I have a few pick-n-mix study books with scattered chromatic studies in, mostly musically horrible.
Then last week our community orchestra started rehearsing Puccini's Chrysanthemums. I'm in a semi-dilemma - do I look for better chromatic studies than I've got, or do I simply practise the Puccini on the grounds that it knocks spots off any chromatic study(lol)? I think I'll stick to the Puccini for the time being, but if you have any recommendations (especially if it's a free online pdf)...
Gordon, I don't know the Puccini, but you have my sympathy! The 2nd violin part of Sibelius's "En Saga" (which we're preparing for a concert), is also chromatic, particularly the last two pages where we're faced with a particularly evil key in 5 sharps plus a double sharp. A general tip I can give when faced with awkwardly chromatic music such as this, in order to find out what is going on and to work out the harmonic structure - which I think is important - is to first play the violin part on the piano.
Wise words, Trevor. Thanks.
If you've got a tough orchestra part, then you practice your tough orchestra part. That's the short-term solution. Longer term it's useful to do a lot of studies that contain chromatic bits, in addition to basic chromatic scales. Chromatic scales are very hard to practice and it's wise to get expert instruction because the correct intonation is not necessarily obvious.
Paul, what you've said about D-D# being wider than D-Eb is what I've always been taught, except by my piano and organ teachers for some mysterious reason. My cello teacher was the first to explain that C# is sharper than Db, and mentioned that was also the teaching of Casals. The explanation for all this lies deep in the mathematics of intonation.
I think which one is sharper should not be something one memorizes, but something that is always understood within the context of the diatonic scale in operation at the moment. I don't know what kind of principles might apply to 12-tone music. But I don't really listen to 12-tone music and I have no interest in playing it -- one cannot do everything in life -- so it's kind of "not my problem." I've got plenty of other problems without needing to deal with that.
I have a different rule of thumb for tuning the chromatic scale: half-steps played with adjacent fingers are played small,tight. Half-steps played with the same finger are played wide. This is partly an illusion. It compensates for the natural, physical tendency to play out of tune. If you try to play all tight half-steps going up, it gradually gets flat. Half-steps in non-tonal and fast chromatic scales can use piano style tempered tuning. That Casals-style, Leading tone or Expressive intonation can ocassionally get you into trouble when the pitch does not fit with the chord. Leopold Mozart in his technical book wrote that F# should be LOWER than Gb .
I'm not sure that one needs "chromatic studies" per se. I would say to have a basic fingering system by practicing the chromatic scales in Flesch so that they can be applied to the repertoire as needed.
Gordon you've already been given some fingerings, also try 123123 fingering when going up on the same string.
Scott I was also advised that its only really a pressing issue with slower, more lyrical pieces. Think Beethoven romances here.
-Scott, et al,-- Yes the traditional fingering 1-1-2-2- can be slow.