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What is your way of learning intonation in pieces?
I usually work in layers. I am an amateur, practice 1 h daily and play all pieces with piano. My principle is following:
1. I go through the piece, and select the places I think are difficult.
2. I insert these into Finale Notepad and practice these lots and lots together with the program on high volume.
3. I play with recordings to fix also unnoticed problems.
4. And then I play simply the piece with my pianist. Of course, a lot of difficult places stay difficult, but gets better with time.
I do OK with intonation if I remember three things:
My natural aim at notes is very slightly flat. I find it effective to aim sharp and simply roll back ( if the piece is slow enough ). Otherwise, I'll think "sharp" and that seems to work for faster passages.
I need to remember that note separations are closer in higher positions, particularly the chromatics.
I try to keep my fingers (tips) at right angles to strings instead of laying down. I don't know why this should work but I can hear the difference.
If I do not "hear" the note before I play it, I'm likely to make a bad placement so knowing the music is a given.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
As a total beginner, I've just been improvising along with familiar pieces. Preferably ones that let me use lots of open strings and don't have a violin part already. It's certainly not helping me learn the correct fingering for first position, but learning the correlation between distance and pitch is important too.
I've noticed that some of the music download sites offer mp3 accompaniment files that you can play along with. These are helpful if you are a beginner or are playing an unfamiliar piece that just isn't making sense. There are also music books with CD accompaniments (if you play these on the computer you can change the tempo).
Another way of developing (or fine tuning) intonation is doing scales while checking each note against a chromatic tuner. We did this in Orchestra and my daughter also does so in band. In fact it's possibly the most hated exercises by music students. . It's tedious and frankly boring but it works well.
Traditional Fiddle Intonation vs. Classical Violinist Intonation Thread
Unlike on a piano, we can adjust our pitch intervals to what sounds best - just like singers!
Seems to me you can keep your instrument tuned a certain way and learn to place your fingers in specific spots, but ultimately - intonation is going to depend on who, or what, you are playing along with. So, I feel it's important to be able to listen, to adjust intonation.
For solo music on bowed string instruments - intonation can be an expressive tool. Strategically played notes that are slightly flat or slightly sharp can help draw attention to something that needs to be emphasized, enhance a mood.
I've got my hands full memorizing different tunes - many with microtones 🥴, so lately I find I have to do a 'test run' at the beginning of a piece I'm practicing - to remind myself of any 'unusual' notes I want to play.
So. Today was the first day that the temperature reached 82 degrees in northern United States. I found that the changing temperature and humidity has a big effect on the way your violin plays.
After having THREE GLASSES OF MY FAVORITE BEER to celebrate the warm weather and then going directly into a practice session, I found that my intonation was way off and my bowing technique was just out the window.
What else could it possibly be other than the weather?
I'll try it again tomorrow.
Have a great spring everyone!
Violin ---- the most human of all instruments
I find that I need music to get my intonation on track. I usually start out with some scales and arpeggios, and the intonation is often a little sloppy. When I wear out my patience and start to play real music, my intonation seems to come back.
I do use open strings to check my accuracy while I’m playing. Double stops are common in old time music so the check with open strings fits right in.
I know that I really, really should spend 50% of my time playing scales like Yehudi Menuhin recommended, but if I did that I’d be a horrible grump and I’d probably smash my fiddle to smithereens over somebody’s head, haha.