What effect would cause to violin playing if you suddenly go deaf? (violin challenge)
This is a very interesting question, that I've personally been asking myself since I started playing the violin.
First, when you make the violin sound out loud, that is when you start moving the bow, the note is already set, you can't change it, it's too late. So, playing violin is always kind of "guessing" where's the note, and hope that when you move the bow, you're pressing the right spot.
This makes me think that if you suddenly go deaf, or simply manage to don't listen to your own violin, things wouldn't change, in theory. What I mean is that we don't use our ears BEFORE playing the notes, but after, so it's already too late to make any changes to correct a wrong note.
My first question is...
1. Why is such an important thing to be able to know when we're playing in tune or not, if all of that is handy only after we have already played the note?
In other words... how is that helping us, if we can only use those skills once we are already playing the note?
So, at the end is all muscular memory and 0% hearing skills?
Or may be hearing skills help us in practice time to tell us when we are playing in tune, but in the end all of that translates again to muscular memory?
2. What would happen if you play a short piece or a part of a piece, like 1 minute, and then somehow manage to play the same piece but without listening at all to your violin?
Can you do the experiment, record it and tell me, or even post the video, with the results?
One way to "totally mute" your violin could be wearing in-ear headphones, put the piece you want to play at a volume high enough so you can't listen to your violin, and simply play along.
Do you think you would miss a lot of notes, or that you would be alright the first few notes but as soon as you start changing position you would loose it and start missing everything, or that nothing would change?
Comment about these things before and after doing the test.
What I believe is that, in theory, as all those hearing skills come into play too late, when the spot is already selected and you are already moving the bow, there shouldn't be any major differences. But something is telling me that a deaf violinist can't play in tune. That would surprise me since I've already said that the ears come into play once we are already playing the note.
I have to run but I have to say that, before going into your questions, I have to point out that your assumptions seem to me problematic.
Although you can totally question my assumptions, I don't see how the analogy of walking is like playing the violin.
But everyone is quickly adjusting pitches all the time. I agree with Yixi, your assumptions are flawed.
I think without doing your experiment (sorry) that I would start out okay but then as there is more shifting the pitch will become errant. Am I allowed to look at the fingerboard because that will help with my intonation? Intonation will become even more erroneous as I get into positions I'm not familiar with. Keep in mind I judge myself as intermediate to advancing student violinist and I am now curious what advanced, college, and professionals will say to your question. Eventually I suspect all violinists would start sounding out of tune - even Heifetz!
Here's why the assumption is incorrect or at best incomplete. As you use your eyes to tell your brain to tell your feet where to go, you use your inner hearing to tell your brain to tell your fingers where to go. For a beginner, sure, it's guesswork, trial and error, etc. But as you listen and learn, your sense of place/muscle memory on the violin and your sense of pitch/inner hearing begin to synthesize: to the point that you can hear, or audiate , a pitch in your head and your fingers KNOW where to place. Of course there's a continuum where some have further mastery than others :) but very definitely it is not guesswork, it's an understanding, that can become more or less innate, of what motion/placement will produce the desired result.
I'm sorry,but what do you guys mean by "adjusting the pitch"?
vibrato... just kidding.
Tim, in a fast piece, if you're noticing that a note is slightly off, you get feedback that your hand position along the fingerboard needs to be adjusted to get the next note in tune or the next time you hit that note. Without that feedback, the tuning would drift more and more, up to the point where you can tell from watching the fingers or feeling either end of the neck. I find it hard to believe that a skilled violinist can get better than 5 cents accurate intonation from long-term muscle memory alone, regardless of warming-up and fatigue. Five cents is 1 mm for 1st finger in first position and less in higher positions.
Tim, good violinists are making corrections all the time. If you can't hear it, that's simply an indication of how good and fast they are at it. A good player is doing lots of things which are beyond the ability of the average listener to perceive.
It's various kinds of fully attentive slow practice that teaches the fingers to "drop" on the right spots when playing fast. The corrections are quick and minute.
I think your assumptions about deafness are wrong, as well.
Even with your own speech your brain makes constant adjustments according to what it is hearing. Not only the strength but also the intonation and accents, the roundness and fricatives. All goes too fast to register it consciously. See what happens to people who become deaf: Speech deteriorates very fast and they have to do a lot of exercises to try to keep the muscle memory of speaking alive. And even then, it becomes a deaf-person speaking sound.
OP: "One way to "totally mute" your violin could be wearing in-ear headphones, put the piece you want to play at a volume high enough so you can't listen to your violin, and simply play along."
Oh wow, that is even harder than I was thinking, the headphones are not even playing the tune you're playing, but a different one. Nonetheless I still don't know if he was able to listen to his violin.
This video tells us again that we can walk with eyes closed for as long as it's safe. It's not safe as we all know that. Tim, I think if you read about the science behind motor learning and "muscle memory" (procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition), you may find good answers to your questions.
By the time adults have finished analyzing everything, children are already playing the Tchaikovsky concerto : )
As I often rant to my students, even the highest-level professionals don't hit every note correctly; they simply fix the note faster than you can perceive it as being wrong, combined with the fact that their note landed very closely to its intended position in the first place.
1. go nuts
Can any of you guys do the experiment and tell me how good in tune you were?
Your approach is wrong. Its not less violin volume, but more "compressed" background music(noise) and not having compression on the violin or voice, this will affect your intonation when wearing headphones.
Have you ever heard a person singing or whistling with headphones on, totally out of tune, thats where your player will be before long.