How to use VIOL

Welcome to VIOL!

Before you start to play, please read the following information. It’s a lot to digest, but should help to make your VIOL experience a success.

Tuning:  415 hz in 6th-comma meantone. If you have a Korg OT-120 tuner, please use the VT temperament setting. If you do not have a Korg or a Viol Lab tuner (set to 1/6th-comma), it is best to use Cleartune or some other tuning App on your mobile device. If any of this sounds confusing, please contact me for help.

Tempo: Each audio file has a metronome introduction. This not only helps to inform you of the upcoming tempo, but gives you a little time to hit play and get ready to start.  In the weekly newsletter it will be indicated the tempo of each new piece as well as how many measures of lead-in there will be.

Music:  Each version of the piece has a title—Tutti, Treble, Tenor or Bass. The instrument you see listed is the missing voice that you will play. I almost always choose the first of any voice for the play-along version (Treble 1, Tenor 1, etc.) but if I end up choosing a different voice, that will be stated in the newsletter corresponding to that week’s postings.  If the piece starts with the missing voice, I have provided it as an intro, but it will fade out so you will be solo on your part. If the missing voice only has one or two notes before the other voices come in, I did not provide it.  Make sure you keep track of the metronome beats so you know where to place your first note!

PDFs: Music is supplied for all the voices, even though there is not a play-along version for each part.  You will find all the Treble, Tenor or Bass parts together under the Download PDF button for that voice.

Preparing to play:  I recommend that you listen to the tutti version before trying to play with the recordings—you can open up the PDF of the score and follow along so you know where the tricky bits are for your voice, or where the texture might be complex. This could save the frustration of unsuccessful attempts at trying to sightread your part with the recording. If you are a less experienced player, you could play along with the tutti version at first to get used to ‘playing along.’  I also suggest that you practice your part with a metronome to be prepared for the tempi. Recordings take no prisoners! But if you do need to stop, it is easy to slide with your cursor to where you would like to begin again. It is also helpful to use one of the many speed changer apps available to slow down some of the more tricky pieces. Some examples of these apps are reviewed in this article:

Levels:  The repertoire is at a variety of levels—the piece posted in the left hand column is always the most accessible, medium level in the middle column, and most difficult on the right.  It is difficult to get the exact same level pieces from week to week, but typically the levels are: Lower Intermediate/Intermediate; Intermediate/Upper Intermediate; Upper Intermediate/Advanced. Unfortunately, this series is not suitable for beginners.

Audio: The audio files are downloadable so that you may play them directly from your computer or mobile device (or play them on a speed changer app). But you can also keep it simple and just play them on the website. Sound quality varies from mobile devices to computers—I personally find that the recordings sound better on my computer. If it is not convenient for you to play near your desk or laptop and you prefer to use a tablet or phone, I highly recommend using external speakers, which are available online at a variety of prices. Experiment and compare—you might find that the sound from your device is good enough without and that you get enough volume. One experiment might be to listen to the recordings from your mobile device and then again through headphones or earbuds.  If the sound is greatly improved, then external speakers should provide an experience closer to that. It is not recommended to play with headphones as you won’t be able to hear yourself very well.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me using the Contact Us from with any questions or issues!


Gail Ann Schroeder