What Is a Violin Scale?

Learn scales on the violin from musician Julie Artzt Becker in this Howcast video.

Transcript

So, when you're a violinist, or any other musician for that matter, it's very important to practice your scales every day at home. A lot of people say they don't have time to practice the scales. They only have a certain amount of time and they have to work on their solo pieces, or whatever else that they're, you know, practicing for. But what I have noticed over the years of teaching, and over the years of practicing myself, is that if I start with my scales first, my solo pieces go much better and much smoother. My intonation is better. They're just so important for so many reasons. One reason being intonation. You're practicing your intonation every time you play a scale.

Let's say, the piece you're working on is in G major. It's important to play a G major scale, because the same notes will be in the scale as they are in the piece; and then you can check open strings. And also, what else is important in scales, besides intonation? You can practice your bow divisions, which we had previously talked about; bow speeds, different bow strokes, and all the scales are important, especially the D scale, the G scale, A scale, C scale, C major. All these are major.

And then, of course, the minor scales are important too, so that you're hitting on all the key signatures and you're getting all the different notes that there are to play on the violin and the different patterns. I'll play you a three-octave G major scale. And, right now I'll play it practicing just smooth bow strokes, two notes to a bow.

So that's a three-octave G major scale, and you can play it with vibrato or you can play it without vibrato. I just played that with vibrato. This is without vibrato.

When you play it without vibrato, you can really focus on your intonation and you can check open strings like this.

Here's an E. So, this is open-string E. Check it.

There's a G. You check it.

D. G. Check.

So, that's playing scales for intonation. You can also play scales and make them faster and play it faster. Play two to a bow, four to a bow, six to a bow, eight to a bow, 12 to a bow, so that that improves the dexterity of your fingers.

And then, you can also do different bow strokes. So, here you can play Sautille. Or you can play Martelé. So, there's all different strokes you can learn, different bow speeds, bow divisions, you know, whether you're doing the two notes to a bow, four notes to a bow, which I just spoke about playing, or, you know, six to a bow, eight to a bow, that practices bow divisions. So, it just covers everything you need to learn on the violin, and helps you so drastically with all the pieces you're gonna play. Practice your scales.

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