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Author Topic: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?  (Read 8756 times)

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Offline David M.

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #25 on: Aug 21, 2006, 01:58:01 PM »
Ohhh, for cryin out loud.  this could go on FOREVER....

Offline diddle

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #26 on: Aug 21, 2006, 01:59:41 PM »
I'm not sure I understand your question.  But, still I'll try to reply...

Since the mandolin and the fiddle are tuned the same... GDAE...  wull...  (???)  It's a matter of picking or bowing, kinda...  True... the legnths of that fretboard are different, but... so what?  Yer basic "reach" of the fingers is the same.

I think I'm not grasping what you are asking, ApK, however... no biggy!  It's all interesting to me, and I would be interested to hear other replies...

Offline feodosia

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #27 on: Aug 21, 2006, 02:19:48 PM »
I think mandos are a great thing for a beginner fiddler to have... the frets allow you to start getting your fingers in the ballpark of where they should be on the fiddle neck ...and , what could be equally important , is that if you find a group of folks to jam with , the mando allows you to jump in and participate better then the beginner fiddle ... if you show up at a jam and vamp a few chords and quietly pick a mandolin it's more socially acceptable then standing there screeching and squeeling on a beginner fiddle ...and it's more fun to be able to participate then to have to stand on the sidelines because your instrument is too annoying  :D
So, I don't know about the violin world, but mandos are a good thing in the fiddler world , I'd say  ;D

Offline beeswing

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #28 on: Aug 21, 2006, 02:23:31 PM »
"For all those that are saying mando can help learn fiddle intonation, can you offer some idea how?  Is it just by learning what a note is supposed to sound like so that you'll know it when your fingers find it or is it some thing else?"

I suppose it makes picking out an unfamiliar tune easier, and could help you hear the tune if you're uncertain with your fiddle fingering, if that's what you mean by intonation. I don't think it will help with expressive intonation, the stuff that goes along with sharping minor thirds, flatting major thirds, pushing leading tones where they want to go, and so forth.

It will help you motor your left hand through a tune hundreds of times, so the left hand has habits of "dancing" that will be useful on the fiddle, once the adjustment in position (up/down towards the instrument) and scale lengths are made. gotta go...
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Offline feodosia

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #29 on: Aug 21, 2006, 02:24:34 PM »
My old friend is an expert mandolin player.  When he visited me a couple of months ago, he picked up my fiddle and whaled on it.  With dropped jaw, I didn't even have to ask...  He said something to the affect of, "knowing where the fingers go is no problem!  It's the bowing that screws me up..."

   I had an event that was sort of the reverse of that .... I was doing a gig and a fellow brought a Gibson mandolin, with nice low action ... the band asked me to play the mandolin for a few tunes... I haven't touched one in over ten years .... so I get on it , and man, I was running up and down the neck like a Bill Monroe or something ...I found that the frets allowed me to quickly jump all over the neck, playing in all kinds of positions.... so to me, the mandolin was much easier then the fiddle to play ... I should dig my old mando out and see if I can get the action nice and low  :D

Offline ApK

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #30 on: Aug 21, 2006, 02:26:25 PM »
Ohhh, for cryin out loud.  this could go on FOREVER....

Sorry to waste your valuable time.

Offline Nfkfiddler

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #31 on: Aug 21, 2006, 02:40:26 PM »
IMHO a mandolin may have its uses in learning tunes.   I fail to see it will help with intonation.   That's down to your ear and muscle memory.   Or, repositioning your fingers before anyone hears your mistake.

Offline ApK

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #32 on: Aug 21, 2006, 02:43:00 PM »
I suppose it makes picking out an unfamiliar tune easier, and could help you hear the tune if you're uncertain with your fiddle fingering, if that's what you mean by intonation. I don't think it will help with expressive intonation, the stuff that goes along with sharping minor thirds, flatting major thirds, pushing leading tones where they want to go, and so forth.

It will help you motor your left hand through a tune hundreds of times, so the left hand has habits of "dancing" that will be useful on the fiddle, once the adjustment in position (up/down towards the instrument) and scale lengths are made. gotta go...

I guess that's what I'm thinking people mean.  I'm not doubting that mando and fiddle are great compliments to each other, and as a beginner on both fiddle I see that mando is great for learning fiddle tunes.
So I guess it depends what the OP means by "learning fiddle intonation."  As I'M trying to learn fiddle intonation, I'm thinking in terms of 'where excatly do I put my finger to make this note sound right.'  And I can't see how mando could help with that.  But in terms of 'what should this note sound like when I play it' then I understand.

ApK

Offline foose4string

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #33 on: Aug 21, 2006, 03:12:41 PM »
There's a difference in knowing where a finger should go, and actually getting it there accurately the majority of the time.  I think this tends to be a problem with beginning fiddlers.   Doesn't take much variation in finger position, just the slightest movement in either direction, to alter the pitch sharp or flat.  Becomes even more noticeable without a well developed vibrato, again something lacking with many beginners, or with certain styles of playing.   Mando is good for training finger coordination, not necesarrily intonation. At least not the way I interpret intonation.  Fretted is not the same as fretless.

Offline apollonike

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #34 on: Aug 21, 2006, 04:19:12 PM »
Mando will develop dexterity, and with frets, you'll learn what notes sound like.  And getting it in your head half steps are close, whole steps are spread apart.  Then its just a matter of learning the fiddle fingerboard.  Sure, mando would be useful.  I think you'd be better off just learning on violin for me personally, but that doesn't mean mando wouldn't be helpful for other people.

Offline awildman2384

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #35 on: Aug 22, 2006, 08:51:12 AM »
As a newbie - 6 mos - I do not need to learn fingering for tunes.  That is the easy part.  The hard part is sounding good.  If my fingering is off by half a milimeter or less, how can a mando help with that?  Isn't that where muscle memory kicks in?  I learned a lot of basic scales in my first month.  If someone can grasp half-steps and whole steps (different modes are helpful, too), and you couple that with a good ear, mando probably will not help a whole lot.

Then again, everybody is different.  What works for BillyBob may not work for Lester.

Offline Mark Cordova

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #36 on: Aug 22, 2006, 04:49:00 PM »
There is a school of thought that says the muscle memory in the left hand should be absolutely precise. If you could record the output of silent violin and you wear ear plugs instead of head phones. Would it be in tune? A Mandolin can't teach you the kind of precision you need to do that.

Ok - so what? Who wants to go through an exercise like that?

I'm going to take the middle ground here. I find the mando to be a useful tool for learning music. Especially if I just want to park it on a work recliner and mess around while I watch the TV.

Although, playing mandolin will make you a better musician overall, it will  not specifically improve your fiddling. The best way to get better at the fiddle is to play the fiddle. A much slower and dead endish way to get better at the fiddle is to play mandolin.

There's my ten cents. Mandolin helps in many ways but leaves far too many gaps such as precise fingering and bow control.   

Offline Emma

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #37 on: Aug 22, 2006, 06:52:57 PM »
I didn't find playing the fiddle to be that useful for learning mandolin, and I think learning mandolin would be of limited use for learning fiddle, but so what, learning ANY instrument is great. 
I gave up on the mandolin because I found the frets so awkward, and because picking seemed so much harder than bowing (I told a mandolin player that and he looked very sceptical).  I didn't give it enough of a try, I know, but anyway, I think the skills required for both instruments are very different. Learn 'em both by all means but don't expect too much skill transfer.
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Offline frodopogo

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #38 on: Sep 12, 2006, 08:20:23 PM »
My belated two cents:

I used mandolin in the early days of my fiddling to learn general fingering of the tunes, and I think it helped.
To deal with tune learning, intonation ( I agree that mandolin doesn't help
with the <precise> placement) AND bowing is overwhelming.
To have the basic tune fingering somewhat under control, THEN
get the precise placement for intonation and the bowing down
breaks it down into less overwhelming parts.
Now my bowing and intonation is to the point where playing
a new tune for the first time on fiddle doesn't sound <quite> so awful
as it did back then, and I feel less need for a mandolin (don't have one now).
Although I wonder, if I had one, would I learn more new tunes?

I have seen a phenomenon though, where experienced mandolinists
try to play fiddle, they get overconfident, they try to use their
mandolin finger placement and it sounds <horrible>! :o :P >:(
It's a tool if you use it right, but it can be a trap...

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Offline madmat

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #39 on: Sep 12, 2006, 08:26:40 PM »
Although I wonder, if I had one, would I learn more new tunes?
I think someone else has mentioned it, but it's much easier to sit in front of the TV and play the mandolin... you aren't going to stab anyone in the eyeball.

It's a LOT easier to focus on bowing once you have the left hand fingering nailed... so although I think mando doesn't help at all with intonation, you do get a picture of how the piece SHOULD sound in your mind's ear and get the LH fingering down. It is splitting off a piece of playing, without the complication of violin technique.
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Offline apollonike

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #40 on: Sep 13, 2006, 12:49:31 AM »
Its easier to get a mandolin in tune than a violin.  Frats and plucked vs bowing, etc.  Easier to train your ear.

Helps with coordination and finger memory as well.

Offline frodopogo

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #41 on: Sep 27, 2006, 11:49:13 PM »
I think someone else has mentioned it, but it's much easier to sit in front of the TV and play the mandolin... you aren't going to stab anyone in the eyeball.
:o
That never would have occurred to me-
I don't have a TV.
And if I did, neither instrument would work!
95% of the time I would have my hands
on the remote trying to find something interesting,
and the remaining 5% of the time
I would be totally focused on the tube.
Which is why I don't have a TV!
Too much torture for too little benefit!
Quote

It's a LOT easier to focus on bowing once you have the left hand fingering nailed... so although I think mando doesn't help at all with intonation, you do get a picture of how the piece SHOULD sound in your mind's ear and get the LH fingering down. It is splitting off a piece of playing, without the complication of violin technique.

"Splitting off a piece of the playing", I like that,
that describes well how I used it.

Michael

Offline fiddlejen

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #42 on: Sep 29, 2006, 12:48:57 AM »
I think someone else has mentioned it, but it's much easier to sit in front of the TV and play the mandolin... you aren't going to stab anyone in the eyeball.
My teacher taught us the practice-in-front of TV method.  You use a fiddle.  You put down your bow & turn your fiddle sideways.  You pluck it, although I think you could strum if you like. (Strumming & pick-ing seem very unnatural to me; probably why I haven't gotten anywhere yet with  guitar.)  You hold your fiddle kind of like a guitar, but higher & leftward.  (If it's too far forward, your fingerings won't transfer easily when you move it to your shoulder.)  Then, you pick out the tune.

Amazingly, practing like this does WONders for intonation. 
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Offline Dan888

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #43 on: Mar 14, 2007, 10:50:05 PM »
i agree that this is a pretty good idea, i played mandolin before i started the fiddle, so i already had a few tunes, and it definatly made life easier at first these days i find i only use the mandolin for learning difficult peices or tunes in odd keys as most of the problems i encounter are to do with bowing which oddly enough, is difficult to learn on the mandolin, apart from that, its nice to have a second instrument to play to add a bit of variety when jamming.

Offline Alyosha

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #44 on: Mar 29, 2007, 05:40:33 PM »
I play mandolin at perhaps an intermediate level, and have just started fiddle.  Playing mandolin does not directly help with intonation for me in terms of how to use my fingers.  I "know" where my fingers are going when I play mandolin (open, first fret, second fret, etc.) and I can use tablature or notation to guide me along.  For fiddle, I have to learn all over again where my LH fingers go, and I have to do it by ear.  Fiddle tab is very confusing for me, so I am not bothering with it, and using notation instead, since it tells me how the note is supposed to sound, not where it is played.

To go faster in learning a new tune, I read the notation and play the tune on the mandolin first so I know what the printed notes will sound like.  So I use the mandolin as a substitute for solfeggio, and in that sense it does help me with intonation on the gross level (like playing a C# instead of a C).  But putting my fingers in the right place is not the same in any way as it is in mandolin.  I tried dots on the fingerboard, but they wore off, and it didn't help much.  But as I practice the piece I get better.  Playing the scale of the key the piece is written in also helps me get started when the piece doesn't start on an open string.


Offline chaoscat

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #45 on: Apr 06, 2007, 09:49:13 AM »
I don't see any way that a mandolin could help with fiddle intonation. Just doesn't compute for me. What I think it can help with, and is the reason I bought mine, is with mental "visualization" of where the notes are on the fretboard. As a long time guitar player and keyboardist, used to having strong visual clues to where I'm going, the anonimity of the violin fretboard was, and still is at times, a problem for me sometimes. I especially struggle when I'm trying to move to accidental notes in keys that aren't part of the holy trio (C, D and G) I just got my mando, so we'll see if it helps me or not. I just think it's cool that I can already play a bunch of songs on an  instrument I've never played before.

Offline giannaviolins

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #46 on: Apr 06, 2007, 11:40:17 AM »
Same pitch.  Trains one to hear the approximate intervals going from note to note in various keys.  I suspect that's the concept.  Relative and absolute pitch training.

Offline simon

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Re: mandolin helpful for learning fiddle intonation?
« Reply #47 on: Apr 06, 2007, 01:44:39 PM »
The main skills needed for a good left hand on the fiddle are:
1) ear skills, which boil down to the ability to hear the precise pitch of each note before you play it,
2) a general sense of the fingerboard layout, which means that when you put your finger down on the string, it lands very close to where it needs to be,
3) the ability to combine the above skills on the fly, where necessary adjusting finger placement very quickly and subtly at the start of a note to get the pitch spot on.

Playing a fixed pitch instrument (mando, piano etc) may or may not help with number 1, depending on how well developed your sense of pitch already is.

Mando can certainly help if you're struggling with number 2.

Mando can't directly help with number 3, but it (or any other instrument) can help develop your ability to listen and react to your own playing without dropping the rhythm, and that's a step in the right direction.

Crawl->walk->run is the natural order of things, and in terms of fiddle intonation, I guess mando can help get you through the crawling stage. Personally I think that once you've got a reasonable sense of the fingerboard layout, you need to be playing the fiddle if you ever want to fine tune the ears and the fingers.

 




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