ViolinsQuick guide to popular Violins
A violin is so much more than just a stringed musical instrument that is held against the shoulder under the chin and played with a bow. Knowing how it came about and listening to it play makes one realize why the violin has been the favorite of so many classical composers. Name any composer and you will most assuredly find a violin portion or piece that he’s written.
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Violins: The instrument that’s Touching its Audience
If you aren’t touched by that performance, then you have a cold heart. By the violin, one can express deep emotions more than any other instrument can.
Of course, it pays to know that the violin has four strings and is tuned at intervals of fifth but unlike the guitar, it has no frets and it plays up to 4 and a half octaves. The bridge is curved and the body is shallow and light.
The Origin of the Violin
The word violin was borrowed from the Italian violino. Sometimes, it is known as the fiddle or the lira da braccio or the rebec. To many musicians who enjoy classical music, the violin is the most important instrument in a symphony orchestra.
The innovation to the violin by Antonio Stradivari in the 17th century was to make it shallower and this resulted in its tonal characteristics being affected, since the tuning pitch had to resulting rise. The changes in the 19th century changed the height of the bridge, lowered the height of its arching, made the neck thinner and narrower and the bass bar less shallow and longer. The previous form was used by Mozart but with the construction of bigger halls and auditoriums, and the development of violin music, and playing conditions. Time however has proven that the changes that Stradivari introduced proved to be the best for the instrument.
There are other Kinds of Instruments that Belongs to the Violin Family:
1. The Viola: The viola is similar to the violin except that it was larger in size but not too large as to be unplayable or too small as to lost strength on the low strings. Solutions gave the viola a darker, heavier and deeper sound.
2. Cello: The cello is much bigger that it is played between the player’s knees. It has a deeper sound and a higher bridge with a neck that is more sharply angled back. The adjustable endpin allows it to stand on end. This frees the arms and allows it to be more fluid with the instrument. Thus great cellists play really striking pieces.
3. The Upright Bass: Although it rarely plays solo not even in a string quartet, it pairs with the cello in the symphony orchestra, but on a lower octave. And, since its creation in the 17th century, as to the number of strings, length of strings (42 inches now) tuning, shape and size, the double bass is still in a stage of evolution or development. With its arched back and outturned corners, this instrument is also known as the bass viol. Some Double Bass viols have a 5th string to allow it to go below the cello’s lowest string. For instance: Richard Strauss’s Thus Spoke Zarathrusta.
The Bow of a Violin
The bow of a violin is made of a strong but light and flexible wooden stick. At the ends of the bow is a ribbon of horsehair drawn across a solid cake of resin to allow it to vibrate. This design allows the player to completely control the violin’s tone. It evolved from the Baroque period – those bows that were similar to hunting bows which are bent outward. The perfected bow appeared in the 18th century as a concave, instead of a convex brazilwood stick.
Purchasing a Violin
Beginners need not buy pricey brands with prices of $3,000 or higher. Collector will buy violins worth up to $200,000 or even millions but beginners who just want to learn how to play the instrument or to develop their skill are encouraged to budget no more than $2,000 for a new violin. There are still some violins that produce great sound at a much lower price. Second hand violins are OK if the purpose is merely to learn how to play and then the player may want to upgrade later to a more expensive one.