Let me preface everything by saying that I am a violinist and I love the instrument and its repertoire very much.
That said, I've had a burning question since I've really started listening to classical music (many years ago). Since the instrument is fretless, there is a practical continuum of pitches (frequencies) that can be played on the instrument. As such, it is virtually impossible to ever play a note in tune since hitting an exact point out of infinitely many doesn't have a high probability.
The goal then, as a violinist, is to play close enough to the "exact" pitch so that the listener cannot distinguish the two. My problem is that no violinist does this to my satisfaction. I don't know if I have unfortunately acute ears or what, but my only violinist friend says I'm pretty insane about this.
Don't get me wrong, I understand we are all human, and in a longer piece with thousands of notes, even the best professionals make mistakes, but it's really more rampant than that. Even the best violinists completely blow certain runs in pieces.
So the goal of this isn't to knock violinists. My question is whether violin pieces are getting too hard. We've all seen the youtube video of a young kid who's playing a piece way above his head and simply plays with poor intonation, making it near unbearable to listen to. There are pieces and passages in popular pieces that do nearly the same thing to professional violinists.
The best (but very unsatisfying response) to this was from my teacher, who has perfect pitch. She said that you just have to accept that that's how the violin is and be lenient towards violinists, especially on harder pieces.
To anyone who's going to say, "but xxx has perfect intonation!" Let me beat you to the punch and say that they don't and probably aren't close. Some professional violinists are certainly better than others in this regard, but I don't want to name names and turn this into an argument beside my point.
Also, I expect someone else to ask if I play in tune. I don't. I'm working on it, but I've basically resigned myself that I will never play in tune even on the relatively extremely easy pieces I am playing (compared to professional pieces).
Am I being unfair? Do I expect an unreasonably high level of perfection from professionals (on recordings and such)? Does anyone else have this problem? Any thoughts? Thanks very much for your input.
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