Preview Harmonic content - Advice wanted.

Posted: 11/16/2009 10:15:44 AM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

[i]Why would use of pitch-preview give a player a more solid hand/ear coordination and better ingrained muscle-memory than non PP practice?[/i]

With a pitch-preview, you can come in on the correct pitch which means that you open your phrase with a consistent arm and finger position. Thus, your interval (distance) to the second note of the phrase will be consistant.

If the first note is a little "off" there is limited time to correct it before moving to the next note. If the first note is a little off pitch, then you must squeeze or stretch the interval to the second note. The entire phrase can become a struggle to correct everything simply because the first note wasn't firmly planted.

Imagine, if you will, to play a scale or arpeggio on the piano. If the first note is the wrong note then you have to deviate to manage a good second note and complete the phrase -- more often than not the whole phrase falls apart. Play a good first note -- and even if you flub a passing tone the overall phrase will likely turn out ok.

To clarify (or muddle) my comments about intuition -- suffice to say that, to me, "intuition" is an amorphous, metaphysical concept. It may be nice to harness the power of intuition however for me to do so would be like an attempt to herd cats.
Posted: 11/16/2009 11:54:27 AM

From: Escondido, CA

Joined: 2/6/2008

Regarding adding tone controls to pitch preview:

Bass & Treble can be added at extremely low cost ... one opamp, 2 pots, 2 capacitors and a handful of resistors.

More than likely you'll have an extra opamp that's not doing anything useful, Fred. Might as well toss in the tone controls. Users can always set them to "flat" if they want to.

Posted: 11/16/2009 11:58:40 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

thereminstrel wrote:

I do find that after ending one piece, (during a practice session) and even putting my hands down to my sides, I can 7 or 8 times out of 10 go directly to the starting note of the next piece.


Indeed. But this is the PROBLEM, isn't it. Can you think of any instrument where it would be acceptable to start on pitch 80% of the time?

The hidden benefit of the preview is that it gives the user an added degree of overall confidence. Off pitch entrances are something you no longer have to worry about and this can free you to concentrate on other things.

The pitch preview is really for the live theremin performer, who has only one single chance to get it right. Video performances and audio recording are an artform unto themselves and although the preview can certainly expedite things, it is not a necessity. You can just keep doing it until you pull it off.

Posted: 11/16/2009 4:08:58 PM

From: UK

Joined: 4/15/2008

Well, there's logic to your theory of a slightly missed first note having a domino affect on the following notes. Certainly for performance that would need to be avoided; for practice I'm not totally convinced. I guess practice with a backing track when there's little or no time for correction, that's true; for non-accompanied it seems less of an issue.
I still think "intuition" was a poor choice of word on my part - although I haven't thought of a better one presently. However, "trying to harness the power of intuition" WOULD be like herding cats, because as soon as you TRY to harness it, you wouldn't. The best way to herd cats is to NOT herd them!

80% starting note accuracy certainly isn't acceptable for public performance of ANY instrument, theremin included - but, as it said in the brackets, I was referring to practice sessions. My hope, (perhaps unrealistic) is that with practice that percentage can be improved on.

Thank you, gentlemen - I've enjoyed the chat. As public performance is NOT my aim, I guess I'll stick to my present practice routine for now. I'll certainly let you know if I ever get around to adopting the PP method. You've certainly reawakened my interest in it.
Posted: 11/16/2009 7:27:45 PM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

thereminstrel wrote:

As public performance is NOT my aim, I guess I'll stick to my present practice routine for now.


And that is exactly what you should do. You are enjoying what you are doing and as long as public performance is not your goal, that is all that matters.

The self-taught player is not only both student and teacher, but also the final judge of what, if anything, is being accomplished. It's sort of like teaching your own course, then writing and marking your own exam.

If a player decides to go professional, he or she is unexpectedly confronted with the judgment of the general public without ever having had the buffer (and guidance) of a real, flesh-and-blood teacher and that can be..... challenging. (I was going to say it can be a rude awakening, but that seems a bit strong).

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