William Fitzpatrick - violin expert

Achieving Great Intonation - Part 2

Second video about achieving the perfect pitch on the violin.

In this video, Prof. Fitzpatrick gives you an effective, error-free approach to scales and intervals on the violin.

Released on February 19, 2014

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, my name is William Fitzpatrick and I am the violin expert for virtualsheetmusic.com. Let's keep talking about the pitch, let's keep talking about intonation. We've spoken about one note, or patterns within our fingers for one string. Can we take it further than that?

Now, I think you see where I'm going with this. For example, let's move it along and talk about a three octave scale. Now for this one, if I'm going to use my patterns. Ooh, let's be sure we understand what I mean, those tetrachords, but the tetrachords can be whole, whole, half; whole, half, whole; half, whole, whole; whole, whole, whole. I mean they are limited, what we can do. In a very funny way we can do half, half, half, but that's not very practical with our four fingers. Or we could do half, whole, half, which was that harmonic minor scale.

Now, what happens if we play a major scale? On the G string, it's half, whole, whole; whole, whole, whole on the D; whole, whole, half. But we're going to shift after three whole, whole, whole; whole, whole, half, but we're going to shift after two. And then, shift again whole, whole, half. Why? With those tetrachords now, go with the idea of those patterns we can describe, define a three octave scale.

Now before we move on, are we understanding what I'm saying? These patterns, if I play a B flat major scale, what if I want to play B major? It's the same thing, half, whole, whole. C sharp, D, it's absolutely the same pattern. If I'm doing the same fingering, of course, which I advise my students to do.

Now because of what we just did with tetrachords in bringing them over, and they're becoming patterns between our fingers, we now have a better way of understanding how that affects pitch, how that affects our intonation. And we can start to get even closer with our pitch in our pieces.

What if I played a E flat and a C? We have a major sixth, but if you look at it with your fingers it's actually just a whole step. Visually, we're looking at a whole step, so I can sort of dispense with the need to say it's a major sixth because I know that's a whole step. Or what about ...? I can see it's a half step. What we're doing is we're taking that two-dimensional one string idea and projecting it into something, which I call three dimensions. We're looking at it across the board. In other words, if I wanted to play an E flat, and a G on the E string, why it's a whole step or it's a half step. I can start to see the relationships from one string to another.

Not only can I do that, but let's say I wanted to play an A, a G, and a C, if I play them, in fact, what I'm looking at is a whole step and a half step. My pattern is whole step, half step. If I pull the G over that half step from my second finger, and pull my second finger in the same spot over to the A string, I have that pattern.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Tyler on August 23, 2015 @3:20 pm PST
Could you explain why you would use the pattern h-w-w? Did you know you were going to play the b-flat-major scale and decide to use the pattern h-w-w. Why not have position 1 at b-flat and use the w-w-h pattern through out?
William - host, on August 24, 2015 @8:47 am PST
Great question! The 2-1-2-3-4 or h-w-w series is the one we seem to use more than the 2-1-1-2-3-4 or w-w-h series. One reason for this is the position of the elbow in the 2-1-1-2 etc because of the 1/2 step between 3 & 4. Because of this it is harder to move rapidly and a bit more difficult with pitch. I hope that this starts at least to answer your very astute question! Thanks WF
Elizabeth * VSM MEMBER * on February 25, 2014 @8:16 pm PST
Thank you. This is a good next segment from the first video on intonation.
William on February 26, 2014 @8:19 pm PST
Thanks! And there are more to come!
Annette Brower on February 19, 2014 @1:32 pm PST
Request: How do you produce a smooth bow direction change?
William on February 26, 2014 @8:18 pm PST
Good topic! Will reply with a video!
Lois Owsley * VSM MEMBER * on February 19, 2014 @10:40 am PST
Great explanation of intonation, William!
William on February 26, 2014 @8:18 pm PST
Lois Owsley * VSM MEMBER * on March 1, 2014 @3:31 pm PST
I'm sending your videos to all my students!
William on March 2, 2014 @10:47 am PST
Thats wonderful! I'm so pleased that they are helpful!!!
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