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intonation counts


MsMazas
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All right, can we all just calm down and take our personal matters elsewhere? *coughes*HKV AND PHANTOM!

Thank you. Now, onto what I wanted to say:

Intonation is a major factor in ALL music. No matter how beautiful your right hand looks, how you hold your instrument, or what ever else it is that you believe is the most crucial part of playing, intonation is one of the first things that an audience notices.

I've been to many concerts with a group of people with me who know NOTHING (and I mean nothing) about music. However, it seems that they're the first ones to pick up on if someone is playing out of tune. "Was that note right, or is that just me?" They don't notice right off the bat if the musician is rushing. They don't care if the instrument sounds really loud, it's the intonation that they notice!

I feel that there's a major hole in most modern violinists' playing, and that's intonation. Many teachers seem to skip over it, and go straight to instructing fast fingers and a smooth bow. I'm not throwing a diss at HKV, or his student (I'm not really sure what the situation is), but perhaps there's a lack of training with intonation. Take the time for scales, thirds, sixths, octaves, fingered-octaves, etc., because it's quite well worth it! As a student of four years of studying the Carl Flesch scale book (front to back) and a seven-month Galamian trainee, I'm starting to figure out why scales and etudes are so important in comparison to your Devil dances or Paganini: they complete intonation training.

--Ms. Mazas

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For your information Mrs. Mazas, I do scales and practice religiously.

In fact, I practice in MODES. I wouldn't be able to hit all the notes in those UNPRACTICED other pieces if I didn't.

Those pieces I hardly ever touch. Some of it, like the Ravel, I don't even have the music to. The Bazzini I've messed around with for years, but I haven't SAT DOWN with it until February.

In June, I'll play a recital featuring the Bazzini - this time with PIANO. I'll repost the results for your scrutiny. Don't worry, I won't do any edits or tricks.

You can judge my scales THEN.

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What's the big deal about "intonation"?

You need the technique in order to reach the notes. Then if you have a musical ear, you will easily get it perfectly in tune, wouldn't you?

It might be a good idea to stress intonation just as a matter of discipline and right attitude, but it should be obvious that everything else is anyway almost exclusively for the sake of intonation, since without it, you don't even have a tune.

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No, that's not at all correct, staylor.

You have very little margin for error on a violin, in terms of the amount of distance your fingers can move and still hit the desired pitch dead-on -- and remember that for real artistry, you're not just trying to hit something which is recognizably the pitch, but fine-tune that pitch so that it works harmonically with the surrounding notes, and/or is "bent" for a musical effect (such as an extra-low note deliberately meant to give something a "sadder" feel).

It takes real practice and discipline to consistently hit the exact same spot on the fingerboard, and even then, it's possible to slip up here and there (even Heifetz might hit one out-of-tune note in a performance). Precision is learned; it does not fall from the sky magically.

What I always hear when I hear HKV is a player of superb facility but very little discipline.

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LWL is a good example of the kind of knowledgeable and accomplished person, from whom many of us can learn a lot, who tends to stay away during periods when the board has degenerated into a bunch of nasty and juvenile flame wars. The same holds even more true for the high-level professionals and teachers who occasionally grace the board with their presence. That's why maintaining a reasonable level of netiquette is so important.

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I agree that intonation is one of the most important part of playing any instrument. Intonation affects tone and projection. When a string player plays in tune, the instrument resonates by itself and therefore enhances the projection quality and gives a bigger tone. We all have to practice intonation to the end of our lives. It should be an obsession.

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