Improving fiddle intonation

Improving fiddle intonation

I recently came across this video of Lora Staples from Virtual Sheet Music explaining how to get perfect intonation on a violin. I found it amazingly useful.

Every now and again I think my fiddle is out of tune, only to find, after checking, that it isn’t; it’s my fingers that are out of tune - particularly when crossing from D on the A string to the open E. The method Laura describes (she says it’s part of the Suzuki method) is to listen for other strings vibrating in sympathy with the played note. It’s an unmistakable sound - it’s as though you’ve suddenly turned on reverb.

Like any new skill, you have to start slowly; but once you get it, it adds a new dimension to your playing.

https://youtu.be/fyqzXnZjjHE

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

Also, playing your D on the A string, while actually sounding the open D (3rd string), will also tell you if are out of tune.

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

my first violin teacher did not tell me this for four years - which made the next one assume I was tone deaf when I started with her.

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

Yes, Jim, that’s so. But what I get from this method is more than just ensuring my fingering of D is in tune. It asks me to listen for a ringing, reverb sound that you get when other strings are vibrating in sympathy. Once I get that sound I know I’m in tune; I don’t have to check against an open string. And the sound is so much better that it makes playing fundamentally more enjoyable.

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

Yes exactly, when you hit a note just right it sounds more resonant, a distinct timbre.

When I was trying to learn fiddle years ago I noticed this effect and mentioned it to my teacher. Her eyes lit up and she said "Yes! So you can hear it! That’s how you know."

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

Yes, Jim, that’s so. But what I get from this method is more than just ensuring my fingering of D is in tune. It asks me to listen for a ringing, reverb sound that you get when other strings are vibrating in sympathy. Once I get that sound I know I’m in tune; I don’t have to check against an open string. And the sound is so much better that it makes playing fundamentally more enjoyable.

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

I seem to have posted the same thing twice. Not sure how that happened.

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

"I seem to have posted the same thing twice. Not sure how that happened."

You said it so perfectly that it his the resonant frequency of the discussion board and set up a reverberation.

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

That tickled me, Creadur 😆

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

@Creadur, witty indeed! 👍☺️

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

Solid solid one Craedur

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

The biggest break-through for me on fiddle was that after I finger a note I can still tweak it to perfection as the note is being played. You can hear a lot of fiddlers & classical violinists do this if you listen closely. Good singers also do this.

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

Yes, and Stéphane Grappelli of course;- he slid in and out of nearly every note,- ‘tweaking’ at its greatest.

Posted by .

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

You’ll see good violinists hit a chord, fingering multiple notes at once, and right away a finger might glide down a tiny fraction to bring the 3rd down from its ET place to its JI place.

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

@ CreadurMawnOrganig. Methinks you may have been spending too much time watching those physics nerds on "The Big Bang Theory". That last comment sounded like something Sheldon would have said.

Posted by .

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

There is nothing better than the first book of Sevcik, Op,1, left hand exercises in first position. Do the first 4 or 5 exercises, for each string. Follow the pattern he sets up…. The change in intonation is almost immediate.

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

@Stellarlute

//There is nothing better than the first book of Sevcik, Op,1, left hand exercises in first position. Do the first 4 or 5 exercises, for each string. Follow the pattern he sets up…. The change in intonation is almost immediate.//

Totally agree. Exercise #5 is a classic.

Get it free here :

https://imslp.simssa.ca/files/imglnks/usimg/c/c6/IMSLP24975-School_of_Violin_Technique_Op.1_Book1_for_Violin.pdf

Re: Improving fiddle intonation

Good lord, that is one crap tune!