Thoughts on practicing intonation by playing along with playback
So I've been convinced that looking at a tuner for improving intonation is at the very least insufficient. It's also pretty frustrating, because you're adjusting your sound to the visual feedback of the tuner, so you don't even necessarily hear an improvement, but just see it.
With that in mind, I've moved on to another crutch(?): Practicing scales along with violin playback (no vibrato). In this way I actually hear when I'm out of tune, so I'm not just seeing it. This makes it so that I have to figure out whether I'm too sharp of flat, and I'm actually listening instead of looking.
A variation on this kind of practice would be to alter the playback so that it always plays, for example, a third below the original pitches. Perhaps also some kind of reduction of the score, where only the bottom chord tone of the harmony is played. The extreme end of this reduction would be just the constant drone of the tonic. So really, it's just augmented drone practice.
Of course I'm sure this kind of practice needs to be combined with solo scale practice as well!
Just play with a drone. That's a better exercise for your ear.
Yeah, you have to have the speakers set quite loud.
If you aren't already doing so, you should be checking any g,d,a,e you have in your scale with the open string. You can also check c on the d string with the open g, even though it isn't quite as obvious.
What helped me greatly was to forget about notes. Don't play "notes". Don't worry about accidentals. Learn what a perfect scale sounds like, and then play what you hear in your head.
We might notice our faults, but will there be time to correct them?
The objections are noted! I still intend to try this method same as I had to try out the tuner method before being convinced not to use it. :)
I find singing/whistling the passages works well for me, another way to familiarise myself with the notes and also vibrato
Urban, my preference is to not try to play in unison, (unless the notes are very long), but to imitate single notes or short phrases after attentive listening.
Urban, I find it fun to play along with a track (I'm talking Suzuki book 2 so beginner stuff) and I certainly notice when my intonation is off when doing so. But there's a lot of other stuff going on at the same time that I'm taking cues from (rhythm, dynamics...) It's a lot of fun but not a pure intonation exercise.
Drones are the answer here. Search "cello drones" on youtube, find the note that pertains to the key of the piece (e.g. G drone for G-major or G-minor), and use that as your constant reference.
I just finished playing an opera, on the 1st violin part solo, sitting next to the lead flute, and our intonation was frequently out of synch. On the last performance I noticed that she had an electronic tuner on her stand, running all the time, presumably calibrated to equal-temperment.
I have found that in terms of playing WITH playback, just drone does appear to be better. Who knew established practice techniques would once again prove superior to my home-brew!
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