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Drone tones
How can drone tones be used to improve intonation most efficiently?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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Strabo
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October 11, 2021 - 5:52 am
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I'm working on a short-term project to determine if it is likely that I can develop basic fiddle proficiency in a reasonable time. I understand that this sounds quite subjective, but I think I have a clear sense of the skill level that I'm looking for and the time that I'm willing to invest.

Good intonation is a fundamental and necessary skill. In order to justify a longer term commitment to the fiddle, I need to develop intonation that does not distract from the music being played. That's the standard that I need to meet. (Of course there are other necessary skills, but right now I'm thinking about intonation.)

Current circumstances do not permit regular lessons with a teacher so I use some of the many available online resources. I have had good success as a self-taught musician on other instruments so I think I understand the learning process.

Drone tones seem to be a good way to train intonation skills, something like training wheels on a bike. Presumably at some point I'll be able to remove or minimize the use of the training wheels. 

I use the Fiddlerman tones for scales, arpeggios, double stops, and a few simple songs in basic fiddle keys. I also record my performance with and without the drones. That gives me some rough measurement of my progress.

What am I missing? Are there other or better ways to use the drones?

If more experienced fiddlers here know of ways that I can make this process more productive and efficient, I will appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks!

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stringy
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October 11, 2021 - 8:05 am
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Personally I would forget double stops for the time being, if you haven’t got a good grasp of intonation, being able to hear the correct notes you will set yourself back a long long time, to use double stops both notes have to be perfect.

Training your ears unfortunately can take quite a long time, This is one of the arts of learning fiddle, maybe the greatest,this of course depends on the person but usually it’s a slow process, the worlds greatest violinists still practice intonation all the time.

There are lots of ways to do it, I was told to learn to sing scales perfectly, which I didn’t do. Other people use the ringing tones as a guide which is what Most people do. Ringing notes are g,d,a, and e, and to a much lesser extent b, once you can hear these notes it becomes easier to fit in the others, when you hit these notes bang on, the difference can be plainly heard, between sharp and flat, they can’t even be a couple of cents out and it stands out a mile, long slow scales are very useful. You could use a tuner, play the note d or any of the other ringing ones, when it perfect on the tuner remember the sound and play it without to see how close you are, another way is to check the note you are playing against an open string, for instance play d on the a string at the same time as playing the d string open. My own intonation started to improve after about a year, but you also have to master the bow as well as thousands of other things, others on here may have different ideas and their own way, and I could be wrong. Don’t try to run before you can walk, everyone goes through the same problems, don’t pressure yourself to much, don’t try to learn to many pieces of music, stick to a couple of very simple tunes, play each single note slowly and in tune, practice every day even if only a couple of minutes. Get your hand used to the frames, muscle memory plays a big part.

I along with everyone else on here play lots of different instruments, but violin, or viola tend to become an obsession, for me at least.

long winded but hope it helps

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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ABitRusty
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October 11, 2021 - 11:28 am
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Strabo said
I'm working on a short-term project to determine if it is likely that I can develop basic fiddle proficiency in a reasonable time. I understand that this sounds quite subjective, but I think I have a clear sense of the skill level that I'm looking for and the time that I'm willing to invest.

Good intonation is a fundamental and necessary skill. In order to justify a longer term commitment to the fiddle, I need to develop intonation that does not distract from the music being played. That's the standard that I need to meet. (Of course there are other necessary skills, but right now I'm thinking about intonation.)

Current circumstances do not permit regular lessons with a teacher so I use some of the many available online resources. I have had good success as a self-taught musician on other instruments so I think I understand the learning process.

Drone tones seem to be a good way to train intonation skills, something like training wheels on a bike. Presumably at some point I'll be able to remove or minimize the use of the training wheels. 

I use the Fiddlerman tones for scales, arpeggios, double stops, and a few simple songs in basic fiddle keys. I also record my performance with and without the drones. That gives me some rough measurement of my progress.

What am I missing? Are there other or better ways to use the drones?

If more experienced fiddlers here know of ways that I can make this process more productive and efficient, I will appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks!

  

@Strabo I think youre using them as intended and cant think of anything you may be missing as far as using them as a learning tool.  If youre already playing tunes on one instrument, espwcially fretted ones maybe add recording yourself playing a tune you know on that and play your fiddle to it, even with a drone friendly to that tune.  that may be something to add.

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ELCBK
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October 11, 2021 - 1:58 pm
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@Strabo -

I'm a little confused, so I may be way off base if you guys are using 'guitar speak' to fake me out. 

🤔 Just not so sure hearing a drone helps - it's only one note.  

Now, I understand playing along with a recording of the tune, to learn and memorize - or a backing track for the beat, but our ears still need to learn to tell our fingers if they're in the right spot... cause we all know it doesn't take much to be off.

I think ear training might be a tiny bit more important than muscle memory - if you want to fast-track... IMHO.  I try to make it more of a point to listen to every note.  Maybe check against open strings, but check against a tuner. 

Not sure anyone has 'perfect' intonation - think after all the muscle memory's good, it's going to boil down to how fast your ears can detect when you're out and how fast you can correct it. 

Maybe like magic - quicker than the eye...er ear. (lol)

 

 

...boy, my ears let me know I'm out - all the time. (lol) 

- Emily

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ABitRusty
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October 11, 2021 - 2:34 pm
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Just not so sure hearing a drone helps - it's only one note.  

eh..think we are talking about more than one note... usually backing track..look up fiddlehed or darol anger on this.  if talking about one note idk.

 

this is from the cello drone cd shared on the forum somewhere....

The Cello Drones CD contains drones on all 12 chromatic pitches for tuning and improvisation in major, minor, modal, and scales of your own creation. Each track is approximately 6 minutes in length and consists of 5 sustained tones: 3 octaves of the tonic (the fundamental scale tone) and 2 octaves of the 5th. Software techniques have been used to ensure pitch accuracy. A = 440 Hz.

but if no help playing with...then no help...

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ELCBK
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October 11, 2021 - 4:05 pm
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https://i.pinimg.com/originals/d7/d4/29/d7d429894225f32b0d693827225a0cdc.gif

Well, pretty sure I misunderstood. 

Sorry!

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Ripton
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October 11, 2021 - 5:53 pm
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@Fiddlerman has a video on this subject. I recently stumbled on it and it has been a new tool in my toolbox that I use during every practice session (but not exclusively). Wish O could figure out how to send a link to you for this. It uses open strings. 

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Ripton
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ABitRusty
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October 11, 2021 - 7:50 pm
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theres also this one that is similar to the cello drones but with a violin playing drones instead.  Think i like cello or lower registers to play along with.. at this point im not sure if the OP was about playing an open string drone or the drone tracks.  lol.  Both are useful, especially checking fingering while playing.  The tracks are really helpful playing scales or improvising.

 

Heres the fiddlerman track page from at the top.  tracks are at bottom of page if people arent aware.

https://fiddlerman.com/fiddle-.....ing-tools/

 

cello drone tracks

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ELCBK
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October 11, 2021 - 11:28 pm
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@Ripton , @ABitRusty -

Both of the Fiddlerman Videos are excellent - really like how he stresses listening & repeating the note when you have it right.   

I see there are many Cello drones - maybe that would come in handy if I had trouble with a particular note, but then again, think I'd probably rather use the tuner.

Maybe I'm just tired tonight, cause bottom line, I'd still rather check against an open string - hearing that drone while I'm playing other notes is just distracting 'to me'.  So, think I actually understood, after all. 

I think of backing tracks more for beat, maybe harmony and since 1 note is not played constantly, it doesn't bother me. 

Thinking about the ref to use a drone for improve - I'll have to keep that in mind, but I have a strong feeling I'd get more out of listening to chords for that purpose.

Thanks for helping me with this! 

 

@Strabo -

Sorry, afraid I didn't help you with anything. 

 

 

Great, now I can't stop thinking about Indian Classical Music!

- Emily

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ABitRusty
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October 12, 2021 - 8:26 am
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@elcbk the tracks are more power chords than individual notes.. just wanted to point that out and they are designed for more than just the note that is listed in track name.  Its not intended for you to play the C tra k when playing a C note then play the D track when playing the D note.  The track name is the tonic or root of a scale..it seems like thats a tripping up point.  whether they are useful or not is a personal decison and isnt right or wrong...just whatever works.  Theyre just another tool like looking at a tuner to see if note is flat or sharp or using an open string.  

listening to a backing track with different chords will feel more like a song for sure.  but may lead you in a certain direction depending on the chord structure.  playing just the drone track will leave things more open to you and may give you more possiblities.  again just different and something to consider.

and yes I suppose you can relate to Indian Classical Music...or Irish Scottish...or movie soundtracks.  

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ELCBK
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October 12, 2021 - 8:49 am
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@ABitRusty -

Thank you! 

It's obvious I need to look into this more. 😊

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Strabo
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October 12, 2021 - 8:55 am
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Excellent comments, thanks very much!

Fiddlerman's drone video is quite good. It's simpler than using the recorded done tracks and does not require making sure the violin matches the track's pitch. 

It's probably a good idea to forget the double stops -- a holdover from mandolin!

And my greatest challenge is to GO SLOW! I think that's especially important in training the ear. But gosh, it's so tempting to pick up the pace and have some fun! 

Again, many thanks. You're a good bunch!

Strabo

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Fiddlerman
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October 14, 2021 - 2:15 pm
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@Strabo - Good luck determining if your proficiency will be satisfying. I understand your thinking. I also agree at the importance of acceptable intonation for self enjoyment.

I'd like to read updates on your progress from time to time. Thanks for the post.

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

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