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Karen Allendoerfer

New time sinks

June 1, 2009 at 11:16 AM

I'd been resisting, but I finally joined Facebook.  It was fellow v.commer and blogger Mendy Smith who invited me.  She hadn't been blogging here as much after she moved to Texas, and I figured she was busy with getting settled in.  But it actually might be Facebook.  You can log on there, look up, and find that 30 minutes have passed without realizing it.

I'm a little concerned about my daughter.  The honeymoon period for the new violin seems to be over, and she's getting spring fever.  She knows her pieces for the school concert, Noble Dance and Hotaka Sunset, pretty well now.  The concert is next week and she's tired of practicing them.  Her private teacher, on the other hand, has given her some rhythm exercises, which she really needs, but she doesn't want to practice them either.  It's either too easy (the school music) or too hard (the rhythm exercises).

I continue to be appalled, and somewhat bemused, by my own intonation.  I can hear it better (or worse, depending on your point of view) on my new violin.  The Disney solo is getting better at least.  The conductor smiled at me and gave me the thumbs up the last time we rehearsed it.  I probably shouldn't be surprised anymore when I check a note with the tuner that sounds "a little off" and find out that it's sharp.  Except if I've been playing in a key with a lot of flats that switches into a key with sharps, or even just modulates for a measure, then it's more likely to be flat. 

A number of these POPS pieces have four flats, or more.  I am not used to playing in those keys.  Especially the low 3's in 1st position and the corresponding 1s in 3rd position, and the 1s in 4th position, tend to be out of tune because I just don't know where they are exactly and I don't shift to the right place.  I've been playing the A-flat major scale,  but only with the fingering in the book, and it only has a few stereotyped shifts.  I think I need to design some kind of specialized shifting exercises in that key so that I have a hope of shifting to the right place more reliably. 

What's frustrating is how small a difference there is between in tune and out of tune.  People always talk about how hard the violin is because it is "fretless," but that seems totally beside the point here.  Frets wouldn't help with this.  The difference is usually less than a millimeter, and the scale of frets is much larger.  I already can get in the ballpark, where a fret or finger tape would get me.  But that's not enough.

Posted on June 1, 2009 at 12:19 PM

   I am not used to playing in those keys...

Karen, the cure is quite simple... Less time on facebook and more time on scalebook

From Bart Meijer
Posted on June 1, 2009 at 6:39 PM is here to help: Kreutzer 5, 24, 26, 31, 35 and 37 all have three or more flats. And there is the e flat minor sonata, ascribed to Joseph Haydn. Good luck!

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