Improving pitch/intonation experienced intermediate
Need to get pitch inside +- 5 cents. My pitch is noticably off on solo recordings of practice. Tried ety ear plugs. Strings are old, new in next yrs budget.
You can look for old threads on how to improve intonation. They are plentiful.
Everyone wants to improve their intonation generally so that no matter what you're playing it's just better. But my experience is that the way teachers operate is to identify *particular* intonation errors in the repertoire (and studies, including scales) that you're working on because as you get better intonation errors become less random and more systematic. Teachers want to fix the mistakes you're making repeatedly; everyone commits one-offs. Likewise it'll be hard for people here to help you without hearing you, unless you really want advice like "practice more scales" or "listen to yourself."
I'm going to jump in with a semi-related question: my violin opens up more (has that glorious vibration) when the G, D, A are played a little flat(third finger on the D, A, E strings). If I play with nigh-on perfect intonation with nigh-on perfect tuning of the strings, that vibration/ring is not there as much. Is this something my luthier can adjust? I will ask my teacher, but figured I'd ask here while I'm thinking of it.
Pamela, when you think of something "in tune", are you thinking of pianistic intonation -- i.e., equal tempered? You don't want to use that on the violin, really.
Simon Fischer's _Scales_ has the most systematic treatment of violin intonation I've ever seen (or heard for that matter). If you just get that book and do what he says your intonation will improve A LOT in a matter of weeks.
Masayuki Kino's recordings of violin etude repertoire (Dont, Kreutzer, Kayser, Rode) are a good place to start - his playing is very clear and precise. And then there are his recordings of the Bach sonatas and partitas, and 5 of the Seitz student concertos.
Pamela, a violin string has a slightly higher pitch when bowed, compared to when it is freely vibrating. You can check this for yourself if you use a fast-responding chromatic tuner (e.g. Pano Tuner for iphone and android). That can explain what you're observing. On my violin's A string, the difference is about 2 cents.
Han, do you know of an article discussing the precise frequencies of the overtones? Everything I've ever read always says the first overtone is an octave above, and I'd love to read something that's more correct if it's out there.
A vibrating violin string is not perfectly harmonic, that's probably what's going on. String has finite thickness, there are edge effects, etc. You can either master the physics of it or you can make the systematic empirical adjustments that are particular to your instrument.
Do you know your tendencies? In other words, are you aware of the situations where your pitch is off the most and which direction it tends to go? Record a few samples of yourself and note where the biggest issues are. You likely make those same errors routinely and you'll notice a lot of the same issue over and over. For instance, shifting up a half step, you may hear that you go sharp frequently. Or you may find that 3rd to 4th finger when playing a whole step is too narrow, etc.
When playing, I can't distinguish between 5 cents sharp to 5 cents flat. Using a phone app set to Pythagorean. Thanks all for your suggestions.
I'd think that +/-5 cents is quite ambitious for someone who is, according to the user bio, at RCM 3. (Disclosure: I'm not there myself yet)
Simon Fischer's book indeed describes how to tune your scales, sort of. My problem is that it doesn't really describe its own basis for the choices it advises, and some of the nomenclature is a little convoluted - "Tune midway (Between the last and next note(presumably)) - like a keyboard" -What the hell does that mean?
Its very helpful to make a recording and then play it back at a slow speed. You should be able to notice the intonation errors much better that way. In fact, it can be quite painful to hear them all so clearly! Also play the recording slowly and watch the tuner respond. You'll learn some things from that as well.
Good article on tuning in the new (January 2018) issue of STRINGS magazine. Applicable especially to playing string instruments with piano and or in string ensembles.
I agree with Jason's assessment of Fischer's Scale book. I recently picked it up and am very pleased with how in a short time (few weeks) my intonation has significantly improved. I wouldn't have believed it by just look at it. Definitely not 'just another scale book.'
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