Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Hunting of the Snark

Several lost days there. Spent the weekend curled up on the couch, and more than once this week came home from work and went directly to bed. Finally managed to order new Holocron parts today, and I have hopes of making a quick video of the Morrow Project CBR before I hand it back.

As well as a violin video. I slipped on my intent to document the first critical week, but I can still put one in at an arbitrary "a little over a week." (Considering how lax I've been on practice).

To work on my intonation I picked up a clip-on tuner (my Korg tuner wasn't responsive enough for this anyhow). Researched several different brands, they all are flimsy and use tiny watch batteries that don't last very long -- the usual "choice" of modern consumer products, where the only variety that's offered is strictly cosmetic. Otherwise everyone "competes" by making the exact same choices (and probably has them built by the same factory in Taiwan anyhow).

So dropped by the one surviving local music store (outside of Guitar Center) and got a Snark. It is easy to read, stays nice and tight on the headstock, responds quickly. And is roughly as accurate as my own hearing.

Or vice versa. I found at least on intervals my ears were guiding me to as fine as the tuner could measure. But with a little help from the tuner, I explored getting the "singing fifth." And, yes...getting it to actually sing is a little finer than the tuner can adequately display (one could improve that tuner vastly by using a logarithmic scale). But once I hit the exact pitch -- yes, even on silent violin you can clearly here the next string over vibrating in sympathy.

Other than that intonation is still going slowly and I'm not even tempted to leave First Position. And I can just barely put vibrato in selectively, and that only on the easy strings. The only reason I'm trying to do it at all is because it changes my finger position, which changes how I hold the violin... Everything connects on this. Everything.

I can muddle through my first tune enough so it isn't horrifying to listen to. But based on this, I'm months away from being able to play an arbitrary melodic line. And years from being able to make it sound nice.

I don't remember struggling like this on other instruments. But I'm pretty sure I did. I know there must have been days when I looked at the awkward positions necessary for ukulele chords and was sure it would be a long time (if ever) before my fingers could do that.

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