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Violin and Fiddle Instruction Online - Intonation


Go to General Notation

Due to the fretless nature of the violin, perception of intonation is left entirely up to the player's ear. A note that is perfectly in tune will pick up on the violins natural resonance and will sound bright and lively. A light touch upon the strings will enable a quick correction to the true pitch. Intonation is best acquired through a relaxed hand that can instantly adjust its position. Excessive bow and left hand pressure will stretch the string causing the pitch to rise and the accuracy of fingering will become faulty.

The following exercise in intonation uses the open strings as references to the correct pitch. This method quickly lets one establish where notes corresponding to an open string lie on the fingerboard.
Check that fingers are fully relaxed when playing the whole notes.

This following exercise will help bring about the correct intonation for the notes E, B and F#. When these notes are sounded in unison with the open string above them, a sweet and strong tone is produced.
Check that thumb is not squeezing the neck after each fingered note.

Once the basics of intonation have been achieved it is much easier to begin the practice of scales.
An old technique for practicing bowing and tone production is know as the son Filé, the long sustained tone. Here the player aims at mastery of the long bow stroke with the continuity of a notes resonance. Practice the following scale, G Major, with son filé

Slurred notes use the same long bowing technique with the addition of two or more notes within the same stroke. Try the next exercise checking on the open strings that the left hand if fully relaxed.

Slurred notes, three per bow stroke.

Slurred notes, four per bow stroke.

Practice piece for the week.


General Notation


Assuming there are four beats to the bar

A whole-note is played once on the first beat,
for the duration of the bar.
A half-note is played once on every second beat,
for the duration of two beats.
A quarter-note is played once on every beat,
for the duration of one beat.
An eighth-note is played twice for every beat,
for the duration of one half beat.
An sixteenth-note is played four times for every beat,
for the duration of one quarter beat.

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