..

 

Should be kinda fun, only don't peek at other answer's until you are ready with your's.  Please.

                                       dancing

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Picklefish
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September 9, 2012 - 9:33 am
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Fiddlestix said
Depending on how you place your finger on the string will also affect the Hz of an electronic tuner. If you place the very tip of your finger on the string, you need to be more precise in getting the correct note, by placing the flat of your finger you will cover more area of the string and the human ear can tell us which direction the finger need's to move or rock in a direction to be exact. Playing with your finger pad means you will have to press harder and will have a tendency to be flat sounding. Its also much harder to double stop notes.

Be thankfull that the difficulty in reading musical note's is actually very simple. Just imagine reading music without note's, only to be written in Hz.

Example: 440, 440, 660, 660, 733.3, 773.3, 660 Hz. and then this...550, 550, 825, 825, 916, 916, 825 Hz. this would drive me nuts If I didnt already know the answer.

How long will it take to figure out those song's and then think about having to read and  play a concerto via. Hz. I think it would be almost impossible.

For the member's here ini the forum who have electronic tuner's, play these song's using strictly your tuner and respond here to let everyone know how long it take's to figure out a song..

 

Should be kinda fun, only don't peek at other answer's until you are ready with your's.  Please.

                                       dancing

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Quirk
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September 9, 2012 - 10:36 am
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I found a program that shows you the note you play. the octave and the hz as well. You just play the note and it tells you what you hit.

This sounds like what you want. Check it out here http://fiddlerman.com/forum/th.....d-software

Like the person above me said, they have a lag, but they are great if you are trying to find the right position. Not so much if you want to play a song.

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Fiddlestix
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September 9, 2012 - 10:41 am
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Pressing harder with the flat's of your finger's shouldn't be any harder if your string and bridge height is correct and you have the propper scoop in the fingerboard. Playing the violin doesn't require a lot of pressure on the strings. Not as much as guitar where you have to press the string below the fret's.

 

PF,,, you already knew the answer then why didn't you answer it ?      dunno

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DanielB
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September 9, 2012 - 8:58 pm
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Set up may vary a bit, but guitar isn't necessarily harder to play a note on.  Mine at least are a bit easier, probably because the string length on a guitar is longer so the % the string needs to be deflected to play a note at say, the octave, is less.  Height of the string above the actual fretboard on a guitar can be about the same as the height of a violin string over the fingerboard, and since the fret takes up some of that distance, that could be another reason why it at least *can* take less pressure.

But the important point is that neither instrument takes much pressure to note properly.  A few grams, maybe, though I have never measured it.  All you want is enough pressure to get a good solid clean note.  More than that is wasted effort and just tires out the muscles in your hand quicker and causes more wear in the fingerboard (or frets and fretboard). 

But back to the original question, I'd say it isn't good to rely on anything too much, other than your own ears.  If you have an electronic tuner, maybe use it to check and train your ear a bit, and they're nice for a quick tune-up of the instrument.  But in the long run, you won't want to have to depend on a device to tell if you are playing the notes right.  It will be slower than your ear, and electronic tuners are often actually slower than your fingers will be moving.

"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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DanielB
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September 9, 2012 - 9:14 pm
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Here's an idea to maybe try, jessviolin..

Ask your teacher to record the scales or exercises you should be practising as they are written in the book or whatever your teacher uses.  Then you can play along with that as your eyes stay on the music instead of on an electronic tuner.  You'd be able to hear if you are playing the notes right, it would train your ear a bit, and it might help with learning to associate the written notes with their sounds. 

"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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Composer
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September 10, 2012 - 1:46 am
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You can't learn the violin properly via scales because even a 1-octave scale is a finished product requiring the mastering of difficult technical skills.  For example, pitch alterations caused by the bow that you will never be aware of because of the lack of knowledge in tone production.

There is another big problem.  Violin does not use equal temperament tuning like a piano.  Since music theory is always learned on a piano, this can cause problems because of conditioning.  Almost all tuners use equal temperament which is wrong for a violin. 

What is a correct scale (ex. G Major) on a violin?  Its partly a subjective matter.  Other than the perfect intervals (unison, octave, 4th, and 5th), its open to personal preference. 

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To elaborate on why I hate scales as a initial learning tool,...I found from personal experience that the biggest fallacy in learning the violin is to practice harder by scales or pieces.  The idea that the formidable technical problems will just disappear one by one through hard practice of finished product is nonsense. 

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cdennyb
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Composer said

To elaborate on why I hate scales as a initial learning tool,...I found from personal experience that the biggest fallacy in learning the violin is to practice harder by scales or pieces.  The idea that the formidable technical problems will just disappear one by one through hard practice of finished product is nonsense. 

That must be the reason you don't play huh.?dunno

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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DanielB
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September 10, 2012 - 9:13 am
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Then what do you suggest that beginners practice, Composer?  Most of them will not be likely to start with learning theory from the basics by building themselves a monochord (or duochord), and consider learning to read the notes of standard notation to be more than enough of a challenge.

Admittedly, the violin is not traditionally played with equal temperament.  But equal temperament is probably the most common convention in modern western music.  Most beginners will want to play fairly modern music that was most often composed on a piano with equal temperament.  If they have been conscientious enough to buy an electronic tuner and try to keep their instrument in tune from that at first, is that such a bad place to start?

After they can hear and tune by open 5ths, then yeah, it is possible to construct a scale in at least Pythagorean temperament from the unisons, 4ths, 5ths and octaves.  But from what I have seen, most folks gauge their progress from how many songs they have learned to play or whether or not they can play songs/pieces by some favorite that inspires them rather than by how much music theory they understand. 

One has to start somewhere.

 

 

"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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Fiddlerman
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September 10, 2012 - 3:06 pm
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The thing is, Composer, that music consists of scales.
Practicing scales is a way of practicing intervals. Fingers memorize the distances between half steps and whole steps.
Obviously, it will take time to play perfectly. Like building a house, you must begin with the foundation.....Or maybe the plans ;-)

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

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jessviolin
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September 20, 2012 - 12:25 pm
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Thanks everyone, I've got to practice scales and beginner songs that my teacher has given me , so I've searched for vids of them on you tube to play along to :)

Ultimate violin beginner from the UK :)

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Fiddlestix
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I have watched Pierre play scale's on his violin review video's and let me tell you, he could make a full course meal from the scale's he play's.. Awesome stuff.

 

  clap

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RosinedUp
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November 17, 2012 - 8:27 pm
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jessviolin said 
because then I'll just start relying on the tuner.

I don't see anything wrong with training your ears and fingers by using a tuner while playing scales or slow songs.  Much of that kind of training should be to close your eyes part of the time and listen and try to perfect the pitch, then look at the tuner to know how close you got.

It would seem that ear training with drones simply separates ear training from finger training, assuming that your tuner is practically as precise as the drones.

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Picklefish
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I dont think an understanding of what it is to be a violinist is understood. It isnt just pressing strings and bowing, nor is it everyone with same abilities performing at the same level. To be a violinist is to embark on a personal struggle of expression. It is much like any other solo activity or sport. There is much repetition involved in boring practices to learn to be the most efficient consistently you can be. Accuracy is one thing, but to learn to insert your own expressiveness, passion and emotion is also part of it. The Violin is a cruel mistress who doesnt give up her secrets without much devotion to her. There are so many aspects to learning this instrument that the task does seem daunting and impossible.

-but there is hope

Take each skill one by one, practice them until a mistake cannot be made, marry them in many ways until a mistake cannot be made. Practice your left hand separate from your right hand. In everything start slow and play beautifully before speeding up. When you speed up maintain that beautiful tone. and lastly...there are no shortcuts, you must put in the time to learn these things...This is why most of us fall short and the pros are pros.

b-slapMy son recommended this

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Fiddlerman
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November 18, 2012 - 9:38 am
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picklefish said
b-slapMy son recommended this

Ahhhhhhhh - That is the old Russian school. roflNo offense Naska.wink

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

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