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I have a confession. I'm addicted to my Korg Chromatic Tuner. I cannot tune my violin, I can't even pretend to know much about the various tuning 'systems' (equal temperament, Just Intonation, whatever else). Nevertheless, this won't stop me from giving Pierre a hard time about his videos on Tuning, Drones, and the natural notes on the G string.
Lets start with tuning. Pierre, after the A is tuned with lets say a tuning fork, how am I supposed to know what is a perfect 5th between it and the open D? Does that not assume an aural skill which I do not have? The suggestion of utilizing Twinkle Twinkle little star is a cheat. I cannot detect any interval because I have no ear training and this instrument is not fixed like a piano.
Now the drones video. I thought a drone is a fixed reference pitch to enable measurement. This is always done via double stops or an open string. I don't know why you demand bowing two open strings on the tuning video but on the drones video you use a tone on an external device (Ipod in this case). Thats not a drone, its a cheat exactly like using an electronic tuner.
On the G string video, you should be playing the open D string drone in addition to the G string and then a measurable interval exists between the open D and the stopped A on the G string. You can't have (what you call a drone) A playing on your Ipod while you "find" the A on the G String. Thats my idea of cheating.
Bottom line: How do you find the note A on the G string utilizing whatever tuning 'system'. I have no idea without looking at my tuner and it telling me whats an A. On the piano its not a problem. On the violin, I say the beginner requires a lot of upfront training in music theory and ear training (Relative pitch, perfect pitch).
I tune the A string only with a tuner and all others off the A
Play the A and D together to tune the D. Play the D and G together to tune the G string.
Play the A and E together to tune the E string.
This way even if the A is off a little everything else sounds fine.
No matter where you go, there you are!
"...how do you select pitch when you play"
Through memorization and the use of impressionable melodies such as what exists in the Suzuki books. Once I hear a cute melody on a MP3 file it sticks in the mind and I can determine whether various notes are roughly in tune and correct as necessary. Problem is formal studies in scales exist to improve evenness of pitch, rhythm etc through practice. I don't know how the sensitivity of my ear improves when in fact I have no aural skills to begin with. I may get through all the Suzuki books and my intonation is average, not of a professional caliber without even being aware of the fact.
I agree that scales do not improve pitch recognition. They only improve the ability of determining where to put the fingers.
I'm curious to know what you define as "professional caliber" ?
Only a relatively small percentage of players possess outstanding musical ability but it is often enough to serve the purpose and that's the bottom line in the amateur arena.
PS Your approach to playing probably represents the vast majority of players at the amateur level. I wouldn't be alarmed unless you have higher expectations.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
I was just browsing through this thread again and something occurred to me. You said you had no "ear training". That is probably a factor in your condition.
"Ear training" is a continuous process for as long as one learns violin. That is even true if it is not at a totally conscious level. I know that specifically because I can "hear" things now after 5 years that I would never have dreamed of several years ago and I'm sure that others have that same experience.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Lets start with tuning. Pierre, after the A is tuned with lets say a tuning fork, how am I supposed to know what is a perfect 5th between it and the open D? ...
Exactly the same question i asked to my teacher on the first lesson. She said that i have to hear it. She tuned my violin perfectly and then asked me to play any 2 strings together and turn a fine tuner - strings started to clash (?).. and i realized the feeing of a good 5th, when returned that fine-tuner back. Next time i could do it myself easily. But still i can't tune the violin so quick by only 1 note when it's out of tune very much... And prefer to use FM's violin tuner when i change strings for example....
Pierre, questions for the drones video:
1) What is an A-drone? Where did it come from?
2) When you play the B, how did you determine what is a B because you still had the A-drone playing on your i-phone?
3) Why didn't you play a B-drone in order to find the B just like you did with the A?
General comments: It is trivial to find the A because you are simply matching some mysterious audible reference that didn't come from your violin. The reference pitch (drone) is the same as the one you are trying to find, therefore the interval is a unison. But when you play the B, thats a different matter and no explanation is given how to find it. The two tones are different so how do you find the correct distance that determines a "correct" B?
Questions for the 'Play natural notes on the G string' video:
1) You ask to use the ear to find the interval between open G and A. But how is that done? Presumably the interval is different than a perfect 5th and therefore Twinkle Twinkle doesn't work.
Again, absent in this discussion is what is a tuning system on a violin? You can't assume equal temperament like a piano and what constitutes a particular note depends on context. A scale is a musical structure of some sort, tuning in reference to scales must be different that a piece with a different harmonic and melodic structure.
I have a hard time hearing the correct notes as well. I downloaded the "Tune Master" app on my iPhone. It seems to be reasonably accurate and I use it especially when I practice scales or when I think a note may be off a little bit. I don't want to be reliant on any device but I also want to be sure to learn the correct sounds.
When I first started, I would play songs with my brother and couldn't hardly tell if we were playing in tune or not. No I can at least tell when we are out of tune.
Pierre, I'm not trying to be trollish but it seems to me at least that "using your ear" is a common statement amongst violinists and it implies innate ability as opposed to developed skill. I guess I'm trying to nail down whether ear training/aural skills (in addition to music theory) are a required upfront necessity before doing practically anything with the violin or not. If you look at the following Wikipedia article, it seems fairly time consuming and nontrivial:
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