Developing Intonation and Sound Quality

Tonalization is a concept that Dr. Suzuki used to help students learn to play in tune and get a beautiful, powerful sound. Any time you play a note on your instrument, any open string with the same name will vibrate as well. On viola, if you play a D on the C string (first finger), the open D will sing along. Of course this only works if your finger is exactly in tune, so practicing ring tones can help you learn to place your fingers accurately and develop perfect intonation! The pattern below is the one I use when I practice ring tones, but the order you play the notes in does not matter.

Checklist for Practicing Ring Tones

  • Make sure instrument is in tune
  • When playing these notes, make sure not to touch other strings (use tunnle fingers if needed)
  • Play each note with a gentle staccato stroke, do not lift the bow!
  • Listen for the ring tone in between each note, gently adjust your finger if you do not hear the ring tone
Viola

Viola

Violin

Violin