Intonation Practice/Training Audio Sources

Edited: April 1, 2019, 12:08 AM · I bought a MP3 library of scales being played by a violinist, from Amazon. Except it didn't have the G Major scale. Had all the others. Frustrating. Before I go buy another from someone else, I have two questions.

1) Is this a useful way to do this, i.e. play the scales on my violin along with the mp3.

2) Another set of MP3 tracks sounded like it was done with a synthesizer, which means tempered tuning. Would that be a less than optimal source to use? Plus, it sounds like a synthesizer, buzzy and all, and not like a violin. No overtones, etc.

Replies (30)

April 1, 2019, 3:45 AM · 1) I recommend imitating four or five note segments, rather than playing along with the sound file (where differences are hard to evaluate). Playing along with harmonised music is very beneficial, however.

2) The equal tempered scale is a million times better than nothing! One can fine-tune when playing in harmony.

Edited: April 1, 2019, 3:50 AM · I think it's useful esp in the beginning. Ultimately, you'll need to determine if you're in tune by your ears alone.

I think they have apps for that purpose too:

April 1, 2019, 6:16 AM · Just use a piano...
April 1, 2019, 6:45 AM · Thanks. I was able to get Amazon to refund my money since 4 scales were missing off that product, and one was duplicated. They also were not in order. Or the order was nonsensical. Wasn't circle of 5ths, wasn't alphabetical.
April 1, 2019, 11:47 AM · @Horace, I downloaded those apps. Thanks.
Edited: April 1, 2019, 3:22 PM · I also use drones. The app "Tonal Energy Tuner" has a way to set up drones with different instrument sounds (I use the tonic and dominant for a particular key, with the "english horn" sound) along with a metronome, for scale practice.
Edited: April 1, 2019, 5:14 PM · @Horace, I went to try to use those ABRSM apps, which I thought were free, and they are almost unusable until you start chucking out $$$ to get functionality.

@Karl, I'll check out your suggestion. It costs $4, which is not bad if it gives me a lot of functionality regarding what I need. What all does it do?

April 1, 2019, 5:22 PM · Timothy, thanks for the offer of bagpipe abuse, er, I mean, help. That might be better than what I've been doing, following worker bees around trying to guess what key they are in.
April 2, 2019, 9:08 AM · Fiddlerman has some free drones tuned to a 440 A:
April 2, 2019, 9:20 AM · Hey David, try "SmartScales" the app. It's better.
April 2, 2019, 5:55 PM ·

April 2, 2019, 6:27 PM · @David, the Tonal Energy Tuner can simply be a tuner (in Just intonation, by key, or in Tempered), provides a tone/drone tool with a circle of fifths and a wide range of sounds to choose from, and a comprehensive metronome. Well worth the $4 IMO - it is a great practice tool.
Edited: April 3, 2019, 12:24 AM · I bought it yesterday. Thank you for your recommendation.
April 3, 2019, 6:22 AM · Check out the MusicWrench app on iOS. This is one of the best app for intonation!

April 3, 2019, 6:29 AM · @Timothy Smith I've been playing bagpipes for 39 years. It's my main instrument. You're right about them being a bit unique in tuning.

Our pitch has crept up in recent times, back in the 70s our Low A was around 466 , these days largely thanks to the competition bands our low A has crept up to about 485!!! A long way from 440...

I have bellows blown smallpipes that I play, the low A on those is at 440.

Do not get me started on the Uilleann pipes.....

April 4, 2019, 5:23 PM · Thanks Timothy. Have downloaded.
April 4, 2019, 5:23 PM · Thanks Timothy. Have downloaded.
April 4, 2019, 8:16 PM · In my opinion scale-like studies are just as good as scales for beginning to intermediate players. The main thing is to learn to hear intervals, especially small intervals like half-steps, whole steps, and minor and major thirds. Wohlfahrt, Dont (Op. 20), and Kayser studies come to mind.

Also don't agonize over intonation to the exclusion of everything else.

April 5, 2019, 4:45 AM · @Timothy Smith, don't get me wrong I absolutely love the Uilleann Pipes ( basically the Gaeilge word for Angle used in the context of the elbow ). I have a set myself.

But! The Highland pipes are hard enough to keep in tune with one reed in the chanter and one in each of the three drones, a set of UP can come in various different keys D, C etc, concert sets, flat sets. There's the chanter reed, a reed in each of the drones, a reed in each of the regulators.... gah! I think I need a lie down in a dark room....

Edited: April 5, 2019, 11:02 PM · BREAKING NEWS: Putting my hearing aid in helps with intonation!!!! DUH!!!!

April 6, 2019, 4:15 AM · "Also don't agonize over intonation to the exclusion of everything else."

True, but agonise over it all the same!

April 6, 2019, 10:09 AM · Otherwise, what's the point???? ;-)

I'm already a performing musician, just not on violin, so I pay attention to how others I know sound who are performing on violin, but are newer in their odyssey. They are playing a type of folk music where "rustic" can sometimes be fallen back on, but....

April 6, 2019, 7:30 PM · Timothy - I checked out your drones, thank you! I like that much better than the drone my tuner will play.

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