FORUM

Please have a look at our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —






— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

No permission to create posts
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Intonation Fables
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
August 31, 2011 - 10:58 am
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I am probably a radical for my thoughts about intonation but I think it is a terribly abused word.  I suspect that many think that intonation refers to someone who can almost magically produce perfect pitch with the related advantage of exceptional music talent. 

According to me, that is mainly bull-pucky.  I score violin playing as 80% motor skills and 20% musical ability.

I just happened on a site (below) where the author acknowledges the motor memory aspect and I could not agree more. (para. 5)  (I'm sure that should be "not BY ear").  Note also the author prepares a mental map of where the notes will be found (on the keyboard grid)(para. 4).  That says to me, "Put your fingers where the notes are and the musical part will happen which IS the sequence for all violin music ever played.

 

http://www.theviolinsite.com/i.....ation.html

coffee2

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

Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
August 31, 2011 - 11:32 am
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

My point is that pitch accuracy happens AFTER a note is sounded, not before.  The finger(s) make the music, not the ear.  Intonation is what happens, not what we do.

If I may paraphrase FiddlerMan, he said he hated to give up first position because it acted as his (thumb) base ….. for what? …….. physical frame of reference on the keyboard?  Why not?

coffee2

If there is a marked note on a keyboard and it is sounded by a professional, a student, and a casual observer, they will all play the same note…. maybe not as sweetly but perhaps all identifiable on a tuning meter.  All they need is good aim.

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

Avatar
myguitarnow
Laguna Beach
Pro advisor
Members

Regulars
August 31, 2011 - 9:16 pm
Member Since: June 15, 2011
Forum Posts: 1094
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

And a tuned piano 😉 I think pitch happens right on the downbeat, not before or after. I also believe our ears or what we hear in our heads make the music and our fingers just play what we hear. With string instruments like the violin we have options to change a notes feeling with many techniques. But then again I havn't slept in 2 days. Great day at the studio today 😉

Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
August 31, 2011 - 9:22 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

The great violinist Heifitz said ..... "I do not always play in tune, I just fix it quicker than anyone else"  An honest man and great violinist !  smilesmile

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

Avatar
myguitarnow
Laguna Beach
Pro advisor
Members

Regulars
August 31, 2011 - 10:02 pm
Member Since: June 15, 2011
Forum Posts: 1094
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I understand... Great quote!

Avatar
pky
Members

Regulars
September 1, 2011 - 12:04 am
Member Since: July 5, 2011
Forum Posts: 966
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Oliver said:

My point is that pitch accuracy happens AFTER a note is sounded, not before.  The finger(s) make the music, not the ear.  Intonation is what happens, not what we do.

Oliver, i totally agree with your statements. However, the ears help fingers to find the right spot, the brain helps the finger/muscle to memorize the right spot. So, it is a team work, not just ears, finger, muscles, or brain.

 

Like the guy you said he played off key in the "frustration waltz," his ears didn't help, so his fingers couldn't find the right spot. He brain helps, so he has great techniques. 

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 1, 2011 - 2:55 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11694

This is a great discussion.

One thing that I would like to emphasize is that we ALL play out of tune. Please don't get offended if you ever post a video and I mention intonation. We all need to hear someone say that we are playing out of tune once in a while since it forces us to focus on intonation even more. I have never heard myself play on a recording without judging my intonation negatively. It boils down to how much imperfection can we accept for ourselves. We need to be aware of intonation and MUSIC at the same time. When we play slower, it is easier to fix our intonation.

What Oliver says is extremely true. Motor skills will place our fingers closer to the right spot and our ears will help us in correcting it.

Vibrato is actually a good way to camouflage intonation since we pivot to and below the note. Chances are that we are coming closer this way.

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

Avatar
myguitarnow
Laguna Beach
Pro advisor
Members

Regulars
September 1, 2011 - 3:28 am
Member Since: June 15, 2011
Forum Posts: 1094
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Amen, one of my favorite guitar players never played anything in tune but his motor skills brought his hands to the right position...Love ya always Jimi Hendrix!

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 1, 2011 - 4:06 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11694

myguitarnow said:

Amen, one of my favorite guitar players never played anything in tune but his motor skills brought his hands to the right position...Love ya always Jimi Hendrix!

LOL, there you go. jimi-hendrix

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

Avatar
David Burns
Winfield, Missouri
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
September 1, 2011 - 6:05 am
Member Since: June 24, 2011
Forum Posts: 425
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Fiddlerman said:

This is a great discussion.

One thing that I would like to emphasize is that we ALL play out of tune. Please don't get offended if you ever post a video and I mention intonation. We all need to hear someone say that we are playing out of tune once in a while since it forces us to focus on intonation even more. I have never heard myself play on a recording without judging my intonation negatively. It boils down to how much imperfection can we accept for ourselves. We need to be aware of intonation and MUSIC at the same time. When we play slower, it is easier to fix our intonation.

What Oliver says is extremely true. Motor skills will place our fingers closer to the right spot and our ears will help us in correcting it.

Vibrato is actually a good way to camouflage intonation since we pivot to and below the note. Chances are that we are coming closer this way.

 

Isn't it too late to fix your intonation when you hear a note you are playing that is off? I guess you can work on it when the next phrase comes around and try harder to hit the right note. I have been working on "The Star Spangled Banner" All natural notes. Having trouble with B and C on the A string. A little trouble with F on the E string. Got my left hand backed up to the peg box. It does sound better though. I would like to go crazy and play it like Hendrix, that would be a hoot.

 

Dave

Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
September 1, 2011 - 8:40 am
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Food for thought .......... if an orchestra member can not hear his own violin during some passage (due to french horns!), does he:

1) Stop playing.
2) Fake it.
3) Continue playing by muscle memory.

dunno  ??????????

 

coffee2

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

Avatar
SaraO
Michigan
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
September 1, 2011 - 8:42 am
Member Since: August 11, 2011
Forum Posts: 556
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Well, when I was in a youth orchestra years ago, I would either choose option 2 or 3. You've got to keep that bow moving! serenade

Avatar
pky
Members

Regulars
September 1, 2011 - 4:17 pm
Member Since: July 5, 2011
Forum Posts: 966
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Here's an origin of a Chinese proverb:

In ancient China, there's an emperor who liked to listen to an wind instrument, Yu. He especially liked to listen to them when a group of Yu players played together. There's a guy who tried to make a living and joined the emperor's Yu group. He servived in the group by pretending he could play well. When the emperor passed away, his son took over. The new emperor also liked to listen to Yu, but he preferred to listen to it when it was played alone so he had his Yu players do solos. When the guy heard the news, he fred the group.

The meaning of this proverb is…contribute nothing except number for the group but undetected because of others.

the moral of the story is...practice makes perfect, even if you made a few mistakes while playing with a group, you wouldn't be the guy who played Yu -- just there for the number and $$$wink

Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
September 1, 2011 - 5:07 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

You who don't practice enough will share the fate of the Yu who didn't.

(I don't know if that is the moral or not but it sort of rhymes)

I give up!  The moral is     ???????

coffee2

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

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 1, 2011 - 5:27 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11694
15sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Well the real answer is that you continue playing without hearing. It happens all the time. On the other hand, if you can't hear yourself chances are that no one can.

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

Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
September 1, 2011 - 5:50 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
16sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

I consider that a very neat trick to play with other (loud) instruments.  At one time I was playing church music with a french horn, another violin and a clarinet but I made the horn sit on the other side of the church along with the clarinet. 
Some people got wise and changed their usual seat to the "strings" side of the church.

coffee2

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

Avatar
4loveofmusic05
New member
Members
September 2, 2011 - 12:26 pm
Member Since: September 1, 2011
Forum Posts: 2
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
17sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

A very wise band director of mine once said, "Life is a constant period of adjustment." Thank you, Crist. This is true both in life and in music...which for me is my life! Practice and more practice could give you the best shot at still sounding good even though you can't hear, but chances are you won't quite sound the same if you can't hear it because your fingers are constantly adjusting while you play. It becomes a second nature after you play for so long. I can not say as much on the violin necessarily because I'm just learning, but I know it is that way with every other instrument I've ever played. Be it the clarinet or a guitar, you have to adjust to get the desired sound. I can place my finger over a hole on the clarinet and say, I'm going to play an F, but without having tuned my instrument or having adjusted the pressure and placement of my mouth as I should...the instrument could play Sharp, Flat, or not at all. It could just let out a high shreek! My point is, that as musicians we constantly adjust, and it is not simply the ear or the fingers...it becomes an automatic response by all parts. So, if you truly can't hear yourself play, then play anyway. I love the Chinese proverb, pky. Don't fake it, make it!

Avatar
pky
Members

Regulars
September 2, 2011 - 4:41 pm
Member Since: July 5, 2011
Forum Posts: 966
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
18sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

To me, since my pikies are so short when it's indicated that I need to use my 4th finger I have to hop (or should I slide instead?) my fingers so I could play the right sound. However, when I move my finger back to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd finger, I probably and very likely to play off key. Any suggestions?

Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
September 2, 2011 - 5:43 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
19sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Yeah, you have defined one of the major problems.  It is the music, in effect, pulling you ( and everybody) out of tune.  I have very long pinkies and will return to a sharp position every time if I don't pay attention.

There is no magic.  The notes rule and they are where they are. 

Some teachers stress the idea of keeping as many fingers down on a string as possible in order to "guard" position.  That is not the same thing you are talking about, but it's related.

I said, somewhere, that playing the violin IMHO is mostly muscle memory and I might be right wink

coffee2

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

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 2, 2011 - 6:27 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11694
20sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Have you ever measured yourself for the correct fiddle size. You have mentioned on several occasions that you have short arms and small fingers. Please visit my "What size violin should I get?" link and check that. Maybe you are better off on a 3/4 size violin.

violin

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

No permission to create posts
Forum Timezone: America/New_York

Most Users Ever Online: 231

Currently Online:
34 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today lakelivr
Upcoming HeadCheese, Mad_Wed, ButteryStuffs, harvestman, fiddlinmama, kit, makinnoise

Top Posters:

coolpinkone: 3755

Mad_Wed: 2849

Barry: 2661

Fiddlestix: 2637

Oliver: 2439

DanielB: 2379

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 1

Members: 3554

Moderators: 0

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 16

Forums: 56

Topics: 6441

Posts: 80306

Newest Members:

Mukundan, MyMing, dbsimon, stirlingite771, mdedmon, coreshanethi

Administrators: Fiddlerman: 11694, KindaScratchy: 1651