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Fiddle Lessons: The Names of Notes and Where They Are

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All right.
So, we are at the beginning of our
exploration of the fiddle here and
we're gonna talk about the notes, the
names of them, and
where they are in first position on the
first position being where your hand
naturally goes to at the beginning.
So, the good news, is that the notes do
have names,
and that they somewhat follow an order.
They use the names of the alphabet, in
And we can, we start with A, B, C, D, F,
and G and then it stops at G
and then we cycle over again.
The bad news [LAUGH] is that, that's about
as organized as it is.
The rest of it is a collection of rules
are sort of lost in history.
They started putting this stuff together
in Italy in about the 1400s, and
it's sort of collected in a way that
would be very interesting reading if you
decide to read up on it.
I personally Googled this and couldn't
find any real information about it.
I said, why did they call them that and
how did they figure it out.
And apparently, nobody knows.
But, the fact is that there is a system.
So we have 12 notes to play with and
of course they repeat and you have 12 but
you usually, in this kind of music you're
are dealing with about eight of them at
every, any one time.
When you make a scale, a major scale.
You're gonna be dealing usually with eight
I'll just, I'll just play a scale.
It happens to start on the G note.
One, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight.
Back to the octave, right?
We're talking.
Those two notes, they're the same note.
They're just an octave apart because
they're eight increments apart.
Now, the tricky thing about this is that
there are notes, in between those notes.
And that's why we end up with 12.
So, if I played every note,
in that scale which is called a chromatic
Chroma, coming from the Latin chroma,
which means spectrum,
which means it's the entire spectrum of
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
a little bit more complicated and you
don't hear a lot of that stuff.
In blue grass, or various traditional
Mostly, it's a regular major or a minor
scale, but
we need to know the names of all those
[SOUND] So, it's further complicated by
the fact if,
that the, when we talk about keys.
The C key the key of C, for some reason,
don't ask me why is the considered sort of
the basic
key because it doesn't have any sharps or
And of course we have sharp notes and we
have flat notes, and
those are those extra notes, that come in
between, the regular major scale.
This would be a lot easier to show you if
we were looking at a piano keyboard,
but we're not.
Luckily, the fiddle is tuned very
Every string is the same interval.
[SOUND] Away from each other, so it makes
it pretty mathematical, and
it makes things work out very well, in
other ways.
So, at least we have that going for us.
Each string, is tuned an interval of a
fifth, apart from the other strings.
So if we start at the lowest string, which
is tuned to a G note.
We go one, two, three, four, five.
That's your fifth interval, which is,
happens to be a D note.
So we've got a D note for the D string.
That's second string.
We go to the next string up.
One, two, three, four, five.
To the A.
And then, the last one, two, three, four.
To the E, right?
So we've got G, E, A, and E.
So now how bout all this in between notes?
So we're gonna take it obviously we're
gonna go up the alphabet,
even though we're starting with G, which
is kind of a weird place to start because
it's the last note in the note alphabet.
Remember we started A, B, C, D, E, F, G,
B, C, D, E, F, G, and so on ad infinitum
to beyond the range of human hearing.
All right?
Infinity and beyond as Buzz says so well.
So, we're gonna go up.
We're gonna call out the names of the
notes here.
We're gonna go G,
A, B, C,
D, E, F,
G, A, B,
C, D, E, F,
G, A, B.
Now that's as far as we can go in first
That's as far as we need to go because
we've already covered over two
octaves already.
So, we're doing great.
Okay, so we've got for just the way
the fingers naturally fall, we got G, A,
B, C.
And then D, which is our fourth finger.
Or, the next string up.
Same thing on D, the D string.
D, E, F, G.
D,E, F, G, A, fourth finger or the next
string over.
All right?
A, B, C, D, E, 4th finger, which is also
the next thing up.
E, F, G, A.
No next string, all right?
So that B is hanging out in space.
Okay, now, what about those in-between
You'll notice that some, I'm playing tight
There's a tight interval,
between the B and the C note.
Again, there's a tight interval between
the E and the F note on the D string.
there are intervals between the intervals
I was playing.
So what are those?
Those are the sharp and the flat notes.
Those would correspond, to the black keys
on a piano.
So we're gonna play again.
We're gonna go from the bottom string,
which is the lower string,.
In pitch.
To the top string, the higher string
Playing and naming each note at in a
chromatic scale and
you'll probably, you'll see my fingers
Sometimes sliding, sometimes playing close
intervals together.
All right.
So, I'm gonna start again with G.
G, G sharp, also A flat.
A, A sharp, also B flat.
C-sharp, also D flat to D.
D sharp, also known as E flat.
F-sharp, also known as G-flat.
G, G-sharp,
or A flat to A.
A sharp or B flat.
C sharp or D flat
D sharp or E flat
Same note, right?
Fourth finger, open string.
Here comes F, F again.
F sharp.
G sharp.
A sharp.
And that's all your notes.
Okay, why, why do we even care?
You know, why do we care that we, we,
why is it important to know the names of
the notes?
Well, there's lots of reasons.
Mostly it's about just being able to
communicate with the people you're
playing with.
You go, well here's the tune.
It's, it's in A, and it's starts in an A
And then everybody can say, okay A.
I know where A is on my instrument.
We can start, start together.
We know what we're doing.
Oh, I'm, you know, that's, there's that
note there.
That's actually a G sharp, not a G
And everybody knows.
Oh, okay, G sharp, G natural.
Okay I can play that.
You know?
It's about communicating and
having a common language if you were
trying to get somewhere
in your car and you didn't know any of the
names of the streets.
It would be hard to tell somebody how to
get there.
They, they would say, well you just go for
awhile and then you make a left somewhere.
Maybe there's a tree or something, and
look for that other tree.
Or look for, look for
the big tree and it wouldn't work as well
as if you knew the names of the streets.
Say make a left on Broadway and then go up
to Main Street and
then stop at number 32 Main Street.
It's the same general idea, you know.
If you know the names of the notes, you
also can talk about music in a way that
will make sense to other people and then
you can play together.
And then you can have fun and you can
Music can be used in a way that works for
It's, it's just good.
You know, it's a good thing.
So, very important to know those notes.
Now, it's funny because you notice that
there's no speed bumps.
There's no lines, there's no frets
physically that appear on the instrument.
It's just the way things work on this.
We give up some things in order to get
other things.
Missy Rain says, well, the frets are
They're just invisible.
You know, and that's, that's a great way
to think about it.
Those notes are there and you just have to
sort of make your own frets.
We're just gonna, a good way to practice
this is to just, just go up the scale.
Let's, if we played like a G major scale,
and we're gonna get into major and
minor pretty soon, but I think everybody
knows what the sound of a G major
scale is even though if, if they might not
know exactly how to play it yet.
But if we go, if we start on the lowest
string on the G note.
You can watch my fingers.
And I'm using my first, second and third
fingers, and
then moving to the next string and doing
exactly the same thing.
So if we have like a wide interval here.
And then wide.
Next string.
And, in Suzuki, I believe, their,
they talk about high one, right?
Say we open, open string is the string
without any fingers on it, right?
Open, high one, high two, low three,
because it's tight.
Then, to open the, open, no, no fingers.
High one, high two, low three.
That will also give you
a good approximation of the position that
you want your fingers.
I hope you, one of the great things about
doing this online digital thing is that
you can actually see my left hand doing
So I'm gonna do it one more time.
First finger.
Second finger.
Third finger.
Now what we wanna do,
is we wanna name those notes as we play
So we're gonna be going.
F sharp.
That is F sharp.
[SOUND] The difference between F sharp.
[SOUND] And F, is what we call a half
which is pretty much the width of one
You can think of it that way.
So, in the key of G.
We have A, one of those pesky sharp notes.
The F sharp.
So, it's really good to be able to name
these notes.
Let's let's start with the key of C.
The key of C has no sharps or flats.
Here's what the key of C sounds like.
We're gonna start on our third finger on
the G string.
So we find that C note, all right?
And then we're gonna go up from there, to
a D.
G, A, E, C.
Now we've just played an octave, right?
Because we've went from C-
To C again.
So that's what we call an octave.
Oct meaning eight, eight notes.
So, one, two, three, four, five, six,
seven, eight.
All right?
So, what we're doing, and you're gonna be
able to download
a PDF chart of the fingerboard with every
note named in position.
In the position where it appears.
So, that, that's gonna help but what we
really wanna do is get that in our heads,
so that we can always think, okay, go to
your E note on the D string.
We know.
We go right there.
Go to your C sharp note on the A string.
Play the E note and the C sharp together
on a D and A string.
Play a G natural and a D on your A and E
[SOUND] It makes it very easy to go right
where you need to go,
if you know the names of all these notes.
And it, you know, at the beginning, it's a
little crazy, but
if you just keep in mind that it's just
Sharp, G.
Just the fact that it's, it is
alphabetical even though it picks up at
different places in the alphabet, it keeps
cycling through.
It's pretty logical, and it won't take you
really long if you just
spend a little time naming those notes and
getting, getting used to that.
Okay, so, the best way to do this is to
work on it a little bit every day.
Just say, okay, I'm gonna be naming the
notes here.
We're talking about playing scales.
A little bit every day just to get used
you know, putting our fingers in the right
place, playing in tune.
And while we're doing that,
we can do extra work at the same time by
just naming those notes.
So if we start with a D scale, for
We say, okay, I've got a D, a D.
We've got an open D here, open D.
So we go D, E, F-sharp,
G, A, B, C-sharp, G.
We just name them off.
We don't have to do it out loud.
It's good if we do.
But we don't have to.
We can do it in our head.
An F scale.
F, okay.
Well, where's that F?
Well, we know, if we, we have a D here, we
count up D, E, F.
Okay, we're gonna start on the F now.
We've found our F.
B flat.
So if we do a little bit of that every
you'll be surprised how quickly that just
comes as second nature.