William Fitzpatrick - violin expert

Achieving Great Intonation - Part 4

Fourth video about achieving the perfect pitch on the violin.

In this video, Prof. Fitzpatrick continues his video series about violin intonation, extending the topic to sixths, thirds, and octaves.

Released on March 5, 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. Now, let's get into more treacherous territory. Let's start to talk about intervals like sixths and octaves and thirds. Sixths are fairly easy. It's a half step away, a whole step away. Thirds, that's a little trickier. Have you ever thought about this? Suppose I was to play three notes: B, C sharp, and D. It's a whole step and a half step. What if I left my second and third finger where they were and I slid my first finger over to the E string? Well what do you know, I've got a major third. It's a whole step and a half step away. It's a whole step away from my second finger and my third finger is a half step away from my second finger.

What if I were to move my third finger a whole finger away? What do you know, I've got a minor third. So, if I'm practicing them, I need to be sure to understand that I am locating where to put my fingers by, through, the position of my second finger. Or if I were doing 2/4, it would be my third finger. This will help to figure out where on the fingerboard we are for those notes.

So we've done patterns, we've done thirds, we've done choreographing. What have we left out? We even did sixths, but we haven't talked about octaves. I used to believe that to be able to use the patterns for octaves, it would be whole, whole, half, and my fourth finger over, and that would be my octave. It theoretically sounded right, but it didn't really work right. What I've really come to understand is, in fact, it wasn't whole, whole, half. It was whole, half, whole. This fits into the scheme of things a lot better, that whole, half, whole. Now I pull it over my finger. I don't have to stretch it. I can actually see the distance between my third and my fourth finger, and I can see the octave being in tune.

Once I was watching with a student. We were watching someone play, I won't say who, and they did the following. They played something like, and they went to play the octave. They went ah, and they stopped, they looked, moved their finger, and then they play. So it happened in milliseconds. But we slowed it down so we could see. Now, it was obvious that they looked at what they were doing and they saw that it was out of tune before they played the note. How did they do that? This is why. Looking to see how far your fourth finger is away from your third is so critical to getting it really, really close for pitch.
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