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Fiddle Lessons: Intervals

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You know, I used to hate theory so
much back when I was playing, trying to
playing classic violin and just trying
to read those little specs on the paper
just like why, why are we doing this?
What is this about?
Oh, I can't remember all the stuff.
But now that,
it works in the way [INAUDIBLE] we're
using it as applied there.
We're using it to tell people how to play
or, you know, go up a fourth or you know,
it's this.
It really starts to make sense, you know,
just because it enables us to communicate
better to other musicians what we want, or
what we need to know, you know?
So that's great, you know?
So some of the the more abstruse concepts
theory, we're gonna put aside, but some of
them are so important.
Now we just talked about numbers,
numbering notes.
Now we're gonna talk about intervals and.
Intervals are sort of an interesting
concept because their sort of
the phantom thing, you know, it's not a
note and
I remember talking to Vassar Clements
about this.
Vassar was one of the last of the great
self taught musicians.
He actually just figured out how to play
Pretty much on his own, he never read any
music he didn't even record charts.
You could say well play like you're in C,
play like you're in D.
He'd knew exactly the names of the notes
everywhere but
he never got around to learning how to
read a chord chart.
It was actually not great for him because
it made it really hard for
him to tell his band what to do, how to
So he usually had to hire guys to sort of
help communicate what he wanted to the
rest of the band.
It kinda slowed him down a little bit.
But still one of the great musicians.
But I remember talking to him about
intervals and him going like, well, okay.
Well, play me, just, you know, the
And you're like, what are you saing?
What are you saing again?
You know, [LAUGH] going, dude.
You already know what it is.
It's just the distance, you know.
It's like this sort of phantom ideas, the
distance between two notes.
And go like, oh, okay.
What is it?
And of course,
Vassar was the king of double stops.
He could play.
He was just the greatest with double
He could play.
All that stuff.
He knew everything about intervals he just
didn't know how to talk about it.
So, but we can, we can talk about
So, the interval is the distance between
two of these notes.
So when we say a fifth, for in, for
example, and the violin, the fiddle, is
tuned in fifths, that means,
if we go from the G to the D, one, two,
three, four, five.
We can see, we counted to five and we get
to the next, it's a part.
Aand its a perfect fifth.
It's not a diminished fifth.
Like a diminished fifth would be one-half
step less than a perfect fifth.
There is a diminished fifth.
So, we're looking for those distances
between the notes.
So, if we go from the G to a B note for
What is that?
That is a major third, right?
So it also happens to be the number.
One, two, three.
So that's a very simple idea, you know,
from the one, the G.
To the three, the B.
It's a third.
It's a major third.
It would be a minor third.
If we played that.
Now the tricky part is when we start going
notes that are different notes in the
Like, for instance, if we play,
the difference between that major third
and the fifth.
And what, what is that?
It's, what is that interval?
We've got the third and the fifth.
Then we have to count up from.
From that note.
So, it's a little bit more complicated
mass but it's not that bad and
one of the great things about this is
that, you know,
these intervals, you can start hearing
Depending on what key you're in, they're,
they're pretty much the same, right?
It's it all all the relationships stay the
You just move the keys around.
So you learn pretty quickly that the
difference between you know,
the major third and the fifth of a scale,
you know, a major scale is.
One, two, three,
it's a minor third interval between those
two notes, so between.
E and
D, that's a minor third because there's a
whole step.
And then you go up a half step.
And there's the D, right, so
that constitutes a minor third because if
you started.
those kinda things are a little tricky at
But some of these intervals are very clear
on the instrument itself.
You can look at the instrument and say,
Well, the difference between a like, for
a E on the D string
And the A.
Is a fourth.
It's a perfect fourth.
Cuz if we go one, two, three, four.
There it is.
The sound of that perfect fourth.
Is that.
Now if just moved everything up a whole
Difference between F sharp and B.
Different notes,
different numbers and the key, but it's
still the same interval.
You can see the difference between.
You can see this little square,
little box here.
That's also a perfect four.
Now, if we move that up another half step,
both fingers
Different notes,
different numbers in the key, but
still that interval, the interval of a
perfect fourth is preserved.
And you can kind of feel that.
You can feel that in your fingers.
That's a physical feeling and
that's what's great about playing a
physical instrument.
You can actually use it.
Sort of like, I don't know how many of you
have heard of an abacus.
It's those Chinese instruments that are
like computers except they use beads and
wire and, it's very physical way of doing
mathematics and
this it's almost like a musical abacus the
your instrument.
Especially these string instruments which
have adjacent strings so
you can see these intervals.
[SOUND] Come out you know, and so that
shape is always going to be a perfect
What would be that shape.
That is a little bit short of a perfect
fifth, right.
If we just put our fingers down all the
way across.
That's the same as.
It's a perfect fifth interval.
We can walk that up.
No matter where we put our
fingers on this fingerboard.
Two adjacent strings,
if we put them all perfectly across, we're
gonna get an interval of a perfect fifth.
So that moves around but it stays.
An interval because the distance of,
between the two notes stay the same.
So, we've got that so if we played.
We start that then,
[LAUGH] it's a flat fifth.
It's also referred to as a diminished
because it's part of the diminished scale.
Which we will get to don't worry.
Also known as a tri-tone because
it's two thirds stuck together.
And that's, you may hear people talk about
the tri-tones and
that's the sound of a tri-tone.
Very devilish and
sort of just scary.
So, third's, right?
There's your.
Your major third's,
the sound of a major third.
You're very familiar with that.
All right, a minor third sounds.
Now matter where we are on
the finger board.
Just randomly go to any place.
If we put our finger down, we get our min,
major third and our minor third.
And that is, is very nice.
It's just the way the instrument is tuned.
It's very reliable, we don't have any like
odd, changing.
The distance between all the strings on
the violin are the same and that really
helps us to think about these integrals
and think about them in a physical way.
Which is really handy, you know, because
you really need to use.
Everything we can get so
we don't have those crazy little speed
bumps that mandolin players have.
So, I hope this makes this clear.
I think that it's a huge and
wonderful asset to be able to look at
these intervals and
see how they start fitting together, all
over the neck, and
it's gonna help us get very good at moving
around the neck and
playing all, in all kinds of keys and
play all that virtuosic blue grassy stuff
that you hear.
People playing and very quickly and,
easily, and we're going to get there.
All right.