William Fitzpatrick - violin expert

Achieving Great Intonation - Part 3

Third video about achieving the perfect pitch on the violin.

In this video, Prof. Fitzpatrick extends the intonation topic to arpeggios and to shifts, from a lower note to a higher note, by applying the concepts explained in earlier videos.

Released on February 26, 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 see. Suppose I had to play... I was looking and I was seeing an A, an F sharp, and a D sharp. And then I saw C, A, F sharp. I mean, the sharps, the flats, the... Why do I have to remember? All I need to remember is that it's... whole step, whole step, all the way up.

Does that simplify it? I now can look... And I know that it's just simply whole step, whole step. What if it were four fingers? Let's see. Why, my goodness, it's whole step, whole step, whole step. Do I have to really know or follow the notes? No. I'm really looking at those whole steps and half steps. Those are patterns, curiously, that are really fundamental to our mind understanding how to memorize those things. Our mind can't remember sequences, long, long, long sequences of notes. No, we need to chunk it down. We need to find smaller things. The tetrachord works with that. So not only does it help us to localize and play better in tune, but we're even talking about how it helps us to memorize what's going on. We've got something that we can see, something that we can hear, something that we can touch.

Why don't we talk about how to hit the correct note from distance? From a distance. In other words, suppose I had to play an A, and then I had to play a C sharp. Now, if you're going to play publicly or perform publicly, it's really important that things are consistent so we can't miss. How is that possible? If we start to use our patterns, in fact, this will help quite a bit. Let's see. Suppose I did... I know where that A is because it's whole step from a G. Here we go. If I put my finger on the same place, I got the E, on the D string. On the A string, B, F sharp. So I know where that F sharp is. If I go... Full step, half step. Kind of where that A is. Let's see. I'm going to shift to the A. Very good. Now, where is the C sharp? It's whole step, whole step. Two whole steps away. Hmm. So, let's see.

But I need to play it quicker than that, and I certainly can't hear all of the notes in between. What do I do? I imagine, there it is. I'm going to go to the F sharp, put my first finger where the third finger was, whole step, whole step. And I have the C sharp. But I need to be able to do this a lot. Let's see. I think I figured out not only a pattern, but how to choreograph my fingers, how to choreograph my hand to get to that C sharp consistently in tune. All of this coming from that understanding of those tetrachords, the whole steps and the half steps.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Kathleen Barry * VSM MEMBER * on April 16, 2014 @12:12 pm PST
When using your whole, whole, whole model, just like in octaves, the distance is different as you go up the violin fingerboard. Smaller distance with the 4th finger, greater distance with the 1st finger...it's that adjustment that is so difficult for me. Kathy
William on April 16, 2014 @3:34 pm PST
One should always use the aural model of a whole step or half step to guide finger placement, which is why aural theory is so important. This kind of listening will allow this adjustment to occur naturally.
Klaus Moeckelmann * VSM MEMBER * on February 26, 2014 @8:25 am PST
After having heard Intonation Part 1 and Part 2 once more, I found out, that I had misunderstood the Word "Pattern" as "Parent" . Sorry. Now all is clear abaot Tetra Cords and their meaning for intonation,
I can learn a lot from your explation of rules for good intonation.
Thank you for your good and calm explanation. It allows oneself a parallel fingering of your examples.
William on February 27, 2014 @10:10 am PST
Tom Karg * VSM MEMBER * on February 26, 2014 @8:20 am PST
I've been playing violin for 70 years, and still can't play a note as positive as you do! Your excellent bow start on a string sounds wonderful. Thanks
William on February 27, 2014 @10:10 am PST
You are too kind!!!
Klaus Moeckelmann * VSM MEMBER * on February 26, 2014 @7:56 am PST
Could you explain me the maaning of the word "Parent", often used by you in connection with right intonation or the tetracord? (Also the meaning tetracord I don´t find in Dictionairies (englsh- english or englsh- german) , but that is a self defing word, coming from latin.
William on February 27, 2014 @2:24 pm PST
(See above)
Elizabeth * VSM MEMBER * on February 26, 2014 @7:26 am PST
Your approach is finally making sense. Thank you. Do you have exercise or etude material that you could recommend that will help with this approach? I have a masters degree in flute performance so I certainly understand whole & half steps. It is the patterning of the fingers on violin that is totally new to me.
William on February 27, 2014 @10:10 am PST
Hi! This information can be found in my book "In Search Of" which can be downloaded at http://www.musishare.net/InSearchOf.pdf
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