From Kheenan Walkins
Posted January 3, 2013 at 06:27 AM
Is there any course of exercises that someone could recommend that I can go through to sort of build a mental map of the fingerboard?
I have Carl Flesh's scale book, but I play those exercises by "ear" and not very well. I just sort of know what the third octave would sound like based on the first 2 but I have no idea really what note I'm playing at any given time.
Also, get suzuki book 1 and play all the songs in 2nd position. Then in 4th, 5th, 6th. Then an octave higher.
That's what helped me. Hope it helps you!
From a purely technical standpoint, playing the next note is "simply" a matter of knowing how far away it is from the current one. This is the justification for knowing your intervals!
You can also try actually playing the octave -- move your fourth finger to where the note is, then put down the first finger on the lower string, and sound the octave, and see if that helps your note identification.
You might find playing one-finger scales, both in the various keys and chromatic, to be helpful. Watch the fingerboard when you do it, so you have a visual reference, too.
As for the comment about my ear being the problem I highly doubt that. I can play octaves and scales and all that. It is just that when I move out of first and third positions I have pretty much no idea what the note names are. They are however in tune for the most part, and when they're not I can tell.
The idea about one finger scales seem like they might be useful for my issue as well so i'll add that.
I started trying hard to say the note names in my head when I play the scale exercises from the flesch book so I think I'll combine all that.
Thanks for all the suggestions :). Even more would be appreciated.
What do you think about this?
What if I play "scales" in this fashion
on the A string
ABC#D, BC#DE, C#DEF#, DEF#G# etc with my first finger on the first note of each group?
I'll try it anyway, but if the people before me tried it before me and have a more developed method I'm all ears. I'm only now starting to attack this problem specifically, and I'd hate to be beating at the air. All the advice I got so fare was really helpful though.
EDIT: I just realised that it was you who recommended playing basic material in higher positions. I tried that this evening with some hymns in third and for the first time I knew where I was putting my fingers and could pick notes on demand. Thanks a lot for that suggestion! :D
Here are the things you are thinking about, in addition to all the other violin things. You learned this when you learned first position, and again in 3rd and second. Now do it again, up high.
1.Where the notes are-spacing is closer up there
2.Which fingers play which notes
3.Tone production-the bow behaves differently up there
4.Which note is the one seven lines above the staff
Did I leave out anything? Feel free to add.
Playing easy songs up high takes care of #1 and #3, Scales and arpeggios take care of #2. When you've got a solid foundation of 1, 2, and 3, get out some etudes (Kreutzer) and play only the high parts. Or get one of the books of orchestral excerpts from Shar. Work on connecting 1,2,3 with 4. Then you're good to go.
(BTW, Sevcik never worked for me because I would just play by ear and have no idea what notes I was playing. And it sounded ugly too. Whistler Introducing the Positions was more helpful, but it doesn't go up very high and it doesn't move around between positions enough.)
ie: take any scale and play its notes ONLY in that one position (ascending and descending) then move to the next position.
thanks for this thread very good.
amongst all things: don't worry, it will come, I am at around same level as you and felt the same until not very long ago and I just kept doing the exercises my teacher told me to do, now I am a whole lot better and confident with this.
All this tranposed by semitones (all the half positions).
Later, 4-note patterns (1234321, 1324312, etc) up one string staying in the chosen key.
1. As you practice 2 or 3 octave scales in Flesch, say the name of the notes as you play each one. If you play scales slowly, then faster, start by saying the notes, and when you repeat at a faster tempo, think the note clearly in your mind. If you can't think of it, stop and work on it.
2. I published a music exercise book called, Arpeggios, Rhythms and Scales. Among other things, it contains arpeggio exercises with several fingerings that can be repeatedly used in all 12 keys - major and minor. As a simple example, in the 1-3-1-3 fingering pattern, 1 is the root, 3 is the third (major or minor), 1 on the next string is the fifth, and 3 is the 7th (major or minor) of the scale. Other interval relations are also systematic. You need more than one fingering pattern to know where you are on the fingerboard because the first finger may not be on the root. The book has 5 or 6 patterns that can be used in any key. Once you know 3 or 4 of the patterns, it is much easier to know where you are and where you are going on the fingerboard. The book costs less than one violin lesson. Its available at Amazon and other book stores.
Please consider supporting Violinist.com by becoming a sponsor, and reaching our dedicated community of violin professionals, students and fans!