Showing posts with label Violin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Violin. Show all posts

Monday, February 19, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About the Violin From A-Z - ANTONIO STRADIVARI

English: Photo Stradivari Português: foto stra...
Stradivari (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hello this is the beginning of my series of articles that will cover everything you need to know about violin from A-Z. I will start this series with Antonio Stradivari.

Antonio Stradivari is known without any competition to be the greatest violin maker in the history of mankind. To this day the quality and sound of his violins remain unsurpassed and they are now worth millions of dollars.

His genius remains a mystery that has never been solved. Over the years many have tried to copy his violins and none have succeeded in creating anything close to matching their sound. The violins themselves have been analyzed extensively in laboratories and everything has been examined from the wood to the varnishes and glues that he used.

The front view image of the Antonio Stradivari...
The front view image of the Antonio Stradivari violin of 1703. The picture was taken at the Musikinstrumenten Museum, Berlin.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Antonio Stradivari was born in Cremona a small town in Italy in 1644, the exact birth date is unknown. It was there where he would live his entire life and establish his fame the greatest instrument maker ever seen. He was mentored by Nicolo Amati who was also from a family of famous violin makers. While still under Amati he began showing signs of the genius that would characterize his career.

In July 1667 he would marry the first of his two wives Francesca Feraboschim a young widower. After her death in 1698, he would remarry to a woman named Antonia Maria Zambelli. Altogether he had eleven children with the two women.

During his career, he made over a thousand instruments of which only 650 remain today. As well as making violins he also made violas, cellos, and guitars. The years between 1698 and 1720 are known as his golden age it is during this time that he made his finest violins these are the pieces that today sell for millions of dollars.

Antonio Stradivari died at the age of 93 in Cremona leaving behind a legacy of music and artistry that still remains unsurpassed.

    By Eric B Hill
    Eric B. Hill is a professional violin player and teacher with over 20 years experience.
    Article Source: EzineArticles



Saturday, February 10, 2018

VIOLIN Scales For Beginners

Violin First Position Fingerings
Violin First Position Fingerings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you just started playing the violin a few weeks ago, violin scales can be a real pain! While it may seem as simple and essential as forming a coherent sentence to someone with years of experience, it is very complex to a new violinist. The best thing a new violin player can do in this situation is starting slow and move up. No one wants to be caught in a situation where you are overwhelmed and frustrated on the violin! Here are the best violin scales to practice for beginners and how to master them without frustration.

The first is the G major scale. This is one of the most basic and essential of all violin scales because it only has one sharp in the key signature and starts on an open string. Starting on an open string makes the notes much easier to play, and so long as you remain in one octave, you should have absolutely no problem mastering this violin technique. Start on G and play up 8 notes until you are playing the next octave up on G with the third finger. Don't forget to play the F as a sharp so that you have a leading tone to the last G!

The next scale is D. Here is what's interesting about the next scale: you can use the exact same fingering pattern on this scale as with the original, the only difference being you are playing it on a D instead of a G. So play this scale all the way up one octave with one-two sharps, one being F and the other being C. This will create a very open sounding major scale that will flow nicely along the string and have a positive energy to it.

Last scale up is A. This one is the exact same idea, which is why I recommend learning these three scales in tandem with each other. They are so easy to learn when they each sound the same and have the same fingering! Play the exact same major scale fingering pattern only with 3 sharps instead of 2. This will produce the same sounding scale and the exact same whole step and half step pattern, but be tied down to a different string. This whole introduction to scales is designed to be very similar in order to help your mind lockdown on the overall pattern when it comes to violin scales.


All major scales have the same essential pattern, just on a different note. Playing scales that have the same fingering over and over until your mind understands them will help you to grasp this concept. Don't allow yourself to be too confused by sharps or flats! Stick to an essential understanding of violin playing when it comes to scales and focus on the fingerings themselves and not too much on the key signature.

If you still struggle with this, I recommend getting a good violin teacher to help you. Violin scales can be very challenging, but your desire to work at it and the teacher you have are directly related to your overall success rate. Keep this in mind and keep at it!




Wednesday, January 31, 2018

ITALIAN VIOLINS - Masters From The CREMONA School

English: Photo Stradivari Português: foto stra...
Stradivari (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Remarkable craftsmanship is evident in the Italian violins of old. The devotion of the early Italian luthiers to this instrument is evident. One only has to listen or gaze upon a violin made during this era to see that it has earned the reputation of a "holy grail" of violins. In this article, a brief look at three master crafters from the Italian school of Cremona will be examined.

Nicolo Amati, born 1596, was the son and disciple of Girolamo Amati. He is considered the finest luthier of his family. Among the many beloved attributes of Amati's violins is their brilliant varnish in shades from yellow-brown to a golden red. Equally captivating is their tone which is penetrating and sweet but, because of the higher arching, lack the sheer power of a Stradivari. The length of his violins was mostly 14 inches or slightly under. Many of his family were lost to the plague, but Nicolo survived to become the master of the greatest violin maker who ever lived, Antonio Stradivari. Nicolo Amati died in 1684.

Antonio Stradivari was making violins up to the year of his death in 1737. He often inscribed his age on the labels, with one displaying "d'Anni 93" as a reference to his age of 93 at the time of the violin's creation. Born in 1644, Stradivari was described as a tall, lean man wearing a white wool cap with a leather apron. This description was given by the violin virtuoso, Polledro. Stradivari violins show evidence of being a pupil of Nicolo Amati. It is alleged that Amanti began to teach him at 11 years old.

Carlo Bergonzi, born 1676, worked in the workshop of Antonio Stradivari (in whose house he lived after 1746). It is said that he was the favorite pupil of Stradivari. Bergonzi's violins have a magnificent, brilliant tone capable of reaching the corners of the largest concert hall and are well-liked as concert instruments. Bergonzi inherited all the working materials of Stradivari in 1742. Bergonzi died in 1747.

The Cremona school of violin making is highly esteemed in the violin world today and it is due in no small part to the love of the violin demonstrated by these three Italian luthiers in their workmanship which has stood the test of time.

    By Daniel Wright
    If you're browsing for violins, be sure to consider one of the fine Italian violins available at Ye Olde Violin Shoppe such as the Amati violin. Home to the master luthiers of yesterday and today, as well as a violin forum!

    Article Source: EzineArticles


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Violin From A-Z - YEHUDI MENUHIN

Yehudi Menuhin à l'âge de 12 ans - Photo: Wikimedia
Wow! we have almost reached the end of the series violin from A-Z. Today we are on Y for Yehudi Menuhin. Yehudi Menuhin is regarded as the greatest violin virtuoso ever to have lived.

He was born in New York to Russian Jewish parents but later became a citizen of Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Yehudi began receiving violin lessons at the age of three and displayed an extraordinary talent for someone so young. His first solo performance was at the age of seven with the San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall. As a child and teenager, his fame was phenomenal Albert Einstein is said to have exclaimed at the end of one of his concerts "Now I know there is a God."

During world war two Yehudi performed for performing for the allied soldiers he also performed for the inmates of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp upon its liberation. During this time he experienced physical and artistic difficulties caused by overwork as well as unfocused practice. He overcame these difficulties using meditation and yoga.

He has married twice first to Nola Nicholas an Australian he had two children with her. They divorced in 1947 after which he married the British Ballerina and actress Diana Gould together they had two sons and another child which died shortly after birth. Menuhin continued to perform well into old age and died in Berlin Germany from complications of bronchitis.

The name Yehudi means Jew in Hebrew. His name comes from an incident when his parents were looking for a new apartment; the landlady told them that she would never rent to Jews. His mother was so angry that she vowed that her new baby would have a name that proclaimed his race to all the world.

    Eric B. Hill is a professional violin player and teacher with over 20 years experience.

    Article Source: EzineArticles



Saturday, December 30, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About the VIOLIN From A-Z - ITZHAK PERLMAN

Itzhak Perlman, a polio survivor, plays the vi...
Itzhak Perlman, a polio survivor, plays the violin while seated. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hello. Today I am continuing my series everything you need to know about violin from A-Z. Today we are with me for Itzhak Perlman. Perlman is a Jewish violinist famous for his virtuosity and long and successful career.

He has been a member of many large orchestras such as the Saint Louis symphony orchestra and the New York philharmonic orchestra, he has also performed on many well know film scores such as the one for Schindlers List and Memoirs of a Geisha.

He also teaches at the Brooklyn College of music and has started conducting in recent years. Perlman has also appeared on TV many times in shows such as The Tonight Show and Sesame Street; he has also played a number of functions at the white house.

Itzhak Perlman was born in Tel Aviv Israel. He decided to pick up the violin after hearing classical performances on the radio. He studied first at the Academy of music in Tel Aviv and then at the Juilliard School of music in New York. He made his debut at Carnegie Hall in 1963.

Perlman contracted polio at the age of four and made a good recovery learning to walk with the age of crutches, today he uses crutches or a mobility scooter and always plays while seated. In 1987 he joined the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra for their concerts in Warsaw and Budapest he has also collaborated with many other artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and John Williams.



Perlman plays on the antique Soil Stradivarius which is considered to be one of the finest violins ever made during Stradivari's golden period. He performed together with Yo-Yo Ma, Anthony McGill, and Gabriela Montero at the 2009 inauguration ceremony for Barack Obama.

Today (2016) Itzhak Perlman lives in New York City with his wife Toby also a violinist and their five children. (Wikipedia)

    By Eric B Hill
    Eric B. Hill is a professional violin player and teacher with over 20 years experience.

    Article Source: EzineArticles



Sunday, December 17, 2017

Do More Than Fiddle Around

A violin
A violin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A violin can be an intimidating musical instrument – it’s beautiful to look at and listen to but a violin requires an extraordinary amount of education and discipline to be played properly. If you’re thinking of taking violin lessons but feel anxious about it, familiarize yourself with the instrument. Here’s an introduction to the art of playing the violin.

As you probably know, a violinist rests his or her chin and the left shoulder on the conveniently named “shoulder rest” of the violin and sounds the instrument by plucking the strings and/or drawing a bow across them. One reason a violin is so much more difficult to play than a guitar or other stringed instrument, is there are no frets. A violinist must finger a string ever so precisely.

A violin player uses his or her left hand to pluck the strings; beginners might want to put pieces of tape on the instrument to show where notes are located so they can place their fingers in the correct spots. Moreover, for purposes of learning proper hand placement, a person’s index finger is labeled “1,” and his or her pinky finger is as expected, “4” – in most instructional booklets, the notes to be played are accompanied by numbers for suggested fingering. There are then various positions of your left hand that you will learn; you will most likely start at first position.

But what do you use your right hand for? And what about the bow? Basically, your left hand creates the pitches, while your right hand or bow is responsible for the tone, rhythm, dynamics, and articulation of the music.

Once you understand how to read violin music, you can then learn all sorts of ways to pluck the strings, as well as multiple bowing techniques. Soon enough you’ll be ready to experiment with the different styles of music, like classical, jazz, and folk (or fiddling).

Learning to play the violin is a rewarding hobby. Lots of people can play the piano, and even more, can play the guitar. But how many people can say they are a violinist?




Friday, December 15, 2017

FIDDLE - Music-Instruments of the World

Fiddle - Music-Instruments of the World




Friday, November 10, 2017

How to Play the VIOLIN

Violin and bow.
Violin and bow.
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Learning how to play the violin can be a difficult but rewarding experience. Playing the violin takes a large amount of knowledge and skill. Violinists must know how to hold the violin, how to finger the notes, and how to sound the notes.

Holding the violin properly is very important. If a violinist holds the instrument incorrectly, it will be uncomfortable and more difficult to play. The left arm is curved underneath the body around over the neck so that the hand and fingers are over the strings. The chin rest is placed between the left shoulder and chin. The right arm is then brought up in front of the face in order to bow or pluck the strings.

Once the violinist knows how to hold the violin, they can learn about fingering the notes. Violins do not have frets such as those found on guitars; players must practice and train their ears until they know exactly where the notes are on the fingerboard. There are four positions on the violin; the first position is furthest away from the player's face and sounds low-pitched notes. The fourth position produces the highest notes and is further up the neck. The strings are tuned, from lowest to highest, G, D, A, E. Violinists can play open strings, which means they play a string without pressing on it, or they can change the tone of the string by applying pressure.

There are several ways of sounding notes once they are fingered.  Violinists can drag the bow across the string or strings they wish to play, creating a long, steady sound. They can also play pizzicato, which involves plucking the strings with the fingers of the right hand, creating a sudden, staccato sound.

Just knowing how to play the violin is not enough. Violinists must also be able to know what to play as well. Violinists should also be able to read music or play by ear, assuring that they will sound good when playing in a group with other musicians.




Friday, September 29, 2017

The Plucky Notes Of The DOUBLE BASS

Bass, Mexico
Photo  by Rod Waddington 
The double bass is the largest string instrument that is played with a bow or plucked. It also has the lowest pitch, which is why it is often used as a bass. While it is most commonly known as the double bass, there are a few other names that it is known by, such as the string bass, the bass violin, and the bull fiddle. Most will associate the double base to classical music, much like the rest of the string instruments are, but it is often used in other music genres including bluegrass, rock, and roll, blues and jazz.
Like most other string instruments, double basses are made in a particular way in order to get the right sound. Maple, spruce, and ebony are the three different kinds of wood that are used in its construction. The strings of the earlier double bass models were made out of the animal gut, but today they are made out of steel, which holds a better pitch and a better volume when played. The strings are quite durable and are normally played with a bow, though they are sometimes plucked.




Another difference between the double bass in the past and the one that is constructed today have also differed. The earlier double bass was only constructed with three strings. Today, the double bass has four strings. It is interesting to note that while the double bass had only three strings in earlier times, other string instruments in its family had five or six strings. Today, the double bass is tuned in fourths and the strings are tuned to E, A, D, and G. While this is the norm, there are the odd basses that are tuned to fifths; it often depends on the musician's needs of the instrument. As a result of the size, the musician also has the opportunity to choose whether they would like to play the instrument standing up or sitting down. Most these days prefer to sit down to play the instrument. They will sit on a stool that is measured to a certain height so that the musician can reach the notes easily.


The double bass might not be as picked as often as some other instruments by beginners, but it is one that can be a rewarding instrument to play. While it is sometimes used as a bass and is referred to as a bass, it does have the ability to play more than background notes. It is quite flexible in what it can play because of the range of notes it can hit, it is only that the pitch is so low that many will prefer to have it in the background. It might not be a good choice for someone who is new to reading and playing music, but it could be if it is something that the person really wants to play. Musicians who have played a few other string instruments may have an easier time picking it up because they are more familiar with playing string instruments.



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

VIOLIN And VIOLA Instruments Are The Same Thing?

Viola and unfinished Cello
Photo  by CelloPics 
The question whether the violin and viola players are the same - the answer is yes and no.

Compared to the violin, the viola is much larger in physical size and length of the longest string. In addition, the Viola is generally preferred with thicker strings than the violin. The thicker viola strings mean that more pressure should be used with a bow to make them produce sounds.

The fact remains that the material used and the performance of these two instruments are similar. Unlike the violin, there is no prescribed standard size for a full alto.

For years, manufacturers have experimented with all types of sizes and shapes for viola -though so essential to their efforts failed. Increase the size of living Viola has often led to a much deeper tone of an instrument, rather than the tone of the cello. Some of the latest innovations are to make the viola a shorter and lighter while finding ways to preserve the traditional tone.


To put things in perspective, the violin is the largest instrument of the violin family that includes all acute viola, cello, and bass. The violation can be considered as the second worst of the member of the violin family. The viola has a key role in the symphony, but his solo repertoire is limited.

Violin and viola, with many things in common, such as shape and color, but it sounds like they are different even if the two sounds are equally pleasing.

As for the bow, if the artist so that the arch is a 90-degree angle, then it is a violin bow. The viola bow, by contrast, is a 90-degree angle with a rounded corner and is much heavier.

Looking at the strings, you will notice that it has a violin E string and devoid of C-string, while the viola is the opposite. Coming to the pitch, the violin is more e-chain, while the viola is lower c-string.
Music professionals confirm that the violins are usually acute upper Viola playing music, while the lower slopes. However, the techniques used are essentially the same instruments and require the same level of training and practice for learning.


When you decide to learn to play the violin or viola, you should take into consideration the size of your hand. Applicants with large hands may choose the viola as those with smaller hands may find playing the viola a little inconvenient. For someone who wants attention and gets noticed at a concert, the violin is the obvious choice. But if you're quiet and humble, the viola is the ideal tool for you.

Whether it's a violin or viola, you need a knowledgeable and competent trainer if you're willing to learn. Since the violists are relatively less, you may find it difficult to identify a good teacher also near you while obtaining an experienced violin teacher could be easier. But if you want to make it big in music, learning the viola is the right thing to do because there are not many talented violists.

    Author: Ryan Ding
    Violin And Viola Instruments Are The Same Thing? -Know more, on dinnel.com.
    Articles Source: GoArticles



Sunday, August 27, 2017

How to ROSIN a VIOLIN Bow

Rosin is a resin collected from pine trees all around the world. It is drawn from the trees in a tapping process in the same way that maple syrup is collected. A small area of the tree's bark is removed and a drip channel and collection container is fitted, the tree is cut with V-shaped grooves which allow the resin to run out of the tree into the container. The resin is mixed with other tree saps and purified. It is then heated and melted and poured into molds. After the mixture is set it is smoothed and polished and packed into containers.

Various types of violin/viola/cello rosin
Various types of violin/viola/cello rosin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The purpose of rosin is to make the hair grip the strings of the violin and cause them to vibrate. Without out rosin, the hair would glide smoothly over the strings and no sound would be produced.

Before you can successfully rosin your violin bow you must know about the two kinds of rosin. The first kind is called dark rosin this is also known as winter rosin. Dark rosin is a softer stickier rosin and is suited to dry cool climates. Light rosin is harder than and not as sticky as dark rosin. Both will work fine on any violin you must experiment with different kinds until you find the type that is right for you.

Applying the rosin is very easy. Simply take the rosin and glide it several times up and down the bow. Remember to use the rosin sparingly most people use far too much this will cause the rosin to drip down of the strings and stain the violin.

You do not need to apply rosin every day once every four or five times is enough after you have been playing a while you will develop a feel for how much rosin you need.

    By Eric B Hill
    Eric B. Hill is a professional violin player and teacher with over 20 years experience.
    Article Source: EzineArticles



Friday, August 25, 2017

The Correct Way to Have a Good VIOLIN BOW Hold

The way the violin bow works is that the player holds it on the string and they pull it across the strings of the violin. This, in turn, creates vibrations and creates the resonating sound. It is an incredibly important part of learning how to play the violin, as it can cause bad consequences if a person develops a poor bow hold. So it should be one of the first things a violin player learns.

For many violin players, their downfall is holding the violin bow correctly. It is because it is so difficult to hold so precisely. The violin bow hold seems quite easy in principle, but holding some fingers in some unusual places may take a while to get used to.

bow into the distance
Violin Bow - Photo  by BotheredByBees 

So here is some advice on how to hold the violin bow correctly:

1. Make sure the bow isn't too tight - the fiddlestick at its thinnest part between the wood and horsehair should be thin enough just to be able to scrape through a small finger.
2. Place the index finger around the side of the bow and place the end of the finger on the side of it
3. Move the middle and ring fingers over to the other side of the bow - roughly placing the ring finger on the circle on the other side.  
4. Finally, place the little finger on its tip toward the back of the violin bow, but not on the metal screwing part.
5. Be calm, as holding or tensing the bow a lot will make it harder to pull the bow over the string and make a better quality sound. So try to loosely put the fingers in place.
6. Try various holdings - look at what happens when you place more pressure on the bow; pressing harder should create a louder noise for example. This way, you can see if your fingers stay in the same correct places when doing different things.



So if you hold the violin bow correctly, then you shall create a much better sound and a smoother action which will help improve other difficult violin playing techniques in the future.

So learning how to play the violin with the correct bow hold shall make a massive difference in the life that you have of playing the stringed instrument.




Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Violin From A-Z - PAGANINI

Hello, today I will be carrying on with my series everything you need to know about violin from A-Z. Today we are on P for Paganini. Paganini is one of the most celebrated violin virtuosi of all time.

During his life, e advanced violin technique by leaps and bounds and created many of the techniques that are taken for granted today.

Niccolò Paganini
Niccolò Paganini (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
He was born in Genoa Italy and was the third of six children. At the age of five, Paganini started learning mandolin from his father and moved to the violin at the age of seven. During his childhood, he displayed extraordinary musical talent and earned many musical scholarships.

He studied under many local violinists but quickly outshone his teachers who would refer him to their teachers who he would outstrip who would refer him to their teachers and so on. By the age of 18, he had become famous and wealthy from performing freelance concerts and had developed a major reputation as a gambler and womanizer.

Paganini took to the road performing throughout Europe and his fame soon spread with highly successful concerts in Vienna, London, and Paris. His technical ability and willingness to display it earned him much acclaim.

Paganini's health deteriorated due to mercury poisoning used by the medicine that was at that time used to treat syphilis. He became unable to play the violin and was forced to retire eventually dying of throat cancer. He refused the last rites believing that he had longer to live and died before a priest could perform them. Because of this, he was refused a Christian funeral and his body languished for months before it was finally laid to rest of hallowed ground.

    By Eric B Hill
    Eric B. Hill is an professional violin player and teacher with over 20 years experience.
    Article Source: EzineArticles


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Bowed musical instrument VIOLA

Many people are unfamiliar to the instrument viola and can envision a viola to be a violin. But viola is a stringed instrument that looks similar to violin and it belongs to the class of stringed instrument that is bowed like a violin. On a closer inspection of the instrument viola you can recognize the distinctions between a violin and a viola. The timbre of viola is filled with rich sound and it has a full bodied structure .The instrument is generally not played solo like violin and it does not have the repute of a violin .It is played in concerts and you can find the instrument getting played in inner musical chords and harmonies.

Playing viola.jpg
"Playing viola". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.


Violas have a bow like structure and to play the instrument it is positioned on the shoulders of the player. The instrument size does not have a regular standard size like a violin. The size of viola varies to suit musicians of different age groups. For a child the size of the viola can be 12 inches and for adults the size varies from 13 to 16.5 inches depending upon the choice of the musician. Even a small sized viola has the strong sound like the bigger ones due to its sound box. Voila has a large body and thick strings that need the musicians to have great physical stamina to play the instrument and to press the strings. A few people find it uncomfortable to hold viola on shoulders and for such instrument players a light material and short viola are made accessible.

There are many choices available to the buyers who wish to buy viola for themselves .The person’s comfort level on the instrument helps in selection of the instrument type. Viola is hand made instrument and its looks are very aesthetical .There are many a popular violas in market and one among them is called Mozart.



To purchase a viola you need not go to the local store near your house to check out for the instrument. The internet technology can help you to have your instrument at your doorstep through the window shopping faculties available on the websites. You can get the product online with a guarantee that if you are discontented with the delivered product you are free to return it back to us. You can call us through the leading website of the product called Stringworks. To get more information regarding the instrument and to give it just a try to know how to play the instrument, you can opt for a hired instrument through our website.



Friday, July 28, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About the Violin From A-Z - The MESSIAH STRADIVARIUS

The Messiah Stradivarius violin by Antonio Str...
The Messiah Stradivarius violin by Antonio Stradivari,
on display at the Ashmolean museum
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hello, today I am continuing with my series everything you need to know about the violin from A-Z. We are now on M for the Messiah. The messiah is a violin made by the legendary Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. The messiah remained in the Stradivarius work shop until his death. After which it was sold and went through many hands finally arriving with French luthier Jean Baptiste Vuillaume.


Where does the name messiah come from?
Vuillaume had bought the violin from a travelling Italian violin dealer named Luigi Tarisio who had constantly boasted of a beautiful violin he had discovered but never brought forth to show anyone.
Upon hearing this the French violinist Delphin Alard, who was son in law to Vuillaume exclaimed "Your violin is like the messiah one waits for him but he never appears!" Thus the violin was baptized with the name Messiah.

When Tarisio died in 1855 Vauillaume, realizing that Tarisio had a large stock of valuable Italian violins, traveled to a farm near Milan belonging to Tarisio where he found and purchased over a 140 instruments including the messiah which had apparently never been used. Even though it was nearly 150 years old it looked as if it had just came from Stradivari's hands

The Messiah was bequeathed to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England. The conditions in the will of the former owner being that the Museum can never allow the violin to be played. Because of this the instrument is in pristine conditions as it has apparently never been played, it is now one of the most valuable Stradivari violins.

    Eric B. Hill is an professional violin player and teacher with over 20 years experience.

    Article Source: EzineArticles


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About the Violin From A-Z - LUTHIER

Hello today I am carrying on with my series everything you need to know about violin from A-Z. We are now on L for luthier. A luthier is someone who builds violins and other stringed instruments such as guitars, mandolins, lutes and cellos. The art of the luthier is divided into two categories those who make instruments that are plucked and those who make instruments that are bowed this second category also contains a further specialization known as an archetier, a person who makes bows.

Varnishing a violin by Hildegard Dodel, luthie...
Varnishing a violin by Hildegard Dodel, luthier in Cremona
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)

The violin as we know it today was created by Andrea Amati of Cremona Italy. Amati was originally was lute maker and gave birth to an entire family of renowned luthiers, his son also becoming a master with several noted apprentices.

The most famous of all luthiers is undoubtedly the legendary Antonio Stradivari also of Cremona Italy. Stradivari started out as a student of Amati but soon eclipsed him. To this day Stradivari is still known for his violins which are now worth millions.

Violin making is an art and science. The luthier must have many skills he must be a wood sculptor delicately carving the shapes of the instrument. He must be an engineer designing and constructing the lines and surfaces of the piece. He must be an acoustician, improving the sound and design of each instrument that he makes. Using his experience and technique to refine the subtle nuances of every instrument built.

Lastly the luthier must be a musician if he cannot actually play the instruments that he produces then his skill is less than worthless. The luthier must understand the musician's needs and wants and must be able to supply them.

    Eric B. Hill is an professional violin player and teacher with over 20 years experience.
    Article Source: EzineArticles


Monday, July 17, 2017

VIOLIN or FIDDLE? The Differences Explained by a Player

“That’s a fine lookin’ fiddle ya got there, kid.”
I gritted my teeth into a forced smile and quietly thanked the old man at the bus stop. “Fiddle!?” I thought, gritting my teeth into a polite smile. “It’s a V-I-O-L-I-N, you old goat!”
Teenagers are sensitive and easily embarrassed, but this chickie had a bit too much pride in self-labeled “superiority as a classical musician,” which meant I was annoyingly arrogant and a general pain in the butt.

Humbled by merciless teasing in jazz college opened my eyes to the music outside my sanctioned little bubble.

I learned to fiddle.
For the most part “fiddle” is a style of music, such as Celtic, Bluegrass or Old Time. Nevertheless, there are a few differences and stereotypes between fiddle and violin.

Robert Blackwelder playing the fiddle: Dundee, Florida
Robert Blackwelder playing the fiddle - Photo  by      State Library and Archives of Florida

We’ve all threatened Fluffy that she’ll be taking a trip to the string factory if she doesn’t stop scratching the couch. There’s the violin’s dark secret of winding silver around a stretched piece of animal tissue (run Fluffy, run!). This used to be the principal method of making violin strings.
Gut strings possessed a rich and full quality ideal for orchestral playing. They weren’t perfect for the bank account, however, and fiddlers resorted to the cheaper alternative: steel. Steel strings have a “bright” timbre (tone) and carry well in a solo situation.

Steel strings are very difficult to tune with the violin’s clumsy wooden pegs. Many steel strings were broken until the glorious invention of fine-tuners, the tiny little metal mechanisms on the tailpiece that makes tuning a piece of cake. Violinists adopted this technology for use on their steel “E” strings which is nearly impossible to tune with the peg.

When I was youth symphony many players removed their lower string fine tuners haughtily, like a child insisting training wheels are for babies. The use of fine tuners on all four strings unfortunately had become associated with less skilled musicians since fiddlers used them. There is also evidence that fine tuners alter the quality of harmonics (higher frequencies). This a ridiculous stereotype was invented: violinists use the pegs, fiddlers use fine tuners.

It is thought that fiddles are simply cheap violins. At one time this could have been true, as poorer or rural folks usually played home-made fiddles, not Strads. They were less likely to afford private lessons or attend the symphony, but learned traditional tunes at jams and ceilidhs (kay-lees). Since many fiddlers never had formal lessons, most couldn’t read music and played everything by ear, whereas violinists could read music usually could not improvise. Another stereotype was invented.
Holding a violin with one’s jaw makes it nearly impossible to talk and play simultaneously (similar to walking around with your pants around your ankles). Square dancing fiddlers dealt with this difficulty by holding the violin down on their arm rather than under the chin, freeing up their jaws to “call” the dance moves. This technique is a big no-no in classical playing and it created yet another rift between violin and fiddle.

Luckily it seems the violin/fiddle gap has narrowed considerably in the past few years. Most players use new hybrid strings that posses a full and rich, yet clear, tone and respond well to both classical and fiddle playing. Classical violinists aren’t so sticky about fine tuners anymore as they are seen as an advantage over using stubborn old pegs.

The resurgence of fiddle music in pop culture has created an opportunity for fiddlers to aspire to a higher level of playing ability and for violin students to branch out and try other genres of music. Hence fiddlers and violinists alike have finer instruments and a formal music education.
Fiddle technique is being abandoned by many fiddlers who have discovered the benefits, such as greater speed and fewer backaches, of the classical technique.

New programs in music education in new programs has produced fiddlers who can read music and violinists who can improvise.
As more musicians branch out musically and develop new ways of playing there will be little difference between "violin” and “fiddle.” Musicians will feel much more comfortable playing with each other and the stereotypes will fade away, both violin and fiddle will be valid.

You’ll see the old man at the bus stop whistling to “Celtic Swing Baroque Techno” on his MP3 player. 

    By Rhiannon Schmitt
    Rhiannon Schmitt (nee Nachbaur) is a professional violinist and music teacher who has enjoyed creative writing for years. She writes for two Canadian publications and Australia's "Music Teacher Magazine."
    Her business, Fiddleheads Violin School & Shop, has won several distinguished young entrepreneur business awards and offers beginner to professional level instruments, accessories and supplies for very reasonable prices: Visit http://www.fiddleheads.ca
    Article Source: EzineArticles