A little background: I am an adult beginner violinist. I have been playing for a few weeks, and am working on various studies, half a dozen two octave scales, various bowing exercises, string crossing and arpeggios, and a concertino piece by Millies. I have an excellent teacher. Though very new to violin I have an extensive musical background, mostly on piano at an advanced level. I practice violin around 2 hours a day, usually in lots of short bursts of around 10-15 minutes. Practice is focussed on particular objectives (ie I ado not practice mistakes!).
My problem: it is evident to me, and to my teacher, that I am tending to play a little sharp. This especially applies to the A and E strings, and is perhaps especially evident as tempo increases.
This is not necessarily a finger placement issue though, that usually affects beginners. Rather, I think that what I hear as being "in tune" or at least close enough to being in-tune, is in fact a little sharp.
I established this last night by playing the Millies piece (which is in Dmaj to start with) very slowly with a high end Korg needle dial chromatic tuner in front of me. The open strings are perfectly in tune.
However, In first position, I am typically 20cents sharp and sometimes as much as 40 cents sharp on the dial. In normal playing I may very well find around 20cents sharp sounds to me to be in-tune. Hence, in correcting my playing, going by ear alone, I am correcting to notes that are in fact slightly sharp.
You must remember here that I have spent thousands of hours sat at a piano - which has tempered tuning (of which there are several stretch variations) - and so my ear and mental perception may well be affected by that?
It is evident that my teacher achieves far better intonation than me (of course), but I wish to find a way of practicing correctly right from the beginning of my violin studies, so that I do not have to go back and correct things later. I read stories on forums of players struggling with intonation for years. Poor note accuracy is not acceptable for me.
Has anyone tried re-trauining their ear by playing the violin with an electronic tuner (I use a Korg GT-12) on all the time and aiming to be within say plus or minus 5-10 cents of perfectly in tune? Or is there a better method?
I am aware that violinists vary their intonation slightly to suit the key. However, despite a web search I do not yet really understand this or indeed how you do this in practice.
Any advice would be very much appreciated.
PS: this "discovery" occurred shortly after my last lesson. I will of course discuss it with my teacher next time I see her.
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