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The many colors of intonation

January 29, 2010 at 10:08 PM

Last lesson I had my teacher looking expertedly at me after "suffering" through me playing a part of Bach E Major really slowly for intonation (that concerto is really difficult intonation wise) and after explaining several details to me he said: "You know......there are many colors of intonation"

I have realized the truth of his statement only too well after spending chamber practise after chamber practise on tuning the the harmonies we are playing which is pretty difficult considering we are playing a Klezmer styled piece. We spend ages on figuring out what everyone is playing and then we spend ages on tuning the harmony so it sounds perfect. We are all equally guilty in the harmonies sounding untuned. I have certainetly done some great pondering over the last few weeks on where in the world to place my fingers on the string so that the intonation is right. Needless to say I have also improved my intonation a lot in that piece!

It´s been a journey disovering the colors of intonation with our odd combination of instruments (piano, clarinet and string quartet) but it´s been very educating and worthwhile. But there´s still a way to go. Last time we played we managed to mess up spetacularly the last few harmonies of our piece so we sounded like we were trying to play oddball modern music with no specific notes instead of a respectable piece by Prokofiev.

So the journey goes on...both in chamber, orchestra and individually.

The journey of discovering the many colors of intonation right with my tuner and my ears as my weapons.

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