Violin

Violin

Overview
The violin is a string instrument
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

, usually with four strings
Strings (music)
A string is the vibrating element that produces sound in string instruments, such as the guitar, harp, piano, and members of the violin family. Strings are lengths of a flexible material kept under tension so that they may vibrate freely, but controllably. Strings may be "plain"...

 tuned in perfect fifth
Perfect fifth
In classical music from Western culture, a fifth is a musical interval encompassing five staff positions , and the perfect fifth is a fifth spanning seven semitones, or in meantone, four diatonic semitones and three chromatic semitones...

s. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family
Violin family
The violin family of musical instruments was developed in Italy in the sixteenth century. The standard modern violin family consists of the violin, viola, cello, and double bass....

 of string instruments, which includes the viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

 and cello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

.

The violin is sometimes informally called a fiddle
Fiddle
The term fiddle may refer to any bowed string musical instrument, most often the violin. It is also a colloquial term for the instrument used by players in all genres, including classical music...

, regardless of the type of music played on it. The word violin comes from the Middle Latin word vitula, meaning stringed instrument; this word is also believed to be the source of the Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 "fiddle".
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Encyclopedia
The violin is a string instrument
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

, usually with four strings
Strings (music)
A string is the vibrating element that produces sound in string instruments, such as the guitar, harp, piano, and members of the violin family. Strings are lengths of a flexible material kept under tension so that they may vibrate freely, but controllably. Strings may be "plain"...

 tuned in perfect fifth
Perfect fifth
In classical music from Western culture, a fifth is a musical interval encompassing five staff positions , and the perfect fifth is a fifth spanning seven semitones, or in meantone, four diatonic semitones and three chromatic semitones...

s. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family
Violin family
The violin family of musical instruments was developed in Italy in the sixteenth century. The standard modern violin family consists of the violin, viola, cello, and double bass....

 of string instruments, which includes the viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

 and cello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

.

The violin is sometimes informally called a fiddle
Fiddle
The term fiddle may refer to any bowed string musical instrument, most often the violin. It is also a colloquial term for the instrument used by players in all genres, including classical music...

, regardless of the type of music played on it. The word violin comes from the Middle Latin word vitula, meaning stringed instrument; this word is also believed to be the source of the Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 "fiddle". The violin, while it has ancient origins, acquired most of its modern characteristics in 16th-century Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, with some further modifications occurring in the 18th and 19th centuries. Violinists and collectors particularly prize the instruments made by the Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò is the name given to Gasparo di Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers and expert double bass player of which many and very detailed historical records exist.He was born in Salò on Lake Garda, in a family with legal, artistic, musical and craft interests...

, Giovanni Paolo Maggini
Giovanni Paolo Maggini
Giovanni Paolo Maggini , was a string maker born in Botticino , Italy. Maggini was a pupil of the most important violin maker of the Brescian school, Gasparo da Salò....

, Stradivari, Guarneri
Guarneri
The Guarneri is the family name of a group of distinguished luthiers from Cremona in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, whose standing is considered comparable to those of the Amati and Stradivari families...

 and Amati
Amati
Amati is the name of a family of Italian violin makers, who flourished at Cremona from about 1549 to 1740.-Andrea Amati:Andrea Amati was not the earliest maker of violins whose instruments still survive today...

 families from the 16th to the 18th century in Brescia
Brescia
Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

 and Cremona
Cremona
Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

 and by Jacob Stainer
Jacob Stainer
Jacob Stainer was the earliest and best known Austrian luthier.Stainer was born in Absam, Austria. His designs influenced instrument construction in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, parts of Italy, and several other countries....

 in Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

. Great numbers of instruments have come from the hands of "lesser" makers, as well as still greater numbers of mass-produced commercial "trade violins" coming from cottage industries in places such as Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

, Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, and Mirecourt
Mirecourt
Mirecourt is a commune in the Vosges department in Lorraine in northeastern France. Mirecourt is known for lace-making and the manufacture of musical instruments, particularly those of the violin family...

. Many of these trade instruments were formerly sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co. and other mass merchandisers.

A person who makes or repairs violins is called a luthier
Luthier
A luthier is someone who makes or repairs lutes and other string instruments. In the United States, the term is used interchangeably with a term for the specialty of each maker, such as violinmaker, guitar maker, lute maker, etc...

, or simply a violin maker. The parts of a violin are usually made from different types of wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

 (although electric violins may not be made of wood at all, since their sound may not be dependent on specific acoustic
Musical acoustics
Musical acoustics or music acoustics is the branch of acoustics concerned with researching and describing the physics of music – how sounds employed as music work...

 characteristics of the instrument's construction), and it is usually strung with gut
Catgut
Catgut is a type of cord that is prepared from the natural fibre found in the walls of animal intestines. Usually sheep or goat intestines are used, but it is occasionally made from the intestines of cattle, hogs, horses, mules, or donkeys.-Etymology:...

, nylon
Nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

 or other synthetic, or steel strings.

Someone who plays the violin is called a violinist or a fiddler. The violinist produces sound by drawing a bow
Bow (music)
In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones....

 across one or more strings (which may be stopped by the fingers of the other hand to produce a full range of pitches), by plucking the strings (with either hand), or by a variety of other techniques
Playing the violin
Playing the violin entails holding the instrument under the chin, supported by the left shoulder . The strings are sounded either by drawing the bow across them , or sometimes by plucking them...

. The violin is played by musicians in a wide variety of musical genres, including Baroque music
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

, classical, jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

, and rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

. The violin has come to be played in many non-western music cultures all over the world.

History


The earliest stringed instruments were mostly plucked (e.g. the Greek lyre
Lyre
The lyre is a stringed musical instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek "λύρα" and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script...

). Bowed
Bow (music)
In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones....

 instruments may have originated in the equestrian
Equestrianism
Equestrianism more often known as riding, horseback riding or horse riding refers to the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses...

 cultures of Central Asia, an example being the Kobyz
Kobyz
The Kobyz or kyl-kobyz is an ancient Kazakh string instrument. It has two strings made of horsehair. The resonating cavity is usually covered with goat leather....

  or kyl-kobyz is an ancient Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

, Kazakh
Music of Kazakhstan
The modern state of Kazakhstan is home to the Kazakh State Kurmangazy Orchestra of Folk Instruments, the Kazakh State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kazakh National Opera and the Kazakh State Chamber Orchestra. The folk instrument orchestra was named after Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly, a famous composer and...

 string instrument
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

 or Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

n instrument Morin huur:
Turkic and Mongolian horsemen from Inner Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 were probably the world’s earliest fiddlers. Their two-stringed upright fiddles were strung with horsehair
Horsehair
Horsehair is the long, coarse hair growing on the manes and tails of horses. It is used for various purposes, including upholstery, brushes, the bows of musical instruments, a hard-wearing fabric called haircloth, and for horsehair plaster, a wallcovering material formerly used in the construction...

 strings, played with horsehair bows, and often feature a carved horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

’s head at the end of the neck. The violins, viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

s, and cello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

s we play today, and whose bows are still strung with horsehair, are a legacy of the nomads.


It is believed that these instruments eventually spread to China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, the Byzantine Empire and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, where they developed into instruments such as the erhu
Erhu
The erhu is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, more specifically a spike fiddle, which may also be called a "southern fiddle", and sometimes known in the Western world as the "Chinese violin" or a "Chinese two-stringed fiddle". It is used as a solo instrument as well as in small ensembles...

 in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, the rebab
Rebab
The rebab , also rebap, rabab, rebeb, rababah, or al-rababa) is a type of string instrument so named no later than the 8th century and spread via Islamic trading routes over much of North Africa, the Middle East, parts of Europe, and the Far East...

 in the Middle East, the lyra
Byzantine lyra
The Byzantine lyra or lira , was a medieval bowed string musical instrument in the Byzantine Empire and is an ancestor of most European bowed instruments, including the violin. In its popular form the lyra was a pear-shaped instrument with three to five strings, held upright and played by stopping...

 in the Byzantine Empire and the esraj
Esraj
The esraj is a string instrument found in two forms throughout the north, central, and east regions of India. It is a young instrument by Indian terms, being only about 200 years old. The dilruba is found in the north, where it is used in religious music and light classical songs in the urban areas...

 in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The violin in its present form emerged in early 16th-Century Northern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, where the port towns of Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 and Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 maintained extensive ties to central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 through the trade routes of the silk road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

.

The modern European violin evolved from various bowed stringed instruments from the Middle East the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. It is most likely that the first makers of violins borrowed from three types of current instruments: the rebec
Rebec
The rebecha is a bowed string musical instrument. In its most common form, it has a narrow boat-shaped body and 1-5 strings and is played on the arm or under the chin, like a violin.- Origins :The rebec dates back to the Middle Ages and was particularly popular in the 15th and 16th centuries...

, in use since the 10th century (itself derived from the Byzantine lyra
Byzantine lyra
The Byzantine lyra or lira , was a medieval bowed string musical instrument in the Byzantine Empire and is an ancestor of most European bowed instruments, including the violin. In its popular form the lyra was a pear-shaped instrument with three to five strings, held upright and played by stopping...

 and the Arabic rebab
Rebab
The rebab , also rebap, rabab, rebeb, rababah, or al-rababa) is a type of string instrument so named no later than the 8th century and spread via Islamic trading routes over much of North Africa, the Middle East, parts of Europe, and the Far East...

), the Renaissance fiddle
Vielle
The vielle is a European bowed stringed instrument used in the Medieval period, similar to a modern violin but with a somewhat longer and deeper body, five gut strings, and a leaf-shaped pegbox with frontal tuning pegs. The instrument was also known as a fidel or a viuola, although the French...

, and the lira da braccio
Lira da braccio
The lira da braccio was a European bowed string instrument of the Renaissance. It was used by Italian poet-musicians in court in the 15th and 16th centuries to accompany their improvised recitations of lyric and narrative poetry. It is most closely related to the medieval fiddle, or vielle, and...

 (derived from the Byzantine lira). One of the earliest explicit descriptions of the instrument, including its tuning, was in the Epitome musical by Jambe de Fer, published in Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

 in 1556. By this time, the violin had already begun to spread throughout Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

.

The oldest documented violin to have four strings, like the modern violin, is supposed to have been constructed in 1555 by Andrea Amati, but the date is very doubtful. (Other violins, documented significantly earlier, only had three strings and were called violetta.) The violin immediately became very popular, both among street musicians and the nobility, illustrated by the fact that the French king Charles IX
Charles IX of France
Charles IX was King of France, ruling from 1560 until his death. His reign was dominated by the Wars of Religion. He is best known as king at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.-Childhood:...

 ordered Amati to construct 24 violins for him in 1560. The oldest surviving violin, dated inside, is from this set, and is known as the Charles IX, made in Cremona
Cremona
Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

 c. 1560. The finest Renaissance carved and decorated violin in the world is the Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò is the name given to Gasparo di Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers and expert double bass player of which many and very detailed historical records exist.He was born in Salò on Lake Garda, in a family with legal, artistic, musical and craft interests...

 (1574 c.) owned by Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria
Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria
Ferdinand II, Archduke of Further Austria was ruler of Further Austria including Tirol.-Life account:...

 and later, from 1841, by the Norwegian virtuoso Ole Bull
Ole Bull
Ole Bornemann Bull was a Norwegian violinist and composer.-Background:Bull was born in Bergen. He was the eldest of ten children of Johan Storm Bull and Anna Dorothea Borse Geelmuyden . His brother, Georg Andreas Bull became a noted Norwegian architect...

, who used it for forty years and thousands of concerts, for his very powerful and beautiful tone, similar to those of a Guarneri. It is now in the Vestlandske Kustindustrimuseum in Bergen
Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

 (Norway). "The Messiah"
Messiah Stradivarius
The Messiah-Salabue Stradivarius of 1716 is a violin made by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. It is considered to be the only Stradivarius in existence in as new state....

 or "Le Messie" (also known as the "Salabue") made by Antonio Stradivari
Antonio Stradivari
Antonio Stradivari was an Italian luthier and a crafter of string instruments such as violins, cellos, guitars, violas, and harps. Stradivari is generally considered the most significant artisan in this field. The Latinized form of his surname, Stradivarius, as well as the colloquial, "Strad", is...

 in 1716 remains pristine. It is now located in the Ashmolean Museum
Ashmolean Museum
The Ashmolean Museum on Beaumont Street, Oxford, England, is the world's first university museum...

 of Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

.


The most famous violin makers (luthiers) between the 16th century and the 18th century include:
  • The school of Brescia, beginning in the late 14th with liras, violettas, violas and active in the field of the violin in the first half of 16th century
  • The Dalla Corna family, active 1510–1560 in Brescia
    Brescia
    Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

     and Venezia, Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

  • The Micheli family, active 1530–1615 in Brescia
  • The Inverardi family active 1550–1580 in Brescia
  • The Bertolotti Gasparo da Salò
    Gasparo da Salò
    Gasparo da Salò is the name given to Gasparo di Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers and expert double bass player of which many and very detailed historical records exist.He was born in Salò on Lake Garda, in a family with legal, artistic, musical and craft interests...

     family, active 1530–1615 in Salò and Brescia
  • Giovanni Paolo Maggini, active 1600–1630 in Brescia
  • The school of Cremona, beginning in the half of 16 century vith violas and violone and in the field of violin in the second half of 16 century
  • The Amati
    Amati
    Amati is the name of a family of Italian violin makers, who flourished at Cremona from about 1549 to 1740.-Andrea Amati:Andrea Amati was not the earliest maker of violins whose instruments still survive today...

     family, active 1500–1740 in Cremona
    Cremona
    Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

    , Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

  • The Guarneri
    Guarneri
    The Guarneri is the family name of a group of distinguished luthiers from Cremona in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, whose standing is considered comparable to those of the Amati and Stradivari families...

     family, active 1626–1744 in Cremona
  • The Stradivari family, active 1644–1737 in Cremona


Significant changes occurred in the construction of the violin in the 18th century, particularly in the length and angle of the neck, as well as a heavier bass bar. The majority of old instruments have undergone these modifications, and hence are in a significantly different state than when they left the hands of their makers, doubtless with differences in sound and response. But these instruments in their present condition set the standard for perfection in violin craftsmanship and sound, and violin makers all over the world try to come as close to this ideal as possible.

To this day, instruments from the so-called Golden Age of violin making, especially those made by Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù, are the most sought-after instruments by both collectors and performers. The current record amount paid for a Stradivari violin is £9.8 million (US$15.9 million), when the instrument known as the Lady Blunt was sold by Tarisio Auctions
Tarisio Auctions
- Tarisio Auctions :This is the main page for Tarisio Auctions, the online string instrument auction house. For the Italian violin collector, see Luigi Tarisio....

 in an online auction on June 20, 2011.

Construction and mechanics



A violin typically consists of a spruce
Spruce
A spruce is a tree of the genus Picea , a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal regions of the earth. Spruces are large trees, from tall when mature, and can be distinguished by their whorled branches and conical...

 top (the soundboard, also known as the top plate, table, or belly), maple ribs and back, two endblocks, a neck
Neck (music)
The neck is the part of certain string instruments that projects from the main body and is the base of the fingerboard, where the fingers are placed to stop the strings at different pitches. Guitars, lutes, the violin family, and the mandolin family are examples of instruments which have necks.The...

, a bridge
Bridge (instrument)
A bridge is a device for supporting the strings on a stringed instrument and transmitting the vibration of those strings to some other structural component of the instrument in order to transfer the sound to the surrounding air.- Explanation :...

, a soundpost, four strings, and various fittings, optionally including a chinrest
Chinrest
A chinrest is a shaped piece of wood attached to the body of a violin or a viola to aid in the positioning of the player's jaw or chin on the instrument. The chinrest may be made of ebony, rosewood, boxwood, or plastic...

, which may attach directly over, or to the left of, the tailpiece
Tailpiece
A tailpiece is a component on many stringed musical instruments that anchors one end of the strings, usually the end opposite the end with the tuning mechanism the scroll, headstock, peghead, etc.-Function and construction:...

. A distinctive feature of a violin body is its hourglass-like shape and the arch
Arch
An arch is a structure that spans a space and supports a load. Arches appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture and their systematic use started with the Ancient Romans who were the first to apply the technique to a wide range of structures.-Technical aspects:The...

ing of its top and back. The hourglass shape comprises two upper bouts, two lower bouts, and two concave C-bouts at the waist, providing clearance for the bow
Bow (music)
In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones....

.

The voice of a violin depends on its shape, the wood it is made from, the graduation (the thickness profile) of both the top and back, and the varnish that coats its outside surface. The varnish and especially the wood continue to improve with age, making the fixed supply of old violins much sought-after.

The very great majority of glued joints in the instrument use animal hide glue for a number of reasons: it is capable of making a thinner joint than most other glues, it is reversible (brittle enough to crack with carefully applied force, and removable with warm water) when disassembly is needed, and since fresh hide glue sticks to old hide glue, more original wood can be preserved when repairing a joint. (More modern glues must be cleaned off entirely for the new joint to be sound, which generally involves scraping off some wood along with the old glue.) Weaker, diluted glue is usually used to fasten the top to the ribs, and the nut to the fingerboard, since common repairs involve removing these parts.

The purfling
Purfling
Purfling is a narrow binding inlaid into the edges of the top and often bottom plates of stringed instruments. Purfling serves to reinforce the plates and prevent cracking along their edges....

 running around the edge of the spruce top provides some protection against cracks originating at the edge. It also allows the top to flex more independently of the rib structure. Painted-on faux
Fake
Fake means not real.Fake may also refer to:In music:* Fake , a Swedish synthpop band active in the 1980s*Fake?, a Japanese rock band* Fake , 2010 song by Ai featuring Namie Amuro...

 purfling on the top is usually a sign of an inferior instrument. The back and ribs are typically made of maple
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

, most often with a matching striped figure
Figure (wood)
In wood, figure refers to the appearance of wood, as seen on a longitudinal surface : a "figured wood" is not plain.The figure of a particular piece of wood is, in part, due to its grain and, in part, due to the cut, or to innate properties of the wood...

, referred to as flame, fiddleback, or tiger stripe.

The neck
Neck (music)
The neck is the part of certain string instruments that projects from the main body and is the base of the fingerboard, where the fingers are placed to stop the strings at different pitches. Guitars, lutes, the violin family, and the mandolin family are examples of instruments which have necks.The...

 is usually maple with a flamed figure compatible with that of the ribs and back. It carries the fingerboard
Fingerboard
The fingerboard is a part of most stringed instruments. It is a thin, long strip of material, usually wood, that is laminated to the front of the neck of an instrument and above which the strings run...

, typically made of ebony, but often some other wood stained or painted black. Ebony
Ebony
Ebony is a dense black wood, most commonly yielded by several species in the genus Diospyros, but ebony may also refer to other heavy, black woods from unrelated species. Ebony is dense enough to sink in water. Its fine texture, and very smooth finish when polished, make it valuable as an...

 is the preferred material because of its hardness, beauty, and superior resistance to wear. Fingerboards are dressed to a particular transverse curve, and have a small lengthwise "scoop," or concavity, slightly more pronounced on the lower strings, especially when meant for gut or synthetic strings.

Some old violins (and some made to appear old) have a grafted scroll
Scroll (music)
A scroll is the decoratively carved end of the neck of certain stringed instruments, mainly members of the violin family. The scroll is typically carved in the shape of a volute according to a canonical pattern, although some violins are adorned with carved heads, human and animal. The quality of...

, evidenced by a glue joint between the pegbox and neck. Many authentic old instruments have had their necks reset to a slightly increased angle, and lengthened by about a centimeter. The neck graft allows the original scroll to be kept with a Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 violin when bringing its neck into conformance with modern standards.




The bridge
Bridge (instrument)
A bridge is a device for supporting the strings on a stringed instrument and transmitting the vibration of those strings to some other structural component of the instrument in order to transfer the sound to the surrounding air.- Explanation :...

 is a precisely cut piece of maple that forms the lower anchor point of the vibrating length of the strings and transmits the vibration of the strings to the body of the instrument. Its top curve holds the strings at the proper height from the fingerboard in an arc, allowing each to be sounded separately by the bow. The sound post
Sound post
In a string instrument, the sound post is a small dowel inside the instrument under the treble end of the bridge, spanning the space between the top and back plates and held in place by friction...

, or soul post, fits precisely inside the instrument between the back and top, below the treble foot of the bridge, which it helps support. It also transmits vibrations between the top and the back of the instrument.

The tailpiece
Tailpiece
A tailpiece is a component on many stringed musical instruments that anchors one end of the strings, usually the end opposite the end with the tuning mechanism the scroll, headstock, peghead, etc.-Function and construction:...

 anchors the strings to the lower bout of the violin by means of the tailgut, which loops around an ebony button called the tailpin (sometimes confusingly called the endpin, like the cello's spike), which fits into a tapered hole in the bottom block. Very often the E string will have a fine tuning lever worked by a small screw turned by the fingers. Fine tuners may also be applied to the other strings, especially on a student instrument, and are sometimes built into the tailpiece.

At the scroll end, the strings wind around the tuning peg
Tuning peg
A tuning peg is used to hold a string in the pegbox of a stringed instrument. It may be made of ebony, rosewood, boxwood or other material. Some tuning pegs are ornamented with shell, metal, or plastic inlays, beads or rings....

s in the pegbox. Strings usually have a colored silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 wrapping at both ends, for identification and to provide friction against the pegs. The tapered pegs allow friction to be increased or decreased by the player applying appropriate pressure along the axis of the peg while turning it.

Strings


Strings
Strings (music)
A string is the vibrating element that produces sound in string instruments, such as the guitar, harp, piano, and members of the violin family. Strings are lengths of a flexible material kept under tension so that they may vibrate freely, but controllably. Strings may be "plain"...

 were first made of sheep gut (commonly known as catgut
Catgut
Catgut is a type of cord that is prepared from the natural fibre found in the walls of animal intestines. Usually sheep or goat intestines are used, but it is occasionally made from the intestines of cattle, hogs, horses, mules, or donkeys.-Etymology:...

), or simply gut, which was stretched, dried, and twisted. In the early years of the 20th century, strings were made of either gut, silk, aluminum, or steel. Modern strings may be gut, solid steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

, stranded steel, or various synthetic materials, wound with various metals, and sometimes plated with silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

. Most E strings are unwound, either plain or gold-plated steel. Currently, violin strings are generally not made of gut, with the exception of violin strings used to play music from the Renaissance, Baroque, or early Classical periods.

Strings have a limited lifetime. Apart from obvious things, such as the winding of a string coming undone from wear, players generally change a string when it no longer plays true, losing the desired tone. String longevity depends on string quality and playing intensity.

Pitch range


The compass of the violin is from G3
Scientific pitch notation
Scientific pitch notation is one of several methods that name the notes of the standard Western chromatic scale by combining a letter-name, accidentals, and a number identifying the pitch's octave...

 (G below middle C
Middle C
C or Do is the first note of the fixed-Do solfège scale. Its enharmonic is B.-Middle C:Middle C is designated C4 in scientific pitch notation because of the note's position as the fourth C key on a standard 88-key piano keyboard...

) to C8 (the highest note of the modern piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

.) The top notes, however, are often produced by natural or artificial harmonic
Harmonic
A harmonic of a wave is a component frequency of the signal that is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency, i.e. if the fundamental frequency is f, the harmonics have frequencies 2f, 3f, 4f, . . . etc. The harmonics have the property that they are all periodic at the fundamental...

s. Thus the E two octaves above the open E-string may be considered a practical limit for orchestral violin parts.

Acoustics




The arched shape, the thickness of the wood, and its physical qualities govern the sound of a violin. Patterns of the node
Node (physics)
A node is a point along a standing wave where the wave has minimal amplitude. For instance, in a vibrating guitar string, the ends of the string are nodes. By changing the position of the end node through frets, the guitarist changes the effective length of the vibrating string and thereby the...

 made by sand or glitter sprinkled on the plates with the plate vibrated at certain frequencies, called Chladni
Ernst Chladni
Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni was a German physicist and musician. His important works include research on vibrating plates and the calculation of the speed of sound for different gases. For this some call him the "Father of Acoustics"...

 patterns, are occasionally used by luthier
Luthier
A luthier is someone who makes or repairs lutes and other string instruments. In the United States, the term is used interchangeably with a term for the specialty of each maker, such as violinmaker, guitar maker, lute maker, etc...

s to verify their work before assembling the instrument.

Sizes



The history of small violins is not well documented. Small violins were made at least during the late Renaissance Period and quite probably into the Baroque period that were a fourth higher in pitch than standard violins. These violins could be used either by children, or by musicians who had parts that were then outside of the range of standard violins. It is important to remember that the chin rest was a relatively recent invention. Without the chin rest, shifting into upper positions or back down from higher positions often resulted in the musician loosing control of the violin. Additionally, some people have speculated that these fractional violins could have been used instead of Dancing master's violins (also called Kits or Pouchettes). These early fractional violins are easily confused with children-sized violins, but, if confirmed by an expert, are highly sought by collectors and museums. During the later part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century, makers in Saxony produced many of these fractional violins.

Children typically use smaller string instruments than adults. Violins are made in so-called fractional sizes for young students: Apart from full-size (4/4) violins, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16, 1/32 and even 1/64-sized instruments exist, although these smaller sizes are highly unusual and usually custom-made. Extremely small sizes were developed, along with the Suzuki program
Suzuki method
The Suzuki method is a method of teaching music that emerged in the mid-20th century.-Background:The Suzuki Method was conceived in the mid-20th century by Shin'ichi Suzuki, a Japanese violinist who desired to bring beauty to the lives of children in his country after the devastation of World War II...

, for violin students as young as 3. Finely made fractional sized violins, especially smaller than 1/2 size, are extremely rare or non-existent. Such small instruments are typically intended for beginners needing a rugged violin, and whose rudimentary technique does not justify the expense of a more carefully made one.

These fractional sizes have nothing to do with the actual dimensions of an instrument; in other words, a 3/4-sized instrument is not three-quarters the length of a full size instrument. The body length (not including the neck) of a full-size, or 4/4, violin is about 14 inches (35 cm), smaller in some 17th century models. A 3/4 violin is about 13 inches (33 cm), and a 1/2 size is approximately 12 inches (30 cm). With the violin's closest family member, the viola, size is specified as body length in inches or centimeters rather than fractional sizes. A full-size viola averages 16 inches (40 cm).

Occasionally, an adult with a small frame may use a so-called 7/8 size violin instead of a full-size instrument. Sometimes called a lady's violin, these instruments are slightly shorter than a full size violin, but tend to be high-quality instruments capable of producing a sound that is comparable to that of fine full size violins.

Tuning




Violins are tuned by turning the pegs
Tuning peg
A tuning peg is used to hold a string in the pegbox of a stringed instrument. It may be made of ebony, rosewood, boxwood or other material. Some tuning pegs are ornamented with shell, metal, or plastic inlays, beads or rings....

 in the pegbox under the scroll, or by adjusting the fine tuner screws at the tailpiece
Tailpiece
A tailpiece is a component on many stringed musical instruments that anchors one end of the strings, usually the end opposite the end with the tuning mechanism the scroll, headstock, peghead, etc.-Function and construction:...

. All violins have pegs; fine tuners (also called fine adjusters) are optional. Most fine tuners consist of a metal screw that moves a lever attached to the string end. They permit very small pitch adjustments much more easily than the pegs. By turning one clockwise, the pitch becomes sharper and turning one counterclockwise, the pitch becomes flatter.

Fine tuners on all four of the strings are a practical necessity for playing steel-core strings, and some players use them with synthetic strings as well. Since modern E strings are steel, a fine tuner is typically fitted for that string. Fine tuners are not used with gut strings, which are more elastic
Young's modulus
Young's modulus is a measure of the stiffness of an elastic material and is a quantity used to characterize materials. It is defined as the ratio of the uniaxial stress over the uniaxial strain in the range of stress in which Hooke's Law holds. In solid mechanics, the slope of the stress-strain...

 than steel or synthetic-core strings and do not respond adequately to the very small movements of fine tuners.

To tune a violin, the A string is first tuned to a standard pitch
Pitch (music)
Pitch is an auditory perceptual property that allows the ordering of sounds on a frequency-related scale.Pitches are compared as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies,...

 (usually 440 Hz
Hertz
The hertz is the SI unit of frequency defined as the number of cycles per second of a periodic phenomenon. One of its most common uses is the description of the sine wave, particularly those used in radio and audio applications....

), using either a tuning device or another instrument. (When accompanying a fixed-pitch instrument such as a piano or accordion, the violin tunes to it.) The other strings are then tuned against each other in intervals of perfect fifth
Perfect fifth
In classical music from Western culture, a fifth is a musical interval encompassing five staff positions , and the perfect fifth is a fifth spanning seven semitones, or in meantone, four diatonic semitones and three chromatic semitones...

s by bowing them in pairs. A minutely higher tuning is sometimes employed for solo playing to give the instrument a brighter sound; conversely, Baroque music is sometimes played using lower tunings to make the violin's sound more gentle. After tuning, the instrument's bridge may be examined to ensure that it is standing straight and centered between the inner nicks of the f-holes; a crooked bridge may significantly affect the sound of an otherwise well-made violin.

The tuning G-D-A-E is used for most violin music. Other tunings are occasionally employed; the G string, for example, can be tuned up to A. The use of nonstandard tunings in classical music is known as scordatura
Scordatura
A scordatura , also called cross-tuning, is an alternative tuning used for the open strings of a string instrument, in which the notes indicated in the score would represent the finger position as if played in regular tuning, while the actual pitch is altered...

; in some folk styles, it is called cross-tuning. One famous example of scordatura in classical music is Saint-Saëns' Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre (Saint-Saëns)
Danse macabre, Op. 40, is a tone poem for orchestra, written in 1874 by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. It started out in 1872 as an art song for voice and piano with a French text by the poet Henri Cazalis, which is based in an old French superstition...

, where the solo violin's E string is tuned down to E flat to impart an eerie dissonance to the composition. Another example is in the third movement of Contrasts, by Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century and is regarded, along with Liszt, as Hungary's greatest composer...

, where the E string is tuned down to E flat and the G tuned to a G sharp, or the set of pieces called the Mystery Sonatas by Biber.

In Indian classical music and Indian light music, the violin is likely to be tuned to D-A-D-A in the South Indian style. As there is no concept of absolute pitch in Indian classical music, any convenient tuning maintaining these relative pitch intervals between the strings can be used. Another prevalent tuning with these intervals is F-B-F-B, which corresponds to Sa-Pa-Sa-Pa in the Indian carnatic
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

 classical music style. In the North Indian Hindustani
Hindustani classical music
Hindustani classical music is the Hindustani or North Indian style of Indian classical music found throughout the northern Indian subcontinent. The style is sometimes called North Indian Classical Music or Shāstriya Sangeet...

 style, the tuning is usually Pa-Sa-Pa-Sa instead of Sa-Pa-Sa-Pa. This could correspond to B-F-B-F, for instance.

While most violins have four strings, there are violins with as many as seven strings. The extra strings on such violins typically are lower in pitch than the G-string; these strings are usually tuned to C, F, and B flat. If the instrument's playing length, or string length from nut to bridge, is equal to that of an ordinary full-scale violin; i.e., a bit less than 13 inches (330.2 mm), then it may be properly termed a violin. Some such instruments are somewhat longer and should be regarded as violas. Violins with five strings or more are often used in jazz or folk music.

Bows




A violin is usually played using a bow
Bow (music)
In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones....

 consisting of a stick with a ribbon of horsehair strung between the tip and frog (or nut, or heel) at opposite ends. A typical violin bow may be 75 cm (29 inches) overall, and weigh about 60 g (2.1 oz). Viola bows may be about 5 mm (0.196850393700787 in) shorter and 10 g (0.35273962105112 oz) heavier.

At the frog end, a screw adjuster tightens or loosens the hair. Just forward of the frog, a leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

 thumb cushion and winding protect the stick and provide a strong grip for the player's hand. The winding may be wire (often silver or plated silver), silk, or whalebone (now imitated by alternating strips of tan and black plastic.) Some student bows (particularly the ones made of solid fiberglass) substitute a plastic sleeve for grip and winding.

The hair of the bow traditionally comes from the tail of a grey male horse (which has predominantly white hair), though some cheaper bows use synthetic fiber. Occasional rubbing with rosin
Rosin
.Rosin, also called colophony or Greek pitch , is a solid form of resin obtained from pines and some other plants, mostly conifers, produced by heating fresh liquid resin to vaporize the volatile liquid terpene components. It is semi-transparent and varies in color from yellow to black...

 makes the hair grip the strings intermittently, causing them to vibrate. The stick is traditionally made of brazilwood
Brazilwood
Caesalpinia echinata is a species of Brazilian timber tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. Common names include Brazilwood, Pau-Brasil, Pau de Pernambuco and Ibirapitanga . This plant has a dense, orange-red heartwood that takes a high shine, and it is the premier wood used for making bows for...

, although a stick made from a more select quality (and more expensive) brazilwood is called pernambuco
Pernambuco
Pernambuco is a state of Brazil, located in the Northeast region of the country. To the north are the states of Paraíba and Ceará, to the west is Piauí, to the south are Alagoas and Bahia, and to the east is the Atlantic Ocean. There are about of beaches, some of the most beautiful in the...

. Both types come from the same tree species. Some student bows are made of fiberglass or various inexpensive woods. Some recent bow design innovations use carbon fiber
Carbon fiber
Carbon fiber, alternatively graphite fiber, carbon graphite or CF, is a material consisting of fibers about 5–10 μm in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms. The carbon atoms are bonded together in crystals that are more or less aligned parallel to the long axis of the fiber...

 for the stick, at all levels of craftsmanship.

Playing


The standard way of holding the violin is with the left side of the jaw resting on the chinrest of the violin, and supported by the left shoulder, often assisted by a shoulder rest
Shoulder rest
The shoulder rest is an accessory that can be found on violins and violas. It may be made of wood, aluminium, carbon fiber or plastic. Usually, the shoulder rest attaches to the edge of the back of the violin with "feet" padded with rubber tubing or made of soft plastic...

 or a sponge and an elastic band for younger players who struggle with shoulder rests. This practice varies in some cultures; for instance, Indian (Carnatic
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

 and Hindustani
Hindustani classical music
Hindustani classical music is the Hindustani or North Indian style of Indian classical music found throughout the northern Indian subcontinent. The style is sometimes called North Indian Classical Music or Shāstriya Sangeet...

) violinists play seated on the floor and rest the scroll of the instrument on the side of their foot. The strings may be sounded by drawing the hair of the bow across them (arco) or by plucking them (pizzicato
Pizzicato
Pizzicato is a playing technique that involves plucking the strings of a string instrument. The exact technique varies somewhat depending on the type of stringed instrument....

). The left hand regulates the sounding length of the string by stopping it against the fingerboard with the fingertips, producing different pitches.


Left hand and pitch production


As the violin has no frets to stop the strings, the player must know exactly where to place the fingers on the strings to play with good intonation
Intonation (music)
Intonation, in music, is a musician's realization of pitch accuracy, or the pitch accuracy of a musical instrument. Intonation may be flat, sharp, or both, successively or simultaneously.-Interval, melody, and harmony:...

. Through practice and ear training, the violinist's left hand finds the notes intuitively by muscle memory
Proprioception
Proprioception , from Latin proprius, meaning "one's own" and perception, is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement...

. Beginners sometimes rely on tapes
Adhesive tape
Adhesive tape is one of many varieties of backing materials coated with an adhesive. Several types of adhesives can be used.-Types:Pressure sensitive tape...

 placed on the fingerboard for proper left hand finger placement, but usually abandon the tapes quickly as they advance. Another commonly used marking technique uses dots of white-out
Correction fluid
A correction fluid is an opaque, white fluid applied to paper to mask errors in text. Once dried, it can be written over. It is typically packaged in small bottles, and the lid has an attached brush which dips into the bottle...

 on the fingerboard, which wear off in a few weeks of regular practice. This practice, unfortunately, is used sometimes in lieu of adequate ear-training, guiding the placement of fingers by eye and not by ear. Especially in the early stages of learning to play, the so-called ringing tones are useful. There are nine such notes in first position, where a stopped note
Stopped note
-Bowed strings:On bowed string instruments, a stopped note is a played note that is fingered with the left hand, i.e. not an open string, on the string being bowed by the right hand...

 sounds a unison or octave with another (open) string, causing it to resonate sympathetically
Acoustic resonance
Acoustic resonance is the tendency of an acoustic system to absorb more energy when it is forced or driven at a frequency that matches one of its own natural frequencies of vibration than it does at other frequencies....

. Thus, "when unaccompanied, [a violinist] does not play consistently in either the tempered or the natural [just] scale, but tends on the whole to conform with the Pythagorean scale."

The fingers are conventionally numbered 1 (index) through 4 (little finger). Especially in instructional editions of violin music, numbers over the notes may indicate which finger to use, with 0 indicating an open string. The chart to the right shows the arrangement of notes reachable in first position. Not shown on this chart is the way the spacing between note positions becomes closer as the fingers move up (in pitch) from the nut. The bars at the sides of the chart represent the usual possibilities for beginners' tape placements, at 1st, high 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers.

Positions


The placement of the left hand on the fingerboard is characterized by "positions". First position, where most beginners start (although some methods start in third position), is the most commonly used position in string music. The lowest note available in this position in standard tuning is an open G; the highest note in first position is played with the fourth finger on the E-string, sounding a B, or reaching up a half step (also known as the "extended fourth finger") to the C two octaves above middle C
Middle C
C or Do is the first note of the fixed-Do solfège scale. Its enharmonic is B.-Middle C:Middle C is designated C4 in scientific pitch notation because of the note's position as the fourth C key on a standard 88-key piano keyboard...

.

Moving the hand up the neck, so the first finger takes the place of the second finger, brings the player into second position. Letting the first finger take the first-position place of the third finger brings the player to third position, and so on. The upper limit of the violin's range is largely determined by the skill of the player, who may easily play more than two octaves on a single string, and four octaves on the instrument as a whole, although when a violinist has progressed to the point of being able to use the entire range of the instrument, references to particular positions become less common. Position names are mostly used for the lower positions and in method books; for this reason, it is uncommon to hear references to anything higher than seventh position. The lowest position on a violin is half-position, where the first finger is a half-step away from the nut. This position is less frequently used. The highest position, practically speaking, is 15th position.

Moving between positions is called shifting. The player moves from position to position by typically using a guide finger. For example, when a player shifts from first to fourth position, they will use the last finger they used in first position as the guide finger. Then, the player moves their entire hand to fourth position, but with the last finger used in first position guiding the hand. The guide finger should not press on the string during the shift; it should only glide down the string. This guide finger moves to its respective spot in fourth position, but does not press down on the string. Then, the finger that plays the note after the shift should be pressed onto the string and the bow is moved to sound the note.

The same note may sound different, depending on which string is used to play it. Sometimes a composer or arranger specifies the string to use for a particular tone quality
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

. This is indicated in the music by the marking, for example, sul G, meaning to play on the G string. For example, playing very high up on the lower strings gives a distinctive quality to the sound. Otherwise, moving into different positions is usually done for ease of playing.

Open strings


Bowing or plucking an open string (that is, a string played without any finger stopping it) gives a different sound from a stopped string, since the string vibrates more freely at the nut than under a finger. Other than the low G (which can be played in no other way), open strings are generally avoided in some styles of classical playing. This is because they have a somewhat harsher sound (especially open E) and it is not possible to directly use vibrato on an open string. However, this can be partially compensated by applying vibrato on a note that is an octave higher than the open string.

In some cases playing an open string is called for by the composer (and explicitly marked in the music) for special effect, decided upon by the musician for artistic reasons (common in earlier works such as Bach), or played in a fast passage, where they usually cannot be distinguished.

Playing an open string simultaneously with a stopped note on an adjacent string produces a bagpipe
Bagpipes
Bagpipes are a class of musical instrument, aerophones, using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. Though the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe and Irish uilleann pipes have the greatest international visibility, bagpipes of many different types come from...

-like drone, often used by composers in imitation of folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

. Sometimes the two notes are identical (for instance, playing a fingered A on the D string against the open A string), giving a ringing sort of "fiddling" sound. Playing an open string simultaneously with an identical stopped note can also be called for when more volume is required, especially in orchestral playing.

Double stops and drones


Double stop
Double stop
A double stop, in music terminology, is the act of playing two notes simultaneously on a melodic percussion instrument or stringed instrument...

ping is when two separate strings are stopped by the fingers, and bowed simultaneously, producing a sixth, third, fifth, etc. harmony. Sometimes moving to a higher position is necessary for the left hand to be able to reach both notes at once. Sounding an open string alongside a fingered note is another way to get a partial chord. While sometimes also called a double stop, it is more properly called a drone, as the drone note may be sustained for a passage of different notes played on the adjacent string. Three or four notes can also be played at one time (triple and quadruple stops, respectively), and, according to the style of music, the notes might all be played simultaneously or might be played as two successive double stops, favoring the higher notes.

Vibrato



Vibrato
Vibrato
Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation and the speed with which the pitch is varied .-Vibrato and...

 is a technique of the left hand and arm in which the pitch of a note varies in a pulsating rhythm. While various parts of the hand or arm may be involved in the motion, the end result is a movement of the fingertip bringing about a slight change in vibrating string length. Some violinists oscillate backwards, or lower in pitch from the actual note when using vibrato, since it is believed that perception favors the highest pitch in a varying sound. Vibrato does little, if anything, to disguise an out-of-tune note; in other words, misapplied vibrato is a poor substitute for good intonation. Scales and other exercises meant to work on intonation are typically played without vibrato to make the work easier and more effective. Music students are often taught that unless otherwise marked in music, vibrato is assumed or even mandatory. This can be an obstacle to a classically trained violinist wishing to play in a style that uses little or no vibrato at all, such as baroque music played in period style and many traditional fiddling styles.

Vibrato can be produced by a proper combination of finger, wrist and arm motions. One method, called hand vibrato, involves rocking the hand back at the wrist to achieve oscillation, while another method, arm vibrato, modulates the pitch by rocking at the elbow. A combination of these techniques allows a player to produce a large variety of tonal effects.

The "when" and "what for" of violin vibrato
Vibrato
Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation and the speed with which the pitch is varied .-Vibrato and...

 are artistic matters of style and taste. For example if you overdo the variation of the note's tone it may become very distracting and overwhelm the piece. In acoustic terms, the interest that vibrato adds to the sound has to do with the way that the overtone mix (or tone color, or timbre) and the directional pattern of sound projection change with changes in pitch. By "pointing" the sound at different parts of the room in a rhythmic way, vibrato adds a "shimmer" or "liveliness" to the sound of a well-made violin. Vibrato is, in a large part, left to the discretion of the violinist. Different types of vibrato will bring different moods to the piece, and the varying degrees and styles of vibrato are often characteristics that stand out in well-known violinists.

Vibrato trill


Vibrato
Vibrato
Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation and the speed with which the pitch is varied .-Vibrato and...

 can also be used for a fast trill. A trill initiated from just hammering the finger up and down on the fingerboard will create a harsher quality than with a vibrato trill. For example, if trilling on the first finger, the second finger is placed very slightly off the string and vibrato is implemented. The second finger will lightly touch the string above the first finger causing the pitch to change. This has a softer quality and many think it is nicer-sounding than a hammered trill. Note - this trill technique only works well for semi-tonal trills, it is far more difficult to vibrato trill for an interval of a tone or more.

Harmonics


Lightly touching the string with a fingertip at a harmonic node
Node (physics)
A node is a point along a standing wave where the wave has minimal amplitude. For instance, in a vibrating guitar string, the ends of the string are nodes. By changing the position of the end node through frets, the guitarist changes the effective length of the vibrating string and thereby the...

 creates harmonic
Harmonic
A harmonic of a wave is a component frequency of the signal that is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency, i.e. if the fundamental frequency is f, the harmonics have frequencies 2f, 3f, 4f, . . . etc. The harmonics have the property that they are all periodic at the fundamental...

s. Instead of the normal tone, a higher pitched note sounds. Each node is at an integer division of the string, for example half-way or one-third along the length of the string. A responsive instrument will sound numerous possible harmonic nodes along the length of the string. Harmonics are marked in music either with a little circle above the note that determines the pitch of the harmonic, or by diamond-shaped note heads. There are two types of harmonics: natural harmonics and artificial harmonics (also known as false harmonics).

Natural harmonics are played on an open string. The pitch of the open string is called the fundamental frequency. Harmonics are also called overtones. They occur at whole-number multiples of the fundamental, which is called the first harmonic. The second harmonic is the first overtone
Overtone
An overtone is any frequency higher than the fundamental frequency of a sound. The fundamental and the overtones together are called partials. Harmonics are partials whose frequencies are whole number multiples of the fundamental These overlapping terms are variously used when discussing the...

, the third harmonic is the second overtone, and so on. The second harmonic is in the middle of the string and sounds an octave higher than the string's pitch. The third harmonic breaks the string into thirds and sounds an octave and a fifth above the fundamental, and the fourth harmonic breaks the string into quarters sounding two octaves above the first. The sound of the second harmonic is the clearest of them all, because it is a common node
Node (physics)
A node is a point along a standing wave where the wave has minimal amplitude. For instance, in a vibrating guitar string, the ends of the string are nodes. By changing the position of the end node through frets, the guitarist changes the effective length of the vibrating string and thereby the...

 with all the succeeding even-numbered harmonics (4th, 6th, etc.). The third and succeeding odd-numbered harmonics are harder to play because they break the string into an odd number of vibrating parts and do not share as many nodes with other harmonics.

Artificial harmonics are more difficult to produce than natural harmonics, as they involve both stopping the string and playing a harmonic on the stopped note. Using the octave frame (the normal distance between the first and fourth fingers in any given position) with the fourth finger just touching the string a fourth
Interval (music)
In music theory, an interval is a combination of two notes, or the ratio between their frequencies. Two-note combinations are also called dyads...

 higher than the stopped note produces the fourth harmonic, two octaves above the stopped note. Finger placement and pressure, as well as bow speed, pressure, and sounding point are all essential in getting the desired harmonic to sound. And to add to the challenge, in passages with different notes played as false harmonics, the distance between stopping finger and harmonic finger must constantly change, since the spacing between notes changes along the length of the string.

The harmonic finger can also touch at a major third
Interval (music)
In music theory, an interval is a combination of two notes, or the ratio between their frequencies. Two-note combinations are also called dyads...

 above the pressed note (the fifth harmonic), or a fifth
Interval (music)
In music theory, an interval is a combination of two notes, or the ratio between their frequencies. Two-note combinations are also called dyads...

 higher (a third harmonic). These harmonics are less commonly used; in the case of the major third, both the stopped note and touched note must be played slightly sharp otherwise the harmonic does not speak as readily. In the case of the fifth, the stretch is greater than is comfortable for many violinists. In the general repertoire fractions smaller than a sixth are not used. However, divisions up to an eighth are sometimes used and, given a good instrument and a skilled player, divisions as small as a twelfth are possible.

There are a few books dedicated solely to the study of violin harmonics. Two comprehensive works are Henryk Heller's seven-volume Theory of Harmonics, published by Simrock in 1928, and Michelangelo Abbado's five-volume Tecnica dei suoni armonici published by Ricordi in 1934.

Elaborate passages in artificial harmonics can be found in virtuoso violin literature, especially of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Two notable examples of this are an entire section of Vittorio Monti
Vittorio Monti
Vittorio Monti was an Italian composer, violinist, and conductor.Monti was born in Naples, where he studied violin and composition at the Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella...

's Csárdás
Csárdás (Monti)
Csárdás is perhaps the most famous composition of Vittorio Monti. A rhapsodical concert piece written in 1904, it is a well-known folk piece based on a Hungarian csárdás. It was originally composed for violin, mandolin or piano...

 and a passage towards the middle of the third movement of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's Violin Concerto
Violin concerto
A violin concerto is a concerto for solo violin and instrumental ensemble, customarily orchestra. Such works have been written since the Baroque period, when the solo concerto form was first developed, up through the present day...

.

Right hand and tone colour


The right arm, hand, and bow are responsible for tone quality, rhythm
Rhythm
Rhythm may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions." This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or...

, dynamics
Dynamics (music)
In music, dynamics normally refers to the volume of a sound or note, but can also refer to every aspect of the execution of a given piece, either stylistic or functional . The term is also applied to the written or printed musical notation used to indicate dynamics...

, articulation
Articulation (music)
In music, articulation refers to the musical direction performance technique which affects the transition or continuity on a single note or between multiple notes or sounds.- Types of articulations :...

, and most (but not all) changes in timbre
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

.

Bowing techniques


The most essential part of bowing technique is the bow grip. It is usually with the thumb bent in the small area between the frog and the winding of the bow. The other fingers are spread somewhat evenly across the top part of the bow.

The violin produces louder notes with greater bow speed or more weight on the string. The two methods are not equivalent, because they produce different timbres; pressing down on the string tends to produce a harsher, more intense sound. One can also achieve a louder sound by placing the bow closer to the bridge.

The sounding point where the bow intersects the string also influences timbre. Playing close to the bridge (sul ponticello) gives a more intense sound than usual, emphasizing the higher harmonics; and playing with the bow over the end of the fingerboard (sul tasto) makes for a delicate, ethereal sound, emphasizing the fundamental frequency
Fundamental frequency
The fundamental frequency, often referred to simply as the fundamental and abbreviated f0, is defined as the lowest frequency of a periodic waveform. In terms of a superposition of sinusoids The fundamental frequency, often referred to simply as the fundamental and abbreviated f0, is defined as the...

. Dr. Suzuki referred to the sounding point as the Kreisler
Fritz Kreisler
Friedrich "Fritz" Kreisler was an Austrian-born violinist and composer. One of the most famous violin masters of his or any other day, he was known for his sweet tone and expressive phrasing. Like many great violinists of his generation, he produced a characteristic sound which was immediately...

 highway; one may think of different sounding points as lanes in the highway.

Various methods of attack with the bow produce different articulations. There are many bowing techniques that allow for every range of playing style and many teachers, players, and orchestras spend a lot of time developing techniques and creating a unified technique within the group. These techniques include legato-style bowing, collé, ricochet, sautillé, martelé
Martelé (bowstroke)
Martelé , literally "hammered," is a bowstroke, used when playing bowed string instruments. The effect is usually produced by holding the bow against the string with pressure, then stroked forcefully to produce an intense note...

, spiccato, and staccato.

Pizzicato


A note marked pizz. (abbreviation for pizzicato
Pizzicato
Pizzicato is a playing technique that involves plucking the strings of a string instrument. The exact technique varies somewhat depending on the type of stringed instrument....

) in the written music is to be played by plucking the string with a finger of the right hand rather than by bowing. (The index finger is most commonly used here.) Sometimes in virtuoso solo music where the bow hand is occupied (or for show-off effect), left-hand pizzicato will be indicated by a + (plus sign) below or above the note. In left-hand pizzicato, two fingers are put on the string; one (usually the index or middle finger) is put on the correct note, and the other (usually the ring finger or little finger) is put above the note. The higher finger then plucks the string while the lower one stays on, thus producing the correct pitch. By increasing the force of the pluck, one can increase the volume of the note that the string is producing.

Col legno


A marking of col legno
Col legno
In music for bowed string instruments, col legno, or more precisely col legno battuto , is an instruction to strike the string with the stick of the bow, rather than by drawing the hair of the bow across the strings. This results in a quiet but eerie percussive sound.Col legno is used in the final...

 (Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 for "with the wood") in the written music calls for striking the string(s) with the stick of the bow, rather than by drawing the hair of the bow across the strings. This bowing technique is somewhat rarely used, and results in a muted percussive sound. The eerie quality of a violin section playing col legno is exploited in some symphonic pieces, notably the "Witches' Dance" of the last movement of Berlioz's
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

 Symphonie Fantastique
Symphonie Fantastique
Symphonie Fantastique: Épisode de la vie d'un Artiste...en cinq parties , Op. 14, is a program symphony written by the French composer Hector Berlioz in 1830. It is one of the most important and representative pieces of the early Romantic period, and is still very popular with concert audiences...

. Saint-Saens' symphonic poem "Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre
Dance of Death, also variously called Danse Macabre , Danza de la Muerte , Dansa de la Mort , Danza Macabra , Dança da Morte , Totentanz , Dodendans , is an artistic genre of late-medieval allegory on the universality of death: no matter one's...

" includes the string section using the col legno technique to imitate the sound of dancing skeletons. "Mars" from Gustav Holst's "The Planets
The Planets
The Planets, Op. 32, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst...

" uses col legno to play a repeated rhythm in 5/4 time signature. Dmitri Shostakovich uses it in his Fourteenth Symphony in the movement 'At the Sante Jail'. Some violinists, however, object to this style of playing as it can damage the finish and impair the value of a fine bow.

Martelé


Literally hammered, a strongly accented effect produced by releasing each bowstroke forcefully and suddenly. Martelé can be played in any part of the bow. It is sometimes indicated in written music by an arrowhead.

Tremolo


Very rapid repetition (typically of a single note, but occasionally of multiple notes), usually played at the tip of the bow. Tremolo is marked with three short, slanted lines across the stem of the note.

Mute or sordino


Attaching a small metal, rubber, leather, or wooden device called a mute
Mute (music)
A mute is a device fitted to a musical instrument to alter the sound produced: by affecting the timbre, reducing the volume, or most commonly both.- Musical directions for muting :...

, or sordino
Sordino
Sordino, with alternative forms sordono and sordun, etc., is an Italian term somewhat promiscuously applied by various writers:#to contrivances for damping or muting wind, string and percussion instruments ;...

, to the bridge of the violin gives a softer, more mellow tone, with fewer audible overtone
Overtone
An overtone is any frequency higher than the fundamental frequency of a sound. The fundamental and the overtones together are called partials. Harmonics are partials whose frequencies are whole number multiples of the fundamental These overlapping terms are variously used when discussing the...

s; the sound of an entire orchestral string section playing with mutes has a hushed quality. The conventional Italian markings for mute usage are con sord., or con sordina, meaning 'with mute'; and senza sord., meaning 'without mute'; or via sord., meaning 'mute off'. Larger metal, rubber, or wooden mutes are widely available, known as practice mutes or hotel mutes. Such mutes are generally not used in performance, but are used to deaden the sound of the violin in practice areas such as hotel rooms. (For practicing purposes there is also the mute violin
Mute violin
The mute violin is a violin without or with a very shallow sound box. The instrument has a quiet, lean sound. The mute violin can be used as an exercise instrument in situations where the sound of a violin is experienced as annoying by neighbouring people. Mute violins are known to exist since the...

, a violin without a sound box.) Some composers have used practice mutes for special effect, for example at the end of Luciano Berio's Sequenza VIII for solo violin.

Classical music


Since the Baroque
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

 era, the violin has been one of the most important of all instruments in classical music, for several reasons. The tone of the violin stands out above other instruments, making it appropriate for playing a melody line. In the hands of a good player, the violin is extremely agile, and can execute rapid and difficult sequences of notes.

Violins make up a large part of an orchestra
Orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

, and are usually divided into two sections, known as the first and second violins. Composers often assign the melody to the first violins, while second violins play harmony, accompaniment patterns or the melody an octave lower than the first violins. A string quartet
String quartet
A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players – usually two violin players, a violist and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group...

 similarly has parts for first and second violins, as well as a viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

 part, and a bass instrument, such as the cello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

 or, rarely, the double bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

.

Jazz


The earliest references to jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 performance using the violin
Jazz violin
Jazz violin is the use of the violin or electric violin to improvise and perform utilizing scales and chord progressions unique to the compositions of Jazz musicians . The earliest references to jazz performance using the violin as a solo instrument was during the first decades of the 20th century...

 as a solo instrument are documented during the first decades of the 20th century. Joe Venuti, one of the first jazz violinists, is known for his work with guitarist Eddie Lang
Eddie Lang
Eddie Lang was an American jazz guitarist, regarded as the Father of Jazz Guitar. He played a Gibson L-4 and L-5 guitar, providing great influence for many guitarists, including Django Reinhardt.-Biography:...

 during the 1920s. Since that time there have been many improvising violinists including Stéphane Grappelli
Stéphane Grappelli
Stéphane Grappelli was a French jazz violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France with guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1934. It was one of the first all-string jazz bands....

, Stuff Smith
Stuff Smith
Hezekiah Leroy Gordon Smith , better known as Stuff Smith, was a jazz violinist. He is known well for the song "If You're a Viper".-Biography:...

, Regina Carter
Regina Carter
Regina Carter is an American jazz violinist. She is the cousin of famous jazz saxophonist James Carter.-Early life:...

, Johnny Frigo
Johnny Frigo
Johnny Frigo was an American jazz violinist and bassist.His son, Derek John Frigo, was the lead guitarist for the rock band Enuff Z'nuff. Derek Frigo died of a drug overdose on May 28, 2004....

, John Blake
John Blake, Jr.
John Blake, Jr. is an American jazz violinist. He has performed most prominently as a sideman in groups led by Grover Washington, Jr. in the late 1970s) and McCoy Tyner , as well as led his own groups.-External links:*[ allmusic's inventory of his record appearances]**...

 and Jean-Luc Ponty
Jean-Luc Ponty
Jean-Luc Ponty is a French virtuoso violinist and jazz composer.- Early years:Ponty was born into a family of classical musicians on 29 September 1942 in Avranches, France. His father taught violin, his mother taught piano...

. While not primarily jazz violinists, Darol Anger
Darol Anger
-Career:Darol Anger entered popular music at the age of 21 as a founding member of The David Grisman Quintet. Anger played fiddle to David Grisman's mandolin in The David Grisman Quintet's 1977 debut. He co-founded the Turtle Island String Quartet with David Balakrishnan in 1985 and performed,...

 and Mark O'Connor
Mark O'Connor
Mark O'Connor is an American bluegrass, jazz, country and classical violinist fiddler, composer and music teacher. O'Connor's music is wide-ranging, critically acclaimed, and he has received numerous awards for both his playing and his composition...

 have spent significant parts of their careers playing jazz.

Violins also appear in ensembles supplying orchestral backgrounds to many jazz recordings.

Popular music


Up to the 1970s, most types of popular music used bowed strings. They were extensively used in popular music throughout the 1920s and early 1930s. There was a drastic decline in their use with the rise of swing music in 1935 as the string sound was deemed inappropriate to the improvised style of swing music. The late 1960s saw a revival of the use of strings with the rise of soul music
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

. Popular Motown recordings of the late 1960s and 1970s relied heavily on strings as part of their trademark texture. The rise of disco
Disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

 music in the 1970s continued this trend with the heavy use of string instruments in popular disco orchestras (e.g. Love Unlimited Orchestra, Biddu
Biddu
Biddu or Biddu Appaiah is an Indian-British music producer, composer, song-writer and singer who produced and composed many hit records worldwide during a career spanning five decades...

 Orchestra, Monster Orchestra, Salsoul Orchestra
Salsoul Orchestra
The Salsoul Orchestra was the backing band for acts on Salsoul Records. Under their own name the group recorded several hit singles and albums between 1975 and 1981.-Group History:...

, MFSB
MFSB
MFSB was a pool of more than thirty studio musicians based at Philadelphia’s famed Sigma Sound Studios. They worked closely with the production team of Gamble and Huff and producer/arranger Thom Bell, and backed up such groups as Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, the O’Jays, the Stylistics, the...

, etc.).

The rise of electronically created music
Electronic music
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology. Examples of electromechanical sound...

 in the 1980s saw a decline in their use, as synthesized string sections took their place. However, while the violin has very little usage in rock
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 music, it has some history in progressive rock
Progressive rock
Progressive rock is a subgenre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility." John Covach, in Contemporary Music Review, says that many thought it would not just "succeed the pop of...

 (e.g., The Electric Light Orchestra, King Crimson
King Crimson
King Crimson are a rock band founded in London, England in 1969. Often categorised as a foundational progressive rock group, the band have incorporated diverse influences and instrumentation during their history...

, Kansas
Kansas (band)
Kansas is an American rock band that became popular in the 1970s initially on Album-Oriented Rock charts, and later with hit singles such as "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind"...

). The 1973 album Contaminazione by Italy's RDM
Il Rovescio della Medaglia
Il Rovescio della Medaglia, or RDM, were an Italian hard rock and symphonic rock band. They are most famous for their symphonic rock masterpiece Contaminazione, released in 1973. It contained four pieces from Bach's Well-tempered Clavier seamlessly integrated with RDM's own music, which often was...

 plays violins off against synthesizers at its finale ("La grande fuga").

The instrument has a stronger place in modern fusion bands, notably The Corrs
The Corrs
The Corrs are an Irish band which combine pop rock with traditional Celtic folk music. The brother and sisters are from Dundalk, Ireland. The group consists of the Corr siblings: Andrea ; Sharon ; Caroline ; and Jim .The Corrs came to international prominence with their performance at the...

. The fiddle has also always been a part of British folk-rock music, as exemplified by the likes of Fairport Convention
Fairport Convention
Fairport Convention are an English folk rock and later electric folk band, formed in 1967 who are still recording and touring today. They are widely regarded as the most important single group in the English folk rock movement...

 and Steeleye Span
Steeleye Span
Steeleye Span are an English folk-rock band, formed in 1969 and remaining active today. Along with Fairport Convention they are amongst the best known acts of the British folk revival, and were among the most commercially successful, thanks to their hit singles "Gaudete" and "All Around My Hat"....

.

The popularity of crossover music beginning in the last years of the 20th century has brought the violin back into the popular music arena, with both electric and acoustic violins being used by popular bands. Vanessa Mae uses classical music with her electric violin. Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band, sometimes shortened to DMB, is a U.S. rock band formed in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1991. The founding members were singer-songwriter and guitarist Dave Matthews, bassist Stefan Lessard, drummer/backing vocalist Carter Beauford and saxophonist LeRoi Moore. Boyd Tinsley was...

 features violinist Boyd Tinsley
Boyd Tinsley
Boyd Calvin Tinsley is an American violinist and mandolinist who performs as a member of the Dave Matthews Band. Within the band, Tinsley has collaborated in writing songs, harmonizing, and singing backing vocals.-Early life:Tinsley was raised in a musical family...

. The Flock
The Flock (band)
The Flock was a Chicago-based jazz-rock band that released two records on Columbia records in 1969 and 1970 . The Flock did not achieve the commercial success of other Columbia jazz-rock groups of the era such as Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears, but were most notable for their inclusion of a...

 featured violinist Jerry Goodman
Jerry Goodman
Jerry Goodman is an American violinist best known for playing electric violin in the bands The Flock and the jazz fusion Mahavishnu Orchestra. Goodman actually began his musical career as The Flock's roadie before joining the band on violin. Trained in the conservatory, both of his parents were...

 who later joined the jazz-rock fusion band, The Mahavishnu Orchestra
The Mahavishnu Orchestra
The Mahavishnu Orchestra was a jazz fusion group, led by John McLaughlin, that debuted in 1971, dissolved in 1976 and reunited from 1984 to 1987.-First Mahavishnu Orchestra:...

. Yellowcard
Yellowcard
Yellowcard is an American pop punk/alternative rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1997, and based in Los Angeles, California since 2000. Their music features the use of a violin, unusual for the genre...

 featured the instrument with a role equal to the guitar in many of their songs. Blue October
Blue October
Blue October is a rock band from Houston, Texas. The band was formed in 1995 and currently consists of Justin Furstenfeld , Jeremy Furstenfeld , Ryan Delahoussaye , Matt Noveskey , and Julian Mandrake .-History:Blue October was formed by lead...

 are well-known for their violin-based Music with Master violinist Ryan Delahoussaye. James
James (band)
James are a British rock band from Manchester, England. They formed in 1982 and were active throughout the 1980s, but most successful during the 1990s. Their hit singles include "Come Home", "Sit Down", and "She's a Star" as well as their American College Radio hit "Laid"...

' Saul Davies, who is also a guitar
Guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

ist, was enlisted by the band as a violinist. For their first three albums and related singles, the British group No-Man
No-Man
No-Man are a British art-pop duo formed in 1987 as No Man Is An Island by singer Tim Bowness and multi-instrumentalist Steven Wilson . The band has so far produced six studio albums and a number of singles/outtakes collections...

 made extensive use of electric and acoustic solo violin as played by band member Ben Coleman (who played violin exclusively).

Pop-Punk band Yellowcard
Yellowcard
Yellowcard is an American pop punk/alternative rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1997, and based in Los Angeles, California since 2000. Their music features the use of a violin, unusual for the genre...

 has made a mainstay of violin in its music. Violinist Sean Mackin has been a member of the band since 1997. Los Salvadores
Los Salvadores
Los Salvadores is a four-piece folk group from south east England. They currently perform across the United Kingdom and appear at various festivals including Lounge On The Farm, Boomtown Fair, Zoo Thousand, Endorse It in Dorset, Sellindge Music Festival and the Rochester Sweeps...

 also combine punk and ska influences with a violin.

Doom metal
Doom metal
Doom metal is an extreme form of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much "thicker" or "heavier" sound than other metal genres...

 band My Dying Bride
My Dying Bride
My Dying Bride are an English doom metal band formed in 1990. To date, My Dying Bride have released eleven full-length studio albums, three EPs, one demo, one box set, four compilation albums, one live album, and one live CD/DVD release. The band released their tenth studio album, For Lies I Sire,...

 have used violin as a part of their line-up throughout many of their albums.

The violin appears prominently in the music of Spanish folk metal
Folk metal
Folk metal is a sub-genre of heavy metal music that developed in Europe during the 1990s. As the name suggests, the genre is a fusion of heavy metal with traditional folk music...

 group Mägo de Oz
Mägo de Oz
Mägo de Oz is a Spanish folk/heavy metal band from Begoña, Madrid formed in mid-1988 by drummer Txus di Fellatio. In 1992, the band were finalists in the Villa de Madrid contest. Then, they went onto achieve great success in Spain, and in 1995, were declared Revolution Rock Band...

, for example, in their 1998 hit "Molinos de viento". The violinist (Carlos Prieto aka "Mohamed") has been one of the group's most popular members with fans since 1992.

The alternative rock
Alternative rock
Alternative rock is a genre of rock music and a term used to describe a diverse musical movement that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular by the 1990s...

 band Hurt
Hurt (band)
Hurt is a rock band formed in 2000 in Virginia, now located in Los Angeles, California, United States. Currently in partnership with their manager's independent record label, Amusement, the band has put out three major label albums. The group consists of lead singer J...

's vocalist plays violin for the band, making them one of few rock bands to feature violin without hiring a session worker.

Independent artists such as Owen Pallett
Owen Pallett
Michael James Owen Pallett is a Canadian composer, violinist, keyboardist, and vocalist from Toronto, Ontario. He won the 2006 Polaris Music Prize for the album He Poos Clouds....

, The Shondes
The Shondes
The Shondes are an indie punk band from Brooklyn, NY, best known for their brand of pop-rock, featuring Jewish influences and radical political messages, and for organizing and performing at benefit events for organizations such as Birthright Unplugged, Jews Against the Occupation, and The Sylvia...

 and Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird is an American musician, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.- Early life and the Bowl of Fire :...

 have also spurred increased interest in the instrument. Indie bands have often embraced new and unusual arrangements, allowing them more freedom to feature the violin than their mainstream
Mainstream
Mainstream is, generally, the common current thought of the majority. However, the mainstream is far from cohesive; rather the concept is often considered a cultural construct....

 brethren. It has been used in the post-rock genre by bands such as A Genuine Freakshow
A Genuine Freakshow
A Genuine Freakshow are a baroque pop band originating from Reading in the United Kingdom. They were formed in 2005, settling on their current 7-piece permanent line-up in 2008...

, Sigur Rós
Sigur Rós
Sigur Rós is an Icelandic post-rock band with classicaland minimalist elements. The band is known for its ethereal sound, and frontman Jónsi Birgisson's falsetto vocals and use of bowed guitar. In January 2010, the band announced that they will be on hiatus. Since then, it has since been announced...

, Zox
ZOX
ZOX is a band from Providence, Rhode Island that is self-described as "violin-laced Reggae rock." The band consists of four members: namesake John Zox , Eli Miller , Spencer Swain , and Dan Edinberg ....

, Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene is a Canadian indie rock band, a musical collective including as few as six and as many as nineteen members, formed in 1999 by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. Most of its members currently play in various other groups and solo projects, mainly based around the city of Toronto...

, and A Silver Mt. Zion
A Silver Mt. Zion
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra are a Canadian band which formed in 1999, originating from Montreal, Quebec...

. The electric violin
Electric violin
An electric violin is a violin equipped with an electronic output of its sound. The term most properly refers to an instrument purposely made to be electrified with built-in pickups, usually with a solid body...

 has even been used by bands like The Crüxshadows
The Crüxshadows
The Crüxshadows is an Dark Electro group from Florida. Their sound is made up of a combination of male vocals, electric violin, guitar, and synth...

 within the context of keyboard based music.

Indian
Indian pop
Indian pop music , often known as Indian-Pop, Hindi Pop, Indipop or Indi-pop, refers to pop music in India. Pop music really started in the South Asian region with the famous playback singer Ahmed Rushdi's song ‘Ko-Ko-Korina’ in 1966...

, Pakistani, Turkish
Turkish pop music
Turkish pop music had its humble beginnings in the late 1950s with Turkish cover versions of a wide range of imported popular styles, including rock and roll, tango, and jazz...

 and Arabic pop music is filled with the sound of violins, both soloists
Solo (music)
In music, a solo is a piece or a section of a piece played or sung by a single performer...

 and ensemble
Musical ensemble
A musical ensemble is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles...

s.

Indian classical music


The violin is a very important part of South Indian classical music (Carnatic music
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

). It is believed to have been introduced to the South Indian tradition by Baluswamy Dikshitar, the brother of Muthuswamy Dikshitar. Though primarily used as an accompaniment instrument, the violin has become popular as a solo instrument in the orchestration. Popular film composers such as Ilaiyaraaja
Ilaiyaraaja
Ilaiyaraaja is an Indian film composer, singer, and lyricist mainly in the Tamil film Industry. He is regarded as one of the finest music composers in India. Ilaiyaraaja is also an instrumentalist, conductor, and a songwriter...

 have used the violin extensively in film music scoring. This type of music was often played on a harmonic scale.

Indian classical music uses a very different grip from the traditional European classical genre. The violin is held perpendicular to the chest with the scroll pointing down. Also, musicians play the instrument sitting squat on the floor and hence sometimes, the violin actually touches the floor. In its Indian classical form, the violin is also tuned differently.

Folk music and fiddling



Like many other instruments used in classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

, the violin descends from remote ancestors that were used for folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

. Following a stage of intensive development in the late Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

, largely in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, the violin had improved (in volume, tone, and agility), to the point that it not only became a very important instrument in art music, but proved highly appealing to folk musicians as well, ultimately spreading very widely, sometimes displacing earlier bowed instruments. Ethnomusicologists
Ethnomusicology
Ethnomusicology is defined as "the study of social and cultural aspects of music and dance in local and global contexts."Coined by the musician Jaap Kunst from the Greek words ἔθνος ethnos and μουσική mousike , it is often considered the anthropology or ethnography of music...

 have observed its widespread use in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

In many traditions of folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

, the tunes are not written but are memorized by successive generations of musicians and passed on, in what is known as the oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

.

Arabic music


As well as the Arabic rababah
Rebab
The rebab , also rebap, rabab, rebeb, rababah, or al-rababa) is a type of string instrument so named no later than the 8th century and spread via Islamic trading routes over much of North Africa, the Middle East, parts of Europe, and the Far East...

, the violin has been used in Arabic music.

Fiddle


When played as a folk instrument, the violin is ordinarily referred to in English as a fiddle (though the term fiddle may be used informally no matter what the genre of music). There is technically no difference between a fiddle and a violin. However, some folk fiddlers alter their instruments for various reasons. One example may be seen in American (e.g., bluegrass
Bluegrass music
Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and a sub-genre of country music. It has mixed roots in Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish traditional music...

 and old-time
Old-time music
Old-time music is a genre of North American folk music, with roots in the folk music of many countries, including England, Scotland, Ireland and countries in Africa. It developed along with various North American folk dances, such as square dance, buck dance, and clogging. The genre also...

) fiddling: in these styles, the bridge is sometimes shaved down so that it is less curved. This makes it easier to play double stop
Double stop
A double stop, in music terminology, is the act of playing two notes simultaneously on a melodic percussion instrument or stringed instrument...

s and triple stops, allowing one to play chord
Chord (music)
A chord in music is any harmonic set of two–three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may for many practical and theoretical purposes be understood as chords...

s with less effort. In addition, many fiddle players prefer to use a tailpiece
Tailpiece
A tailpiece is a component on many stringed musical instruments that anchors one end of the strings, usually the end opposite the end with the tuning mechanism the scroll, headstock, peghead, etc.-Function and construction:...

 with fine tuners on all four strings instead of only using one on the E string as many classical players do.

Electric violins




Electric violins have a magnetic
Magnetism
Magnetism is a property of materials that respond at an atomic or subatomic level to an applied magnetic field. Ferromagnetism is the strongest and most familiar type of magnetism. It is responsible for the behavior of permanent magnets, which produce their own persistent magnetic fields, as well...

 or piezoelectric
Piezoelectricity
Piezoelectricity is the charge which accumulates in certain solid materials in response to applied mechanical stress. The word piezoelectricity means electricity resulting from pressure...

 pickup
Pickup (music technology)
A pickup device is a transducer that captures mechanical vibrations, usually from suitably equipped stringed instruments such as the electric guitar, electric bass guitar, Chapman Stick, or electric violin, and converts them to an electrical signal that is amplified, recorded, or broadcast.-...

 that converts string vibration to an electric signal. A cable or transmitter sends the signal to an amplifier. Electric violins are usually constructed as such, but a pickup can be added to a conventional acoustic violin.

An electric violin with a resonating body that produces listening-level sound independently of the electric elements can be called an electro-acoustic violin. To be effective as an acoustic violin, electro-acoustic violins retain much of the resonating body of the violin, often looking very much like, sometimes even identical to, an acoustic violin or fiddle. They may be finished in bright colours and made from alternative materials to wood. The first specially built electric violin
Electric violin
An electric violin is a violin equipped with an electronic output of its sound. The term most properly refers to an instrument purposely made to be electrified with built-in pickups, usually with a solid body...

s date back to 1928 and were made by Victor Pfeil, Oskar Vierling, George Eisenberg, Benjamin Miessner, George Beauchamp
George Beauchamp
George Delmetia Beauchamp was an inventor of musical instruments and a co-founder of National Stringed Instrument Corporation and Rickenbacker guitars....

, Hugo Benioff
Hugo Benioff
Victor Hugo Benioff was an American seismologist and a professor at the California Institute of Technology. He is best remembered for his work in charting the location of deep earthquakes in the Pacific Ocean....

 and Fredray Kislingbury. These violins can be played through many effects much like a guitar, such as distortion and delay.

Since electric violins do not rely on string tension and resonance to amplify their sound they can have more strings. For example five stringed electric violins are available from several manufacturers, and a seven string electric violin (with three lower strings encompassing the cello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

's range) is available. The majority of the first electric violinists were musicians playing jazz and popular music.

Violin authentication



Violin authentication is the process of determining the maker and manufacture date of a violin. This process is similar to that used to determine the provenance
Provenance
Provenance, from the French provenir, "to come from", refers to the chronology of the ownership or location of an historical object. The term was originally mostly used for works of art, but is now used in similar senses in a wide range of fields, including science and computing...

 of art works. As significant value may be attached to violins made either by specific makers or at specific times and locations, forgery
Art forgery
Art forgery is the creation of works of art which are falsely attributed to other, usually more famous, artists. Art forgery can be extremely lucrative, but modern dating and analysis techniques have made the identification of forged artwork much simpler....

 and other methods of fraud
Fraud
In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation...

ulent misrepresentation can be used to inflate the value of an instrument.

See also


The violin is a string instrument
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

, usually with four strings
Strings (music)
A string is the vibrating element that produces sound in string instruments, such as the guitar, harp, piano, and members of the violin family. Strings are lengths of a flexible material kept under tension so that they may vibrate freely, but controllably. Strings may be "plain"...

 tuned in perfect fifth
Perfect fifth
In classical music from Western culture, a fifth is a musical interval encompassing five staff positions , and the perfect fifth is a fifth spanning seven semitones, or in meantone, four diatonic semitones and three chromatic semitones...

s. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family
Violin family
The violin family of musical instruments was developed in Italy in the sixteenth century. The standard modern violin family consists of the violin, viola, cello, and double bass....

 of string instruments, which includes the viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

 and cello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

.

The violin is sometimes informally called a fiddle
Fiddle
The term fiddle may refer to any bowed string musical instrument, most often the violin. It is also a colloquial term for the instrument used by players in all genres, including classical music...

, regardless of the type of music played on it. The word violin comes from the Middle Latin word vitula, meaning stringed instrument; this word is also believed to be the source of the Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 "fiddle". The violin, while it has ancient origins, acquired most of its modern characteristics in 16th-century Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, with some further modifications occurring in the 18th and 19th centuries. Violinists and collectors particularly prize the instruments made by the Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò is the name given to Gasparo di Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers and expert double bass player of which many and very detailed historical records exist.He was born in Salò on Lake Garda, in a family with legal, artistic, musical and craft interests...

, Giovanni Paolo Maggini
Giovanni Paolo Maggini
Giovanni Paolo Maggini , was a string maker born in Botticino , Italy. Maggini was a pupil of the most important violin maker of the Brescian school, Gasparo da Salò....

, Stradivari, Guarneri
Guarneri
The Guarneri is the family name of a group of distinguished luthiers from Cremona in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, whose standing is considered comparable to those of the Amati and Stradivari families...

 and Amati
Amati
Amati is the name of a family of Italian violin makers, who flourished at Cremona from about 1549 to 1740.-Andrea Amati:Andrea Amati was not the earliest maker of violins whose instruments still survive today...

 families from the 16th to the 18th century in Brescia
Brescia
Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

 and Cremona
Cremona
Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

 and by Jacob Stainer
Jacob Stainer
Jacob Stainer was the earliest and best known Austrian luthier.Stainer was born in Absam, Austria. His designs influenced instrument construction in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, parts of Italy, and several other countries....

 in Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

. Great numbers of instruments have come from the hands of "lesser" makers, as well as still greater numbers of mass-produced commercial "trade violins" coming from cottage industries in places such as Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

, Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, and Mirecourt
Mirecourt
Mirecourt is a commune in the Vosges department in Lorraine in northeastern France. Mirecourt is known for lace-making and the manufacture of musical instruments, particularly those of the violin family...

. Many of these trade instruments were formerly sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co. and other mass merchandisers.

A person who makes or repairs violins is called a luthier
Luthier
A luthier is someone who makes or repairs lutes and other string instruments. In the United States, the term is used interchangeably with a term for the specialty of each maker, such as violinmaker, guitar maker, lute maker, etc...

, or simply a violin maker. The parts of a violin are usually made from different types of wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

 (although electric violins may not be made of wood at all, since their sound may not be dependent on specific acoustic
Musical acoustics
Musical acoustics or music acoustics is the branch of acoustics concerned with researching and describing the physics of music – how sounds employed as music work...

 characteristics of the instrument's construction), and it is usually strung with gut
Catgut
Catgut is a type of cord that is prepared from the natural fibre found in the walls of animal intestines. Usually sheep or goat intestines are used, but it is occasionally made from the intestines of cattle, hogs, horses, mules, or donkeys.-Etymology:...

, nylon
Nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

 or other synthetic, or steel strings.

Someone who plays the violin is called a violinist or a fiddler. The violinist produces sound by drawing a bow
Bow (music)
In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones....

 across one or more strings (which may be stopped by the fingers of the other hand to produce a full range of pitches), by plucking the strings (with either hand), or by a variety of other techniques
Playing the violin
Playing the violin entails holding the instrument under the chin, supported by the left shoulder . The strings are sounded either by drawing the bow across them , or sometimes by plucking them...

. The violin is played by musicians in a wide variety of musical genres, including Baroque music
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

, classical, jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

, and rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

. The violin has come to be played in many non-western music cultures all over the world.

History


The earliest stringed instruments were mostly plucked (e.g. the Greek lyre
Lyre
The lyre is a stringed musical instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek "λύρα" and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script...

). Bowed
Bow (music)
In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones....

 instruments may have originated in the equestrian
Equestrianism
Equestrianism more often known as riding, horseback riding or horse riding refers to the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses...

 cultures of Central Asia, an example being the Kobyz
Kobyz
The Kobyz or kyl-kobyz is an ancient Kazakh string instrument. It has two strings made of horsehair. The resonating cavity is usually covered with goat leather....

  or kyl-kobyz is an ancient Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

, Kazakh
Music of Kazakhstan
The modern state of Kazakhstan is home to the Kazakh State Kurmangazy Orchestra of Folk Instruments, the Kazakh State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kazakh National Opera and the Kazakh State Chamber Orchestra. The folk instrument orchestra was named after Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly, a famous composer and...

 string instrument
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

 or Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

n instrument Morin huur:
Turkic and Mongolian horsemen from Inner Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 were probably the world’s earliest fiddlers. Their two-stringed upright fiddles were strung with horsehair
Horsehair
Horsehair is the long, coarse hair growing on the manes and tails of horses. It is used for various purposes, including upholstery, brushes, the bows of musical instruments, a hard-wearing fabric called haircloth, and for horsehair plaster, a wallcovering material formerly used in the construction...

 strings, played with horsehair bows, and often feature a carved horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

’s head at the end of the neck. The violins, viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

s, and cello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

s we play today, and whose bows are still strung with horsehair, are a legacy of the nomads.


It is believed that these instruments eventually spread to China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, the Byzantine Empire and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, where they developed into instruments such as the erhu
Erhu
The erhu is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, more specifically a spike fiddle, which may also be called a "southern fiddle", and sometimes known in the Western world as the "Chinese violin" or a "Chinese two-stringed fiddle". It is used as a solo instrument as well as in small ensembles...

 in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, the rebab
Rebab
The rebab , also rebap, rabab, rebeb, rababah, or al-rababa) is a type of string instrument so named no later than the 8th century and spread via Islamic trading routes over much of North Africa, the Middle East, parts of Europe, and the Far East...

 in the Middle East, the lyra
Byzantine lyra
The Byzantine lyra or lira , was a medieval bowed string musical instrument in the Byzantine Empire and is an ancestor of most European bowed instruments, including the violin. In its popular form the lyra was a pear-shaped instrument with three to five strings, held upright and played by stopping...

 in the Byzantine Empire and the esraj
Esraj
The esraj is a string instrument found in two forms throughout the north, central, and east regions of India. It is a young instrument by Indian terms, being only about 200 years old. The dilruba is found in the north, where it is used in religious music and light classical songs in the urban areas...

 in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The violin in its present form emerged in early 16th-Century Northern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, where the port towns of Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 and Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 maintained extensive ties to central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 through the trade routes of the silk road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

.

The modern European violin evolved from various bowed stringed instruments from the Middle East the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. It is most likely that the first makers of violins borrowed from three types of current instruments: the rebec
Rebec
The rebecha is a bowed string musical instrument. In its most common form, it has a narrow boat-shaped body and 1-5 strings and is played on the arm or under the chin, like a violin.- Origins :The rebec dates back to the Middle Ages and was particularly popular in the 15th and 16th centuries...

, in use since the 10th century (itself derived from the Byzantine lyra
Byzantine lyra
The Byzantine lyra or lira , was a medieval bowed string musical instrument in the Byzantine Empire and is an ancestor of most European bowed instruments, including the violin. In its popular form the lyra was a pear-shaped instrument with three to five strings, held upright and played by stopping...

 and the Arabic rebab
Rebab
The rebab , also rebap, rabab, rebeb, rababah, or al-rababa) is a type of string instrument so named no later than the 8th century and spread via Islamic trading routes over much of North Africa, the Middle East, parts of Europe, and the Far East...

), the Renaissance fiddle
Vielle
The vielle is a European bowed stringed instrument used in the Medieval period, similar to a modern violin but with a somewhat longer and deeper body, five gut strings, and a leaf-shaped pegbox with frontal tuning pegs. The instrument was also known as a fidel or a viuola, although the French...

, and the lira da braccio
Lira da braccio
The lira da braccio was a European bowed string instrument of the Renaissance. It was used by Italian poet-musicians in court in the 15th and 16th centuries to accompany their improvised recitations of lyric and narrative poetry. It is most closely related to the medieval fiddle, or vielle, and...

 (derived from the Byzantine lira). One of the earliest explicit descriptions of the instrument, including its tuning, was in the Epitome musical by Jambe de Fer, published in Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

 in 1556. By this time, the violin had already begun to spread throughout Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

.

The oldest documented violin to have four strings, like the modern violin, is supposed to have been constructed in 1555 by Andrea Amati, but the date is very doubtful. (Other violins, documented significantly earlier, only had three strings and were called violetta.) The violin immediately became very popular, both among street musicians and the nobility, illustrated by the fact that the French king Charles IX
Charles IX of France
Charles IX was King of France, ruling from 1560 until his death. His reign was dominated by the Wars of Religion. He is best known as king at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.-Childhood:...

 ordered Amati to construct 24 violins for him in 1560. The oldest surviving violin, dated inside, is from this set, and is known as the Charles IX, made in Cremona
Cremona
Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

 c. 1560. The finest Renaissance carved and decorated violin in the world is the Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò is the name given to Gasparo di Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers and expert double bass player of which many and very detailed historical records exist.He was born in Salò on Lake Garda, in a family with legal, artistic, musical and craft interests...

 (1574 c.) owned by Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria
Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria
Ferdinand II, Archduke of Further Austria was ruler of Further Austria including Tirol.-Life account:...

 and later, from 1841, by the Norwegian virtuoso Ole Bull
Ole Bull
Ole Bornemann Bull was a Norwegian violinist and composer.-Background:Bull was born in Bergen. He was the eldest of ten children of Johan Storm Bull and Anna Dorothea Borse Geelmuyden . His brother, Georg Andreas Bull became a noted Norwegian architect...

, who used it for forty years and thousands of concerts, for his very powerful and beautiful tone, similar to those of a Guarneri. It is now in the Vestlandske Kustindustrimuseum in Bergen
Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

 (Norway). "The Messiah"
Messiah Stradivarius
The Messiah-Salabue Stradivarius of 1716 is a violin made by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. It is considered to be the only Stradivarius in existence in as new state....

 or "Le Messie" (also known as the "Salabue") made by Antonio Stradivari
Antonio Stradivari
Antonio Stradivari was an Italian luthier and a crafter of string instruments such as violins, cellos, guitars, violas, and harps. Stradivari is generally considered the most significant artisan in this field. The Latinized form of his surname, Stradivarius, as well as the colloquial, "Strad", is...

 in 1716 remains pristine. It is now located in the Ashmolean Museum
Ashmolean Museum
The Ashmolean Museum on Beaumont Street, Oxford, England, is the world's first university museum...

 of Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

.


The most famous violin makers (luthiers) between the 16th century and the 18th century include:
  • The school of Brescia, beginning in the late 14th with liras, violettas, violas and active in the field of the violin in the first half of 16th century
  • The Dalla Corna family, active 1510–1560 in Brescia
    Brescia
    Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

     and Venezia, Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

  • The Micheli family, active 1530–1615 in Brescia
  • The Inverardi family active 1550–1580 in Brescia
  • The Bertolotti Gasparo da Salò
    Gasparo da Salò
    Gasparo da Salò is the name given to Gasparo di Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers and expert double bass player of which many and very detailed historical records exist.He was born in Salò on Lake Garda, in a family with legal, artistic, musical and craft interests...

     family, active 1530–1615 in Salò and Brescia
  • Giovanni Paolo Maggini, active 1600–1630 in Brescia
  • The school of Cremona, beginning in the half of 16 century vith violas and violone and in the field of violin in the second half of 16 century
  • The Amati
    Amati
    Amati is the name of a family of Italian violin makers, who flourished at Cremona from about 1549 to 1740.-Andrea Amati:Andrea Amati was not the earliest maker of violins whose instruments still survive today...

     family, active 1500–1740 in Cremona
    Cremona
    Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

    , Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

  • The Guarneri
    Guarneri
    The Guarneri is the family name of a group of distinguished luthiers from Cremona in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, whose standing is considered comparable to those of the Amati and Stradivari families...

     family, active 1626–1744 in Cremona
  • The Stradivari family, active 1644–1737 in Cremona


Significant changes occurred in the construction of the violin in the 18th century, particularly in the length and angle of the neck, as well as a heavier bass bar. The majority of old instruments have undergone these modifications, and hence are in a significantly different state than when they left the hands of their makers, doubtless with differences in sound and response. But these instruments in their present condition set the standard for perfection in violin craftsmanship and sound, and violin makers all over the world try to come as close to this ideal as possible.

To this day, instruments from the so-called Golden Age of violin making, especially those made by Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù, are the most sought-after instruments by both collectors and performers. The current record amount paid for a Stradivari violin is £9.8 million (US$15.9 million), when the instrument known as the Lady Blunt was sold by Tarisio Auctions
Tarisio Auctions
- Tarisio Auctions :This is the main page for Tarisio Auctions, the online string instrument auction house. For the Italian violin collector, see Luigi Tarisio....

 in an online auction on June 20, 2011.

Construction and mechanics



A violin typically consists of a spruce
Spruce
A spruce is a tree of the genus Picea , a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal regions of the earth. Spruces are large trees, from tall when mature, and can be distinguished by their whorled branches and conical...

 top (the soundboard, also known as the top plate, table, or belly), maple ribs and back, two endblocks, a neck
Neck (music)
The neck is the part of certain string instruments that projects from the main body and is the base of the fingerboard, where the fingers are placed to stop the strings at different pitches. Guitars, lutes, the violin family, and the mandolin family are examples of instruments which have necks.The...

, a bridge
Bridge (instrument)
A bridge is a device for supporting the strings on a stringed instrument and transmitting the vibration of those strings to some other structural component of the instrument in order to transfer the sound to the surrounding air.- Explanation :...

, a soundpost, four strings, and various fittings, optionally including a chinrest
Chinrest
A chinrest is a shaped piece of wood attached to the body of a violin or a viola to aid in the positioning of the player's jaw or chin on the instrument. The chinrest may be made of ebony, rosewood, boxwood, or plastic...

, which may attach directly over, or to the left of, the tailpiece
Tailpiece
A tailpiece is a component on many stringed musical instruments that anchors one end of the strings, usually the end opposite the end with the tuning mechanism the scroll, headstock, peghead, etc.-Function and construction:...

. A distinctive feature of a violin body is its hourglass-like shape and the arch
Arch
An arch is a structure that spans a space and supports a load. Arches appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture and their systematic use started with the Ancient Romans who were the first to apply the technique to a wide range of structures.-Technical aspects:The...

ing of its top and back. The hourglass shape comprises two upper bouts, two lower bouts, and two concave C-bouts at the waist, providing clearance for the bow
Bow (music)
In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones....

.

The voice of a violin depends on its shape, the wood it is made from, the graduation (the thickness profile) of both the top and back, and the varnish that coats its outside surface. The varnish and especially the wood continue to improve with age, making the fixed supply of old violins much sought-after.

The very great majority of glued joints in the instrument use animal hide glue for a number of reasons: it is capable of making a thinner joint than most other glues, it is reversible (brittle enough to crack with carefully applied force, and removable with warm water) when disassembly is needed, and since fresh hide glue sticks to old hide glue, more original wood can be preserved when repairing a joint. (More modern glues must be cleaned off entirely for the new joint to be sound, which generally involves scraping off some wood along with the old glue.) Weaker, diluted glue is usually used to fasten the top to the ribs, and the nut to the fingerboard, since common repairs involve removing these parts.

The purfling
Purfling
Purfling is a narrow binding inlaid into the edges of the top and often bottom plates of stringed instruments. Purfling serves to reinforce the plates and prevent cracking along their edges....

 running around the edge of the spruce top provides some protection against cracks originating at the edge. It also allows the top to flex more independently of the rib structure. Painted-on faux
Fake
Fake means not real.Fake may also refer to:In music:* Fake , a Swedish synthpop band active in the 1980s*Fake?, a Japanese rock band* Fake , 2010 song by Ai featuring Namie Amuro...

 purfling on the top is usually a sign of an inferior instrument. The back and ribs are typically made of maple
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

, most often with a matching striped figure
Figure (wood)
In wood, figure refers to the appearance of wood, as seen on a longitudinal surface : a "figured wood" is not plain.The figure of a particular piece of wood is, in part, due to its grain and, in part, due to the cut, or to innate properties of the wood...

, referred to as flame, fiddleback, or tiger stripe.

The neck
Neck (music)
The neck is the part of certain string instruments that projects from the main body and is the base of the fingerboard, where the fingers are placed to stop the strings at different pitches. Guitars, lutes, the violin family, and the mandolin family are examples of instruments which have necks.The...

 is usually maple with a flamed figure compatible with that of the ribs and back. It carries the fingerboard
Fingerboard
The fingerboard is a part of most stringed instruments. It is a thin, long strip of material, usually wood, that is laminated to the front of the neck of an instrument and above which the strings run...

, typically made of ebony, but often some other wood stained or painted black. Ebony
Ebony
Ebony is a dense black wood, most commonly yielded by several species in the genus Diospyros, but ebony may also refer to other heavy, black woods from unrelated species. Ebony is dense enough to sink in water. Its fine texture, and very smooth finish when polished, make it valuable as an...

 is the preferred material because of its hardness, beauty, and superior resistance to wear. Fingerboards are dressed to a particular transverse curve, and have a small lengthwise "scoop," or concavity, slightly more pronounced on the lower strings, especially when meant for gut or synthetic strings.

Some old violins (and some made to appear old) have a grafted scroll
Scroll (music)
A scroll is the decoratively carved end of the neck of certain stringed instruments, mainly members of the violin family. The scroll is typically carved in the shape of a volute according to a canonical pattern, although some violins are adorned with carved heads, human and animal. The quality of...

, evidenced by a glue joint between the pegbox and neck. Many authentic old instruments have had their necks reset to a slightly increased angle, and lengthened by about a centimeter. The neck graft allows the original scroll to be kept with a Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 violin when bringing its neck into conformance with modern standards.




The bridge
Bridge (instrument)
A bridge is a device for supporting the strings on a stringed instrument and transmitting the vibration of those strings to some other structural component of the instrument in order to transfer the sound to the surrounding air.- Explanation :...

 is a precisely cut piece of maple that forms the lower anchor point of the vibrating length of the strings and transmits the vibration of the strings to the body of the instrument. Its top curve holds the strings at the proper height from the fingerboard in an arc, allowing each to be sounded separately by the bow. The sound post
Sound post
In a string instrument, the sound post is a small dowel inside the instrument under the treble end of the bridge, spanning the space between the top and back plates and held in place by friction...

, or soul post, fits precisely inside the instrument between the back and top, below the treble foot of the bridge, which it helps support. It also transmits vibrations between the top and the back of the instrument.

The tailpiece
Tailpiece
A tailpiece is a component on many stringed musical instruments that anchors one end of the strings, usually the end opposite the end with the tuning mechanism the scroll, headstock, peghead, etc.-Function and construction:...

 anchors the strings to the lower bout of the violin by means of the tailgut, which loops around an ebony button called the tailpin (sometimes confusingly called the endpin, like the cello's spike), which fits into a tapered hole in the bottom block. Very often the E string will have a fine tuning lever worked by a small screw turned by the fingers. Fine tuners may also be applied to the other strings, especially on a student instrument, and are sometimes built into the tailpiece.

At the scroll end, the strings wind around the tuning peg
Tuning peg
A tuning peg is used to hold a string in the pegbox of a stringed instrument. It may be made of ebony, rosewood, boxwood or other material. Some tuning pegs are ornamented with shell, metal, or plastic inlays, beads or rings....

s in the pegbox. Strings usually have a colored silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 wrapping at both ends, for identification and to provide friction against the pegs. The tapered pegs allow friction to be increased or decreased by the player applying appropriate pressure along the axis of the peg while turning it.

Strings


Strings
Strings (music)
A string is the vibrating element that produces sound in string instruments, such as the guitar, harp, piano, and members of the violin family. Strings are lengths of a flexible material kept under tension so that they may vibrate freely, but controllably. Strings may be "plain"...

 were first made of sheep gut (commonly known as catgut
Catgut
Catgut is a type of cord that is prepared from the natural fibre found in the walls of animal intestines. Usually sheep or goat intestines are used, but it is occasionally made from the intestines of cattle, hogs, horses, mules, or donkeys.-Etymology:...

), or simply gut, which was stretched, dried, and twisted. In the early years of the 20th century, strings were made of either gut, silk, aluminum, or steel. Modern strings may be gut, solid steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

, stranded steel, or various synthetic materials, wound with various metals, and sometimes plated with silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

. Most E strings are unwound, either plain or gold-plated steel. Currently, violin strings are generally not made of gut, with the exception of violin strings used to play music from the Renaissance, Baroque, or early Classical periods.

Strings have a limited lifetime. Apart from obvious things, such as the winding of a string coming undone from wear, players generally change a string when it no longer plays true, losing the desired tone. String longevity depends on string quality and playing intensity.

Pitch range


The compass of the violin is from G3
Scientific pitch notation
Scientific pitch notation is one of several methods that name the notes of the standard Western chromatic scale by combining a letter-name, accidentals, and a number identifying the pitch's octave...

 (G below middle C
Middle C
C or Do is the first note of the fixed-Do solfège scale. Its enharmonic is B.-Middle C:Middle C is designated C4 in scientific pitch notation because of the note's position as the fourth C key on a standard 88-key piano keyboard...

) to C8 (the highest note of the modern piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

.) The top notes, however, are often produced by natural or artificial harmonic
Harmonic
A harmonic of a wave is a component frequency of the signal that is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency, i.e. if the fundamental frequency is f, the harmonics have frequencies 2f, 3f, 4f, . . . etc. The harmonics have the property that they are all periodic at the fundamental...

s. Thus the E two octaves above the open E-string may be considered a practical limit for orchestral violin parts.

Acoustics




The arched shape, the thickness of the wood, and its physical qualities govern the sound of a violin. Patterns of the node
Node (physics)
A node is a point along a standing wave where the wave has minimal amplitude. For instance, in a vibrating guitar string, the ends of the string are nodes. By changing the position of the end node through frets, the guitarist changes the effective length of the vibrating string and thereby the...

 made by sand or glitter sprinkled on the plates with the plate vibrated at certain frequencies, called Chladni
Ernst Chladni
Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni was a German physicist and musician. His important works include research on vibrating plates and the calculation of the speed of sound for different gases. For this some call him the "Father of Acoustics"...

 patterns, are occasionally used by luthier
Luthier
A luthier is someone who makes or repairs lutes and other string instruments. In the United States, the term is used interchangeably with a term for the specialty of each maker, such as violinmaker, guitar maker, lute maker, etc...

s to verify their work before assembling the instrument.

Sizes



The history of small violins is not well documented. Small violins were made at least during the late Renaissance Period and quite probably into the Baroque period that were a fourth higher in pitch than standard violins. These violins could be used either by children, or by musicians who had parts that were then outside of the range of standard violins. It is important to remember that the chin rest was a relatively recent invention. Without the chin rest, shifting into upper positions or back down from higher positions often resulted in the musician loosing control of the violin. Additionally, some people have speculated that these fractional violins could have been used instead of Dancing master's violins (also called Kits or Pouchettes). These early fractional violins are easily confused with children-sized violins, but, if confirmed by an expert, are highly sought by collectors and museums. During the later part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century, makers in Saxony produced many of these fractional violins.

Children typically use smaller string instruments than adults. Violins are made in so-called fractional sizes for young students: Apart from full-size (4/4) violins, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16, 1/32 and even 1/64-sized instruments exist, although these smaller sizes are highly unusual and usually custom-made. Extremely small sizes were developed, along with the Suzuki program
Suzuki method
The Suzuki method is a method of teaching music that emerged in the mid-20th century.-Background:The Suzuki Method was conceived in the mid-20th century by Shin'ichi Suzuki, a Japanese violinist who desired to bring beauty to the lives of children in his country after the devastation of World War II...

, for violin students as young as 3. Finely made fractional sized violins, especially smaller than 1/2 size, are extremely rare or non-existent. Such small instruments are typically intended for beginners needing a rugged violin, and whose rudimentary technique does not justify the expense of a more carefully made one.

These fractional sizes have nothing to do with the actual dimensions of an instrument; in other words, a 3/4-sized instrument is not three-quarters the length of a full size instrument. The body length (not including the neck) of a full-size, or 4/4, violin is about 14 inches (35 cm), smaller in some 17th century models. A 3/4 violin is about 13 inches (33 cm), and a 1/2 size is approximately 12 inches (30 cm). With the violin's closest family member, the viola, size is specified as body length in inches or centimeters rather than fractional sizes. A full-size viola averages 16 inches (40 cm).

Occasionally, an adult with a small frame may use a so-called 7/8 size violin instead of a full-size instrument. Sometimes called a lady's violin, these instruments are slightly shorter than a full size violin, but tend to be high-quality instruments capable of producing a sound that is comparable to that of fine full size violins.

Tuning




Violins are tuned by turning the pegs
Tuning peg
A tuning peg is used to hold a string in the pegbox of a stringed instrument. It may be made of ebony, rosewood, boxwood or other material. Some tuning pegs are ornamented with shell, metal, or plastic inlays, beads or rings....

 in the pegbox under the scroll, or by adjusting the fine tuner screws at the tailpiece
Tailpiece
A tailpiece is a component on many stringed musical instruments that anchors one end of the strings, usually the end opposite the end with the tuning mechanism the scroll, headstock, peghead, etc.-Function and construction:...

. All violins have pegs; fine tuners (also called fine adjusters) are optional. Most fine tuners consist of a metal screw that moves a lever attached to the string end. They permit very small pitch adjustments much more easily than the pegs. By turning one clockwise, the pitch becomes sharper and turning one counterclockwise, the pitch becomes flatter.

Fine tuners on all four of the strings are a practical necessity for playing steel-core strings, and some players use them with synthetic strings as well. Since modern E strings are steel, a fine tuner is typically fitted for that string. Fine tuners are not used with gut strings, which are more elastic
Young's modulus
Young's modulus is a measure of the stiffness of an elastic material and is a quantity used to characterize materials. It is defined as the ratio of the uniaxial stress over the uniaxial strain in the range of stress in which Hooke's Law holds. In solid mechanics, the slope of the stress-strain...

 than steel or synthetic-core strings and do not respond adequately to the very small movements of fine tuners.

To tune a violin, the A string is first tuned to a standard pitch
Pitch (music)
Pitch is an auditory perceptual property that allows the ordering of sounds on a frequency-related scale.Pitches are compared as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies,...

 (usually 440 Hz
Hertz
The hertz is the SI unit of frequency defined as the number of cycles per second of a periodic phenomenon. One of its most common uses is the description of the sine wave, particularly those used in radio and audio applications....

), using either a tuning device or another instrument. (When accompanying a fixed-pitch instrument such as a piano or accordion, the violin tunes to it.) The other strings are then tuned against each other in intervals of perfect fifth
Perfect fifth
In classical music from Western culture, a fifth is a musical interval encompassing five staff positions , and the perfect fifth is a fifth spanning seven semitones, or in meantone, four diatonic semitones and three chromatic semitones...

s by bowing them in pairs. A minutely higher tuning is sometimes employed for solo playing to give the instrument a brighter sound; conversely, Baroque music is sometimes played using lower tunings to make the violin's sound more gentle. After tuning, the instrument's bridge may be examined to ensure that it is standing straight and centered between the inner nicks of the f-holes; a crooked bridge may significantly affect the sound of an otherwise well-made violin.

The tuning G-D-A-E is used for most violin music. Other tunings are occasionally employed; the G string, for example, can be tuned up to A. The use of nonstandard tunings in classical music is known as scordatura
Scordatura
A scordatura , also called cross-tuning, is an alternative tuning used for the open strings of a string instrument, in which the notes indicated in the score would represent the finger position as if played in regular tuning, while the actual pitch is altered...

; in some folk styles, it is called cross-tuning. One famous example of scordatura in classical music is Saint-Saëns' Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre (Saint-Saëns)
Danse macabre, Op. 40, is a tone poem for orchestra, written in 1874 by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. It started out in 1872 as an art song for voice and piano with a French text by the poet Henri Cazalis, which is based in an old French superstition...

, where the solo violin's E string is tuned down to E flat to impart an eerie dissonance to the composition. Another example is in the third movement of Contrasts, by Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century and is regarded, along with Liszt, as Hungary's greatest composer...

, where the E string is tuned down to E flat and the G tuned to a G sharp, or the set of pieces called the Mystery Sonatas by Biber.

In Indian classical music and Indian light music, the violin is likely to be tuned to D-A-D-A in the South Indian style. As there is no concept of absolute pitch in Indian classical music, any convenient tuning maintaining these relative pitch intervals between the strings can be used. Another prevalent tuning with these intervals is F-B-F-B, which corresponds to Sa-Pa-Sa-Pa in the Indian carnatic
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

 classical music style. In the North Indian Hindustani
Hindustani classical music
Hindustani classical music is the Hindustani or North Indian style of Indian classical music found throughout the northern Indian subcontinent. The style is sometimes called North Indian Classical Music or Shāstriya Sangeet...

 style, the tuning is usually Pa-Sa-Pa-Sa instead of Sa-Pa-Sa-Pa. This could correspond to B-F-B-F, for instance.

While most violins have four strings, there are violins with as many as seven strings. The extra strings on such violins typically are lower in pitch than the G-string; these strings are usually tuned to C, F, and B flat. If the instrument's playing length, or string length from nut to bridge, is equal to that of an ordinary full-scale violin; i.e., a bit less than 13 inches (330.2 mm), then it may be properly termed a violin. Some such instruments are somewhat longer and should be regarded as violas. Violins with five strings or more are often used in jazz or folk music.

Bows




A violin is usually played using a bow
Bow (music)
In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones....

 consisting of a stick with a ribbon of horsehair strung between the tip and frog (or nut, or heel) at opposite ends. A typical violin bow may be 75 cm (29 inches) overall, and weigh about 60 g (2.1 oz). Viola bows may be about 5 mm (0.196850393700787 in) shorter and 10 g (0.35273962105112 oz) heavier.

At the frog end, a screw adjuster tightens or loosens the hair. Just forward of the frog, a leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

 thumb cushion and winding protect the stick and provide a strong grip for the player's hand. The winding may be wire (often silver or plated silver), silk, or whalebone (now imitated by alternating strips of tan and black plastic.) Some student bows (particularly the ones made of solid fiberglass) substitute a plastic sleeve for grip and winding.

The hair of the bow traditionally comes from the tail of a grey male horse (which has predominantly white hair), though some cheaper bows use synthetic fiber. Occasional rubbing with rosin
Rosin
.Rosin, also called colophony or Greek pitch , is a solid form of resin obtained from pines and some other plants, mostly conifers, produced by heating fresh liquid resin to vaporize the volatile liquid terpene components. It is semi-transparent and varies in color from yellow to black...

 makes the hair grip the strings intermittently, causing them to vibrate. The stick is traditionally made of brazilwood
Brazilwood
Caesalpinia echinata is a species of Brazilian timber tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. Common names include Brazilwood, Pau-Brasil, Pau de Pernambuco and Ibirapitanga . This plant has a dense, orange-red heartwood that takes a high shine, and it is the premier wood used for making bows for...

, although a stick made from a more select quality (and more expensive) brazilwood is called pernambuco
Pernambuco
Pernambuco is a state of Brazil, located in the Northeast region of the country. To the north are the states of Paraíba and Ceará, to the west is Piauí, to the south are Alagoas and Bahia, and to the east is the Atlantic Ocean. There are about of beaches, some of the most beautiful in the...

. Both types come from the same tree species. Some student bows are made of fiberglass or various inexpensive woods. Some recent bow design innovations use carbon fiber
Carbon fiber
Carbon fiber, alternatively graphite fiber, carbon graphite or CF, is a material consisting of fibers about 5–10 μm in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms. The carbon atoms are bonded together in crystals that are more or less aligned parallel to the long axis of the fiber...

 for the stick, at all levels of craftsmanship.

Playing


The standard way of holding the violin is with the left side of the jaw resting on the chinrest of the violin, and supported by the left shoulder, often assisted by a shoulder rest
Shoulder rest
The shoulder rest is an accessory that can be found on violins and violas. It may be made of wood, aluminium, carbon fiber or plastic. Usually, the shoulder rest attaches to the edge of the back of the violin with "feet" padded with rubber tubing or made of soft plastic...

 or a sponge and an elastic band for younger players who struggle with shoulder rests. This practice varies in some cultures; for instance, Indian (Carnatic
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

 and Hindustani
Hindustani classical music
Hindustani classical music is the Hindustani or North Indian style of Indian classical music found throughout the northern Indian subcontinent. The style is sometimes called North Indian Classical Music or Shāstriya Sangeet...

) violinists play seated on the floor and rest the scroll of the instrument on the side of their foot. The strings may be sounded by drawing the hair of the bow across them (arco) or by plucking them (pizzicato
Pizzicato
Pizzicato is a playing technique that involves plucking the strings of a string instrument. The exact technique varies somewhat depending on the type of stringed instrument....

). The left hand regulates the sounding length of the string by stopping it against the fingerboard with the fingertips, producing different pitches.


Left hand and pitch production


As the violin has no frets to stop the strings, the player must know exactly where to place the fingers on the strings to play with good intonation
Intonation (music)
Intonation, in music, is a musician's realization of pitch accuracy, or the pitch accuracy of a musical instrument. Intonation may be flat, sharp, or both, successively or simultaneously.-Interval, melody, and harmony:...

. Through practice and ear training, the violinist's left hand finds the notes intuitively by muscle memory
Proprioception
Proprioception , from Latin proprius, meaning "one's own" and perception, is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement...

. Beginners sometimes rely on tapes
Adhesive tape
Adhesive tape is one of many varieties of backing materials coated with an adhesive. Several types of adhesives can be used.-Types:Pressure sensitive tape...

 placed on the fingerboard for proper left hand finger placement, but usually abandon the tapes quickly as they advance. Another commonly used marking technique uses dots of white-out
Correction fluid
A correction fluid is an opaque, white fluid applied to paper to mask errors in text. Once dried, it can be written over. It is typically packaged in small bottles, and the lid has an attached brush which dips into the bottle...

 on the fingerboard, which wear off in a few weeks of regular practice. This practice, unfortunately, is used sometimes in lieu of adequate ear-training, guiding the placement of fingers by eye and not by ear. Especially in the early stages of learning to play, the so-called ringing tones are useful. There are nine such notes in first position, where a stopped note
Stopped note
-Bowed strings:On bowed string instruments, a stopped note is a played note that is fingered with the left hand, i.e. not an open string, on the string being bowed by the right hand...

 sounds a unison or octave with another (open) string, causing it to resonate sympathetically
Acoustic resonance
Acoustic resonance is the tendency of an acoustic system to absorb more energy when it is forced or driven at a frequency that matches one of its own natural frequencies of vibration than it does at other frequencies....

. Thus, "when unaccompanied, [a violinist] does not play consistently in either the tempered or the natural [just] scale, but tends on the whole to conform with the Pythagorean scale."

The fingers are conventionally numbered 1 (index) through 4 (little finger). Especially in instructional editions of violin music, numbers over the notes may indicate which finger to use, with 0 indicating an open string. The chart to the right shows the arrangement of notes reachable in first position. Not shown on this chart is the way the spacing between note positions becomes closer as the fingers move up (in pitch) from the nut. The bars at the sides of the chart represent the usual possibilities for beginners' tape placements, at 1st, high 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers.

Positions


The placement of the left hand on the fingerboard is characterized by "positions". First position, where most beginners start (although some methods start in third position), is the most commonly used position in string music. The lowest note available in this position in standard tuning is an open G; the highest note in first position is played with the fourth finger on the E-string, sounding a B, or reaching up a half step (also known as the "extended fourth finger") to the C two octaves above middle C
Middle C
C or Do is the first note of the fixed-Do solfège scale. Its enharmonic is B.-Middle C:Middle C is designated C4 in scientific pitch notation because of the note's position as the fourth C key on a standard 88-key piano keyboard...

.

Moving the hand up the neck, so the first finger takes the place of the second finger, brings the player into second position. Letting the first finger take the first-position place of the third finger brings the player to third position, and so on. The upper limit of the violin's range is largely determined by the skill of the player, who may easily play more than two octaves on a single string, and four octaves on the instrument as a whole, although when a violinist has progressed to the point of being able to use the entire range of the instrument, references to particular positions become less common. Position names are mostly used for the lower positions and in method books; for this reason, it is uncommon to hear references to anything higher than seventh position. The lowest position on a violin is half-position, where the first finger is a half-step away from the nut. This position is less frequently used. The highest position, practically speaking, is 15th position.

Moving between positions is called shifting. The player moves from position to position by typically using a guide finger. For example, when a player shifts from first to fourth position, they will use the last finger they used in first position as the guide finger. Then, the player moves their entire hand to fourth position, but with the last finger used in first position guiding the hand. The guide finger should not press on the string during the shift; it should only glide down the string. This guide finger moves to its respective spot in fourth position, but does not press down on the string. Then, the finger that plays the note after the shift should be pressed onto the string and the bow is moved to sound the note.

The same note may sound different, depending on which string is used to play it. Sometimes a composer or arranger specifies the string to use for a particular tone quality
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

. This is indicated in the music by the marking, for example, sul G, meaning to play on the G string. For example, playing very high up on the lower strings gives a distinctive quality to the sound. Otherwise, moving into different positions is usually done for ease of playing.

Open strings


Bowing or plucking an open string (that is, a string played without any finger stopping it) gives a different sound from a stopped string, since the string vibrates more freely at the nut than under a finger. Other than the low G (which can be played in no other way), open strings are generally avoided in some styles of classical playing. This is because they have a somewhat harsher sound (especially open E) and it is not possible to directly use vibrato on an open string. However, this can be partially compensated by applying vibrato on a note that is an octave higher than the open string.

In some cases playing an open string is called for by the composer (and explicitly marked in the music) for special effect, decided upon by the musician for artistic reasons (common in earlier works such as Bach), or played in a fast passage, where they usually cannot be distinguished.

Playing an open string simultaneously with a stopped note on an adjacent string produces a bagpipe
Bagpipes
Bagpipes are a class of musical instrument, aerophones, using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. Though the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe and Irish uilleann pipes have the greatest international visibility, bagpipes of many different types come from...

-like drone, often used by composers in imitation of folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

. Sometimes the two notes are identical (for instance, playing a fingered A on the D string against the open A string), giving a ringing sort of "fiddling" sound. Playing an open string simultaneously with an identical stopped note can also be called for when more volume is required, especially in orchestral playing.

Double stops and drones


Double stop
Double stop
A double stop, in music terminology, is the act of playing two notes simultaneously on a melodic percussion instrument or stringed instrument...

ping is when two separate strings are stopped by the fingers, and bowed simultaneously, producing a sixth, third, fifth, etc. harmony. Sometimes moving to a higher position is necessary for the left hand to be able to reach both notes at once. Sounding an open string alongside a fingered note is another way to get a partial chord. While sometimes also called a double stop, it is more properly called a drone, as the drone note may be sustained for a passage of different notes played on the adjacent string. Three or four notes can also be played at one time (triple and quadruple stops, respectively), and, according to the style of music, the notes might all be played simultaneously or might be played as two successive double stops, favoring the higher notes.

Vibrato



Vibrato
Vibrato
Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation and the speed with which the pitch is varied .-Vibrato and...

 is a technique of the left hand and arm in which the pitch of a note varies in a pulsating rhythm. While various parts of the hand or arm may be involved in the motion, the end result is a movement of the fingertip bringing about a slight change in vibrating string length. Some violinists oscillate backwards, or lower in pitch from the actual note when using vibrato, since it is believed that perception favors the highest pitch in a varying sound. Vibrato does little, if anything, to disguise an out-of-tune note; in other words, misapplied vibrato is a poor substitute for good intonation. Scales and other exercises meant to work on intonation are typically played without vibrato to make the work easier and more effective. Music students are often taught that unless otherwise marked in music, vibrato is assumed or even mandatory. This can be an obstacle to a classically trained violinist wishing to play in a style that uses little or no vibrato at all, such as baroque music played in period style and many traditional fiddling styles.

Vibrato can be produced by a proper combination of finger, wrist and arm motions. One method, called hand vibrato, involves rocking the hand back at the wrist to achieve oscillation, while another method, arm vibrato, modulates the pitch by rocking at the elbow. A combination of these techniques allows a player to produce a large variety of tonal effects.

The "when" and "what for" of violin vibrato
Vibrato
Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation and the speed with which the pitch is varied .-Vibrato and...

 are artistic matters of style and taste. For example if you overdo the variation of the note's tone it may become very distracting and overwhelm the piece. In acoustic terms, the interest that vibrato adds to the sound has to do with the way that the overtone mix (or tone color, or timbre) and the directional pattern of sound projection change with changes in pitch. By "pointing" the sound at different parts of the room in a rhythmic way, vibrato adds a "shimmer" or "liveliness" to the sound of a well-made violin. Vibrato is, in a large part, left to the discretion of the violinist. Different types of vibrato will bring different moods to the piece, and the varying degrees and styles of vibrato are often characteristics that stand out in well-known violinists.

Vibrato trill


Vibrato
Vibrato
Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation and the speed with which the pitch is varied .-Vibrato and...

 can also be used for a fast trill. A trill initiated from just hammering the finger up and down on the fingerboard will create a harsher quality than with a vibrato trill. For example, if trilling on the first finger, the second finger is placed very slightly off the string and vibrato is implemented. The second finger will lightly touch the string above the first finger causing the pitch to change. This has a softer quality and many think it is nicer-sounding than a hammered trill. Note - this trill technique only works well for semi-tonal trills, it is far more difficult to vibrato trill for an interval of a tone or more.

Harmonics


Lightly touching the string with a fingertip at a harmonic node
Node (physics)
A node is a point along a standing wave where the wave has minimal amplitude. For instance, in a vibrating guitar string, the ends of the string are nodes. By changing the position of the end node through frets, the guitarist changes the effective length of the vibrating string and thereby the...

 creates harmonic
Harmonic
A harmonic of a wave is a component frequency of the signal that is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency, i.e. if the fundamental frequency is f, the harmonics have frequencies 2f, 3f, 4f, . . . etc. The harmonics have the property that they are all periodic at the fundamental...

s. Instead of the normal tone, a higher pitched note sounds. Each node is at an integer division of the string, for example half-way or one-third along the length of the string. A responsive instrument will sound numerous possible harmonic nodes along the length of the string. Harmonics are marked in music either with a little circle above the note that determines the pitch of the harmonic, or by diamond-shaped note heads. There are two types of harmonics: natural harmonics and artificial harmonics (also known as false harmonics).

Natural harmonics are played on an open string. The pitch of the open string is called the fundamental frequency. Harmonics are also called overtones. They occur at whole-number multiples of the fundamental, which is called the first harmonic. The second harmonic is the first overtone
Overtone
An overtone is any frequency higher than the fundamental frequency of a sound. The fundamental and the overtones together are called partials. Harmonics are partials whose frequencies are whole number multiples of the fundamental These overlapping terms are variously used when discussing the...

, the third harmonic is the second overtone, and so on. The second harmonic is in the middle of the string and sounds an octave higher than the string's pitch. The third harmonic breaks the string into thirds and sounds an octave and a fifth above the fundamental, and the fourth harmonic breaks the string into quarters sounding two octaves above the first. The sound of the second harmonic is the clearest of them all, because it is a common node
Node (physics)
A node is a point along a standing wave where the wave has minimal amplitude. For instance, in a vibrating guitar string, the ends of the string are nodes. By changing the position of the end node through frets, the guitarist changes the effective length of the vibrating string and thereby the...

 with all the succeeding even-numbered harmonics (4th, 6th, etc.). The third and succeeding odd-numbered harmonics are harder to play because they break the string into an odd number of vibrating parts and do not share as many nodes with other harmonics.

Artificial harmonics are more difficult to produce than natural harmonics, as they involve both stopping the string and playing a harmonic on the stopped note. Using the octave frame (the normal distance between the first and fourth fingers in any given position) with the fourth finger just touching the string a fourth
Interval (music)
In music theory, an interval is a combination of two notes, or the ratio between their frequencies. Two-note combinations are also called dyads...

 higher than the stopped note produces the fourth harmonic, two octaves above the stopped note. Finger placement and pressure, as well as bow speed, pressure, and sounding point are all essential in getting the desired harmonic to sound. And to add to the challenge, in passages with different notes played as false harmonics, the distance between stopping finger and harmonic finger must constantly change, since the spacing between notes changes along the length of the string.

The harmonic finger can also touch at a major third
Interval (music)
In music theory, an interval is a combination of two notes, or the ratio between their frequencies. Two-note combinations are also called dyads...

 above the pressed note (the fifth harmonic), or a fifth
Interval (music)
In music theory, an interval is a combination of two notes, or the ratio between their frequencies. Two-note combinations are also called dyads...

 higher (a third harmonic). These harmonics are less commonly used; in the case of the major third, both the stopped note and touched note must be played slightly sharp otherwise the harmonic does not speak as readily. In the case of the fifth, the stretch is greater than is comfortable for many violinists. In the general repertoire fractions smaller than a sixth are not used. However, divisions up to an eighth are sometimes used and, given a good instrument and a skilled player, divisions as small as a twelfth are possible.

There are a few books dedicated solely to the study of violin harmonics. Two comprehensive works are Henryk Heller's seven-volume Theory of Harmonics, published by Simrock in 1928, and Michelangelo Abbado's five-volume Tecnica dei suoni armonici published by Ricordi in 1934.

Elaborate passages in artificial harmonics can be found in virtuoso violin literature, especially of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Two notable examples of this are an entire section of Vittorio Monti
Vittorio Monti
Vittorio Monti was an Italian composer, violinist, and conductor.Monti was born in Naples, where he studied violin and composition at the Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella...

's Csárdás
Csárdás (Monti)
Csárdás is perhaps the most famous composition of Vittorio Monti. A rhapsodical concert piece written in 1904, it is a well-known folk piece based on a Hungarian csárdás. It was originally composed for violin, mandolin or piano...

 and a passage towards the middle of the third movement of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's Violin Concerto
Violin concerto
A violin concerto is a concerto for solo violin and instrumental ensemble, customarily orchestra. Such works have been written since the Baroque period, when the solo concerto form was first developed, up through the present day...

.

Right hand and tone colour


The right arm, hand, and bow are responsible for tone quality, rhythm
Rhythm
Rhythm may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions." This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or...

, dynamics
Dynamics (music)
In music, dynamics normally refers to the volume of a sound or note, but can also refer to every aspect of the execution of a given piece, either stylistic or functional . The term is also applied to the written or printed musical notation used to indicate dynamics...

, articulation
Articulation (music)
In music, articulation refers to the musical direction performance technique which affects the transition or continuity on a single note or between multiple notes or sounds.- Types of articulations :...

, and most (but not all) changes in timbre
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

.

Bowing techniques


The most essential part of bowing technique is the bow grip. It is usually with the thumb bent in the small area between the frog and the winding of the bow. The other fingers are spread somewhat evenly across the top part of the bow.

The violin produces louder notes with greater bow speed or more weight on the string. The two methods are not equivalent, because they produce different timbres; pressing down on the string tends to produce a harsher, more intense sound. One can also achieve a louder sound by placing the bow closer to the bridge.

The sounding point where the bow intersects the string also influences timbre. Playing close to the bridge (sul ponticello) gives a more intense sound than usual, emphasizing the higher harmonics; and playing with the bow over the end of the fingerboard (sul tasto) makes for a delicate, ethereal sound, emphasizing the fundamental frequency
Fundamental frequency
The fundamental frequency, often referred to simply as the fundamental and abbreviated f0, is defined as the lowest frequency of a periodic waveform. In terms of a superposition of sinusoids The fundamental frequency, often referred to simply as the fundamental and abbreviated f0, is defined as the...

. Dr. Suzuki referred to the sounding point as the Kreisler
Fritz Kreisler
Friedrich "Fritz" Kreisler was an Austrian-born violinist and composer. One of the most famous violin masters of his or any other day, he was known for his sweet tone and expressive phrasing. Like many great violinists of his generation, he produced a characteristic sound which was immediately...

 highway; one may think of different sounding points as lanes in the highway.

Various methods of attack with the bow produce different articulations. There are many bowing techniques that allow for every range of playing style and many teachers, players, and orchestras spend a lot of time developing techniques and creating a unified technique within the group. These techniques include legato-style bowing, collé, ricochet, sautillé, martelé
Martelé (bowstroke)
Martelé , literally "hammered," is a bowstroke, used when playing bowed string instruments. The effect is usually produced by holding the bow against the string with pressure, then stroked forcefully to produce an intense note...

, spiccato, and staccato.

Pizzicato


A note marked pizz. (abbreviation for pizzicato
Pizzicato
Pizzicato is a playing technique that involves plucking the strings of a string instrument. The exact technique varies somewhat depending on the type of stringed instrument....

) in the written music is to be played by plucking the string with a finger of the right hand rather than by bowing. (The index finger is most commonly used here.) Sometimes in virtuoso solo music where the bow hand is occupied (or for show-off effect), left-hand pizzicato will be indicated by a + (plus sign) below or above the note. In left-hand pizzicato, two fingers are put on the string; one (usually the index or middle finger) is put on the correct note, and the other (usually the ring finger or little finger) is put above the note. The higher finger then plucks the string while the lower one stays on, thus producing the correct pitch. By increasing the force of the pluck, one can increase the volume of the note that the string is producing.

Col legno


A marking of col legno
Col legno
In music for bowed string instruments, col legno, or more precisely col legno battuto , is an instruction to strike the string with the stick of the bow, rather than by drawing the hair of the bow across the strings. This results in a quiet but eerie percussive sound.Col legno is used in the final...

 (Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 for "with the wood") in the written music calls for striking the string(s) with the stick of the bow, rather than by drawing the hair of the bow across the strings. This bowing technique is somewhat rarely used, and results in a muted percussive sound. The eerie quality of a violin section playing col legno is exploited in some symphonic pieces, notably the "Witches' Dance" of the last movement of Berlioz's
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

 Symphonie Fantastique
Symphonie Fantastique
Symphonie Fantastique: Épisode de la vie d'un Artiste...en cinq parties , Op. 14, is a program symphony written by the French composer Hector Berlioz in 1830. It is one of the most important and representative pieces of the early Romantic period, and is still very popular with concert audiences...

. Saint-Saens' symphonic poem "Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre
Dance of Death, also variously called Danse Macabre , Danza de la Muerte , Dansa de la Mort , Danza Macabra , Dança da Morte , Totentanz , Dodendans , is an artistic genre of late-medieval allegory on the universality of death: no matter one's...

" includes the string section using the col legno technique to imitate the sound of dancing skeletons. "Mars" from Gustav Holst's "The Planets
The Planets
The Planets, Op. 32, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst...

" uses col legno to play a repeated rhythm in 5/4 time signature. Dmitri Shostakovich uses it in his Fourteenth Symphony in the movement 'At the Sante Jail'. Some violinists, however, object to this style of playing as it can damage the finish and impair the value of a fine bow.

Martelé


Literally hammered, a strongly accented effect produced by releasing each bowstroke forcefully and suddenly. Martelé can be played in any part of the bow. It is sometimes indicated in written music by an arrowhead.

Tremolo


Very rapid repetition (typically of a single note, but occasionally of multiple notes), usually played at the tip of the bow. Tremolo is marked with three short, slanted lines across the stem of the note.

Mute or sordino


Attaching a small metal, rubber, leather, or wooden device called a mute
Mute (music)
A mute is a device fitted to a musical instrument to alter the sound produced: by affecting the timbre, reducing the volume, or most commonly both.- Musical directions for muting :...

, or sordino
Sordino
Sordino, with alternative forms sordono and sordun, etc., is an Italian term somewhat promiscuously applied by various writers:#to contrivances for damping or muting wind, string and percussion instruments ;...

, to the bridge of the violin gives a softer, more mellow tone, with fewer audible overtone
Overtone
An overtone is any frequency higher than the fundamental frequency of a sound. The fundamental and the overtones together are called partials. Harmonics are partials whose frequencies are whole number multiples of the fundamental These overlapping terms are variously used when discussing the...

s; the sound of an entire orchestral string section playing with mutes has a hushed quality. The conventional Italian markings for mute usage are con sord., or con sordina, meaning 'with mute'; and senza sord., meaning 'without mute'; or via sord., meaning 'mute off'. Larger metal, rubber, or wooden mutes are widely available, known as practice mutes or hotel mutes. Such mutes are generally not used in performance, but are used to deaden the sound of the violin in practice areas such as hotel rooms. (For practicing purposes there is also the mute violin
Mute violin
The mute violin is a violin without or with a very shallow sound box. The instrument has a quiet, lean sound. The mute violin can be used as an exercise instrument in situations where the sound of a violin is experienced as annoying by neighbouring people. Mute violins are known to exist since the...

, a violin without a sound box.) Some composers have used practice mutes for special effect, for example at the end of Luciano Berio's Sequenza VIII for solo violin.

Classical music


Since the Baroque
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

 era, the violin has been one of the most important of all instruments in classical music, for several reasons. The tone of the violin stands out above other instruments, making it appropriate for playing a melody line. In the hands of a good player, the violin is extremely agile, and can execute rapid and difficult sequences of notes.

Violins make up a large part of an orchestra
Orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

, and are usually divided into two sections, known as the first and second violins. Composers often assign the melody to the first violins, while second violins play harmony, accompaniment patterns or the melody an octave lower than the first violins. A string quartet
String quartet
A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players – usually two violin players, a violist and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group...

 similarly has parts for first and second violins, as well as a viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

 part, and a bass instrument, such as the cello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

 or, rarely, the double bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

.

Jazz


The earliest references to jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 performance using the violin
Jazz violin
Jazz violin is the use of the violin or electric violin to improvise and perform utilizing scales and chord progressions unique to the compositions of Jazz musicians . The earliest references to jazz performance using the violin as a solo instrument was during the first decades of the 20th century...

 as a solo instrument are documented during the first decades of the 20th century. Joe Venuti, one of the first jazz violinists, is known for his work with guitarist Eddie Lang
Eddie Lang
Eddie Lang was an American jazz guitarist, regarded as the Father of Jazz Guitar. He played a Gibson L-4 and L-5 guitar, providing great influence for many guitarists, including Django Reinhardt.-Biography:...

 during the 1920s. Since that time there have been many improvising violinists including Stéphane Grappelli
Stéphane Grappelli
Stéphane Grappelli was a French jazz violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France with guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1934. It was one of the first all-string jazz bands....

, Stuff Smith
Stuff Smith
Hezekiah Leroy Gordon Smith , better known as Stuff Smith, was a jazz violinist. He is known well for the song "If You're a Viper".-Biography:...

, Regina Carter
Regina Carter
Regina Carter is an American jazz violinist. She is the cousin of famous jazz saxophonist James Carter.-Early life:...

, Johnny Frigo
Johnny Frigo
Johnny Frigo was an American jazz violinist and bassist.His son, Derek John Frigo, was the lead guitarist for the rock band Enuff Z'nuff. Derek Frigo died of a drug overdose on May 28, 2004....

, John Blake
John Blake, Jr.
John Blake, Jr. is an American jazz violinist. He has performed most prominently as a sideman in groups led by Grover Washington, Jr. in the late 1970s) and McCoy Tyner , as well as led his own groups.-External links:*[ allmusic's inventory of his record appearances]**...

 and Jean-Luc Ponty
Jean-Luc Ponty
Jean-Luc Ponty is a French virtuoso violinist and jazz composer.- Early years:Ponty was born into a family of classical musicians on 29 September 1942 in Avranches, France. His father taught violin, his mother taught piano...

. While not primarily jazz violinists, Darol Anger
Darol Anger
-Career:Darol Anger entered popular music at the age of 21 as a founding member of The David Grisman Quintet. Anger played fiddle to David Grisman's mandolin in The David Grisman Quintet's 1977 debut. He co-founded the Turtle Island String Quartet with David Balakrishnan in 1985 and performed,...

 and Mark O'Connor
Mark O'Connor
Mark O'Connor is an American bluegrass, jazz, country and classical violinist fiddler, composer and music teacher. O'Connor's music is wide-ranging, critically acclaimed, and he has received numerous awards for both his playing and his composition...

 have spent significant parts of their careers playing jazz.

Violins also appear in ensembles supplying orchestral backgrounds to many jazz recordings.

Popular music


Up to the 1970s, most types of popular music used bowed strings. They were extensively used in popular music throughout the 1920s and early 1930s. There was a drastic decline in their use with the rise of swing music in 1935 as the string sound was deemed inappropriate to the improvised style of swing music. The late 1960s saw a revival of the use of strings with the rise of soul music
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

. Popular Motown recordings of the late 1960s and 1970s relied heavily on strings as part of their trademark texture. The rise of disco
Disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

 music in the 1970s continued this trend with the heavy use of string instruments in popular disco orchestras (e.g. Love Unlimited Orchestra, Biddu
Biddu
Biddu or Biddu Appaiah is an Indian-British music producer, composer, song-writer and singer who produced and composed many hit records worldwide during a career spanning five decades...

 Orchestra, Monster Orchestra, Salsoul Orchestra
Salsoul Orchestra
The Salsoul Orchestra was the backing band for acts on Salsoul Records. Under their own name the group recorded several hit singles and albums between 1975 and 1981.-Group History:...

, MFSB
MFSB
MFSB was a pool of more than thirty studio musicians based at Philadelphia’s famed Sigma Sound Studios. They worked closely with the production team of Gamble and Huff and producer/arranger Thom Bell, and backed up such groups as Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, the O’Jays, the Stylistics, the...

, etc.).

The rise of electronically created music
Electronic music
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology. Examples of electromechanical sound...

 in the 1980s saw a decline in their use, as synthesized string sections took their place. However, while the violin has very little usage in rock
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 music, it has some history in progressive rock
Progressive rock
Progressive rock is a subgenre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility." John Covach, in Contemporary Music Review, says that many thought it would not just "succeed the pop of...

 (e.g., The Electric Light Orchestra, King Crimson
King Crimson
King Crimson are a rock band founded in London, England in 1969. Often categorised as a foundational progressive rock group, the band have incorporated diverse influences and instrumentation during their history...

, Kansas
Kansas (band)
Kansas is an American rock band that became popular in the 1970s initially on Album-Oriented Rock charts, and later with hit singles such as "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind"...

). The 1973 album Contaminazione by Italy's RDM
Il Rovescio della Medaglia
Il Rovescio della Medaglia, or RDM, were an Italian hard rock and symphonic rock band. They are most famous for their symphonic rock masterpiece Contaminazione, released in 1973. It contained four pieces from Bach's Well-tempered Clavier seamlessly integrated with RDM's own music, which often was...

 plays violins off against synthesizers at its finale ("La grande fuga").

The instrument has a stronger place in modern fusion bands, notably The Corrs
The Corrs
The Corrs are an Irish band which combine pop rock with traditional Celtic folk music. The brother and sisters are from Dundalk, Ireland. The group consists of the Corr siblings: Andrea ; Sharon ; Caroline ; and Jim .The Corrs came to international prominence with their performance at the...

. The fiddle has also always been a part of British folk-rock music, as exemplified by the likes of Fairport Convention
Fairport Convention
Fairport Convention are an English folk rock and later electric folk band, formed in 1967 who are still recording and touring today. They are widely regarded as the most important single group in the English folk rock movement...

 and Steeleye Span
Steeleye Span
Steeleye Span are an English folk-rock band, formed in 1969 and remaining active today. Along with Fairport Convention they are amongst the best known acts of the British folk revival, and were among the most commercially successful, thanks to their hit singles "Gaudete" and "All Around My Hat"....

.

The popularity of crossover music beginning in the last years of the 20th century has brought the violin back into the popular music arena, with both electric and acoustic violins being used by popular bands. Vanessa Mae uses classical music with her electric violin. Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band, sometimes shortened to DMB, is a U.S. rock band formed in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1991. The founding members were singer-songwriter and guitarist Dave Matthews, bassist Stefan Lessard, drummer/backing vocalist Carter Beauford and saxophonist LeRoi Moore. Boyd Tinsley was...

 features violinist Boyd Tinsley
Boyd Tinsley
Boyd Calvin Tinsley is an American violinist and mandolinist who performs as a member of the Dave Matthews Band. Within the band, Tinsley has collaborated in writing songs, harmonizing, and singing backing vocals.-Early life:Tinsley was raised in a musical family...

. The Flock
The Flock (band)
The Flock was a Chicago-based jazz-rock band that released two records on Columbia records in 1969 and 1970 . The Flock did not achieve the commercial success of other Columbia jazz-rock groups of the era such as Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears, but were most notable for their inclusion of a...

 featured violinist Jerry Goodman
Jerry Goodman
Jerry Goodman is an American violinist best known for playing electric violin in the bands The Flock and the jazz fusion Mahavishnu Orchestra. Goodman actually began his musical career as The Flock's roadie before joining the band on violin. Trained in the conservatory, both of his parents were...

 who later joined the jazz-rock fusion band, The Mahavishnu Orchestra
The Mahavishnu Orchestra
The Mahavishnu Orchestra was a jazz fusion group, led by John McLaughlin, that debuted in 1971, dissolved in 1976 and reunited from 1984 to 1987.-First Mahavishnu Orchestra:...

. Yellowcard
Yellowcard
Yellowcard is an American pop punk/alternative rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1997, and based in Los Angeles, California since 2000. Their music features the use of a violin, unusual for the genre...

 featured the instrument with a role equal to the guitar in many of their songs. Blue October
Blue October
Blue October is a rock band from Houston, Texas. The band was formed in 1995 and currently consists of Justin Furstenfeld , Jeremy Furstenfeld , Ryan Delahoussaye , Matt Noveskey , and Julian Mandrake .-History:Blue October was formed by lead...

 are well-known for their violin-based Music with Master violinist Ryan Delahoussaye. James
James (band)
James are a British rock band from Manchester, England. They formed in 1982 and were active throughout the 1980s, but most successful during the 1990s. Their hit singles include "Come Home", "Sit Down", and "She's a Star" as well as their American College Radio hit "Laid"...

' Saul Davies, who is also a guitar
Guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

ist, was enlisted by the band as a violinist. For their first three albums and related singles, the British group No-Man
No-Man
No-Man are a British art-pop duo formed in 1987 as No Man Is An Island by singer Tim Bowness and multi-instrumentalist Steven Wilson . The band has so far produced six studio albums and a number of singles/outtakes collections...

 made extensive use of electric and acoustic solo violin as played by band member Ben Coleman (who played violin exclusively).

Pop-Punk band Yellowcard
Yellowcard
Yellowcard is an American pop punk/alternative rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1997, and based in Los Angeles, California since 2000. Their music features the use of a violin, unusual for the genre...

 has made a mainstay of violin in its music. Violinist Sean Mackin has been a member of the band since 1997. Los Salvadores
Los Salvadores
Los Salvadores is a four-piece folk group from south east England. They currently perform across the United Kingdom and appear at various festivals including Lounge On The Farm, Boomtown Fair, Zoo Thousand, Endorse It in Dorset, Sellindge Music Festival and the Rochester Sweeps...

 also combine punk and ska influences with a violin.

Doom metal
Doom metal
Doom metal is an extreme form of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much "thicker" or "heavier" sound than other metal genres...

 band My Dying Bride
My Dying Bride
My Dying Bride are an English doom metal band formed in 1990. To date, My Dying Bride have released eleven full-length studio albums, three EPs, one demo, one box set, four compilation albums, one live album, and one live CD/DVD release. The band released their tenth studio album, For Lies I Sire,...

 have used violin as a part of their line-up throughout many of their albums.

The violin appears prominently in the music of Spanish folk metal
Folk metal
Folk metal is a sub-genre of heavy metal music that developed in Europe during the 1990s. As the name suggests, the genre is a fusion of heavy metal with traditional folk music...

 group Mägo de Oz
Mägo de Oz
Mägo de Oz is a Spanish folk/heavy metal band from Begoña, Madrid formed in mid-1988 by drummer Txus di Fellatio. In 1992, the band were finalists in the Villa de Madrid contest. Then, they went onto achieve great success in Spain, and in 1995, were declared Revolution Rock Band...

, for example, in their 1998 hit "Molinos de viento". The violinist (Carlos Prieto aka "Mohamed") has been one of the group's most popular members with fans since 1992.

The alternative rock
Alternative rock
Alternative rock is a genre of rock music and a term used to describe a diverse musical movement that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular by the 1990s...

 band Hurt
Hurt (band)
Hurt is a rock band formed in 2000 in Virginia, now located in Los Angeles, California, United States. Currently in partnership with their manager's independent record label, Amusement, the band has put out three major label albums. The group consists of lead singer J...

's vocalist plays violin for the band, making them one of few rock bands to feature violin without hiring a session worker.

Independent artists such as Owen Pallett
Owen Pallett
Michael James Owen Pallett is a Canadian composer, violinist, keyboardist, and vocalist from Toronto, Ontario. He won the 2006 Polaris Music Prize for the album He Poos Clouds....

, The Shondes
The Shondes
The Shondes are an indie punk band from Brooklyn, NY, best known for their brand of pop-rock, featuring Jewish influences and radical political messages, and for organizing and performing at benefit events for organizations such as Birthright Unplugged, Jews Against the Occupation, and The Sylvia...

 and Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird is an American musician, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.- Early life and the Bowl of Fire :...

 have also spurred increased interest in the instrument. Indie bands have often embraced new and unusual arrangements, allowing them more freedom to feature the violin than their mainstream
Mainstream
Mainstream is, generally, the common current thought of the majority. However, the mainstream is far from cohesive; rather the concept is often considered a cultural construct....

 brethren. It has been used in the post-rock genre by bands such as A Genuine Freakshow
A Genuine Freakshow
A Genuine Freakshow are a baroque pop band originating from Reading in the United Kingdom. They were formed in 2005, settling on their current 7-piece permanent line-up in 2008...

, Sigur Rós
Sigur Rós
Sigur Rós is an Icelandic post-rock band with classicaland minimalist elements. The band is known for its ethereal sound, and frontman Jónsi Birgisson's falsetto vocals and use of bowed guitar. In January 2010, the band announced that they will be on hiatus. Since then, it has since been announced...

, Zox
ZOX
ZOX is a band from Providence, Rhode Island that is self-described as "violin-laced Reggae rock." The band consists of four members: namesake John Zox , Eli Miller , Spencer Swain , and Dan Edinberg ....

, Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene is a Canadian indie rock band, a musical collective including as few as six and as many as nineteen members, formed in 1999 by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. Most of its members currently play in various other groups and solo projects, mainly based around the city of Toronto...

, and A Silver Mt. Zion
A Silver Mt. Zion
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra are a Canadian band which formed in 1999, originating from Montreal, Quebec...

. The electric violin
Electric violin
An electric violin is a violin equipped with an electronic output of its sound. The term most properly refers to an instrument purposely made to be electrified with built-in pickups, usually with a solid body...

 has even been used by bands like The Crüxshadows
The Crüxshadows
The Crüxshadows is an Dark Electro group from Florida. Their sound is made up of a combination of male vocals, electric violin, guitar, and synth...

 within the context of keyboard based music.

Indian
Indian pop
Indian pop music , often known as Indian-Pop, Hindi Pop, Indipop or Indi-pop, refers to pop music in India. Pop music really started in the South Asian region with the famous playback singer Ahmed Rushdi's song ‘Ko-Ko-Korina’ in 1966...

, Pakistani, Turkish
Turkish pop music
Turkish pop music had its humble beginnings in the late 1950s with Turkish cover versions of a wide range of imported popular styles, including rock and roll, tango, and jazz...

 and Arabic pop music is filled with the sound of violins, both soloists
Solo (music)
In music, a solo is a piece or a section of a piece played or sung by a single performer...

 and ensemble
Musical ensemble
A musical ensemble is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles...

s.

Indian classical music


The violin is a very important part of South Indian classical music (Carnatic music
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

). It is believed to have been introduced to the South Indian tradition by Baluswamy Dikshitar, the brother of Muthuswamy Dikshitar. Though primarily used as an accompaniment instrument, the violin has become popular as a solo instrument in the orchestration. Popular film composers such as Ilaiyaraaja
Ilaiyaraaja
Ilaiyaraaja is an Indian film composer, singer, and lyricist mainly in the Tamil film Industry. He is regarded as one of the finest music composers in India. Ilaiyaraaja is also an instrumentalist, conductor, and a songwriter...

 have used the violin extensively in film music scoring. This type of music was often played on a harmonic scale.

Indian classical music uses a very different grip from the traditional European classical genre. The violin is held perpendicular to the chest with the scroll pointing down. Also, musicians play the instrument sitting squat on the floor and hence sometimes, the violin actually touches the floor. In its Indian classical form, the violin is also tuned differently.

Folk music and fiddling



Like many other instruments used in classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

, the violin descends from remote ancestors that were used for folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

. Following a stage of intensive development in the late Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

, largely in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, the violin had improved (in volume, tone, and agility), to the point that it not only became a very important instrument in art music, but proved highly appealing to folk musicians as well, ultimately spreading very widely, sometimes displacing earlier bowed instruments. Ethnomusicologists
Ethnomusicology
Ethnomusicology is defined as "the study of social and cultural aspects of music and dance in local and global contexts."Coined by the musician Jaap Kunst from the Greek words ἔθνος ethnos and μουσική mousike , it is often considered the anthropology or ethnography of music...

 have observed its widespread use in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

In many traditions of folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

, the tunes are not written but are memorized by successive generations of musicians and passed on, in what is known as the oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

.

Arabic music


As well as the Arabic rababah
Rebab
The rebab , also rebap, rabab, rebeb, rababah, or al-rababa) is a type of string instrument so named no later than the 8th century and spread via Islamic trading routes over much of North Africa, the Middle East, parts of Europe, and the Far East...

, the violin has been used in Arabic music.

Fiddle


When played as a folk instrument, the violin is ordinarily referred to in English as a fiddle (though the term fiddle may be used informally no matter what the genre of music). There is technically no difference between a fiddle and a violin. However, some folk fiddlers alter their instruments for various reasons. One example may be seen in American (e.g., bluegrass
Bluegrass music
Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and a sub-genre of country music. It has mixed roots in Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish traditional music...

 and old-time
Old-time music
Old-time music is a genre of North American folk music, with roots in the folk music of many countries, including England, Scotland, Ireland and countries in Africa. It developed along with various North American folk dances, such as square dance, buck dance, and clogging. The genre also...

) fiddling: in these styles, the bridge is sometimes shaved down so that it is less curved. This makes it easier to play double stop
Double stop
A double stop, in music terminology, is the act of playing two notes simultaneously on a melodic percussion instrument or stringed instrument...

s and triple stops, allowing one to play chord
Chord (music)
A chord in music is any harmonic set of two–three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may for many practical and theoretical purposes be understood as chords...

s with less effort. In addition, many fiddle players prefer to use a tailpiece
Tailpiece
A tailpiece is a component on many stringed musical instruments that anchors one end of the strings, usually the end opposite the end with the tuning mechanism the scroll, headstock, peghead, etc.-Function and construction:...

 with fine tuners on all four strings instead of only using one on the E string as many classical players do.

Electric violins




Electric violins have a magnetic
Magnetism
Magnetism is a property of materials that respond at an atomic or subatomic level to an applied magnetic field. Ferromagnetism is the strongest and most familiar type of magnetism. It is responsible for the behavior of permanent magnets, which produce their own persistent magnetic fields, as well...

 or piezoelectric
Piezoelectricity
Piezoelectricity is the charge which accumulates in certain solid materials in response to applied mechanical stress. The word piezoelectricity means electricity resulting from pressure...

 pickup
Pickup (music technology)
A pickup device is a transducer that captures mechanical vibrations, usually from suitably equipped stringed instruments such as the electric guitar, electric bass guitar, Chapman Stick, or electric violin, and converts them to an electrical signal that is amplified, recorded, or broadcast.-...

 that converts string vibration to an electric signal. A cable or transmitter sends the signal to an amplifier. Electric violins are usually constructed as such, but a pickup can be added to a conventional acoustic violin.

An electric violin with a resonating body that produces listening-level sound independently of the electric elements can be called an electro-acoustic violin. To be effective as an acoustic violin, electro-acoustic violins retain much of the resonating body of the violin, often looking very much like, sometimes even identical to, an acoustic violin or fiddle. They may be finished in bright colours and made from alternative materials to wood. The first specially built electric violin
Electric violin
An electric violin is a violin equipped with an electronic output of its sound. The term most properly refers to an instrument purposely made to be electrified with built-in pickups, usually with a solid body...

s date back to 1928 and were made by Victor Pfeil, Oskar Vierling, George Eisenberg, Benjamin Miessner, George Beauchamp
George Beauchamp
George Delmetia Beauchamp was an inventor of musical instruments and a co-founder of National Stringed Instrument Corporation and Rickenbacker guitars....

, Hugo Benioff
Hugo Benioff
Victor Hugo Benioff was an American seismologist and a professor at the California Institute of Technology. He is best remembered for his work in charting the location of deep earthquakes in the Pacific Ocean....

 and Fredray Kislingbury. These violins can be played through many effects much like a guitar, such as distortion and delay.

Since electric violins do not rely on string tension and resonance to amplify their sound they can have more strings. For example five stringed electric violins are available from several manufacturers, and a seven string electric violin (with three lower strings encompassing the cello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

's range) is available. The majority of the first electric violinists were musicians playing jazz and popular music.

Violin authentication



Violin authentication is the process of determining the maker and manufacture date of a violin. This process is similar to that used to determine the provenance
Provenance
Provenance, from the French provenir, "to come from", refers to the chronology of the ownership or location of an historical object. The term was originally mostly used for works of art, but is now used in similar senses in a wide range of fields, including science and computing...

 of art works. As significant value may be attached to violins made either by specific makers or at specific times and locations, forgery
Art forgery
Art forgery is the creation of works of art which are falsely attributed to other, usually more famous, artists. Art forgery can be extremely lucrative, but modern dating and analysis techniques have made the identification of forged artwork much simpler....

 and other methods of fraud
Fraud
In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation...

ulent misrepresentation can be used to inflate the value of an instrument.

See also


The violin is a string instrument
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

, usually with four strings
Strings (music)
A string is the vibrating element that produces sound in string instruments, such as the guitar, harp, piano, and members of the violin family. Strings are lengths of a flexible material kept under tension so that they may vibrate freely, but controllably. Strings may be "plain"...

 tuned in perfect fifth
Perfect fifth
In classical music from Western culture, a fifth is a musical interval encompassing five staff positions , and the perfect fifth is a fifth spanning seven semitones, or in meantone, four diatonic semitones and three chromatic semitones...

s. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family
Violin family
The violin family of musical instruments was developed in Italy in the sixteenth century. The standard modern violin family consists of the violin, viola, cello, and double bass....

 of string instruments, which includes the viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

 and cello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

.

The violin is sometimes informally called a fiddle
Fiddle
The term fiddle may refer to any bowed string musical instrument, most often the violin. It is also a colloquial term for the instrument used by players in all genres, including classical music...

, regardless of the type of music played on it. The word violin comes from the Middle Latin word vitula, meaning stringed instrument; this word is also believed to be the source of the Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 "fiddle". The violin, while it has ancient origins, acquired most of its modern characteristics in 16th-century Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, with some further modifications occurring in the 18th and 19th centuries. Violinists and collectors particularly prize the instruments made by the Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò is the name given to Gasparo di Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers and expert double bass player of which many and very detailed historical records exist.He was born in Salò on Lake Garda, in a family with legal, artistic, musical and craft interests...

, Giovanni Paolo Maggini
Giovanni Paolo Maggini
Giovanni Paolo Maggini , was a string maker born in Botticino , Italy. Maggini was a pupil of the most important violin maker of the Brescian school, Gasparo da Salò....

, Stradivari, Guarneri
Guarneri
The Guarneri is the family name of a group of distinguished luthiers from Cremona in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, whose standing is considered comparable to those of the Amati and Stradivari families...

 and Amati
Amati
Amati is the name of a family of Italian violin makers, who flourished at Cremona from about 1549 to 1740.-Andrea Amati:Andrea Amati was not the earliest maker of violins whose instruments still survive today...

 families from the 16th to the 18th century in Brescia
Brescia
Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

 and Cremona
Cremona
Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

 and by Jacob Stainer
Jacob Stainer
Jacob Stainer was the earliest and best known Austrian luthier.Stainer was born in Absam, Austria. His designs influenced instrument construction in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, parts of Italy, and several other countries....

 in Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

. Great numbers of instruments have come from the hands of "lesser" makers, as well as still greater numbers of mass-produced commercial "trade violins" coming from cottage industries in places such as Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

, Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, and Mirecourt
Mirecourt
Mirecourt is a commune in the Vosges department in Lorraine in northeastern France. Mirecourt is known for lace-making and the manufacture of musical instruments, particularly those of the violin family...

. Many of these trade instruments were formerly sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co. and other mass merchandisers.

A person who makes or repairs violins is called a luthier
Luthier
A luthier is someone who makes or repairs lutes and other string instruments. In the United States, the term is used interchangeably with a term for the specialty of each maker, such as violinmaker, guitar maker, lute maker, etc...

, or simply a violin maker. The parts of a violin are usually made from different types of wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

 (although electric violins may not be made of wood at all, since their sound may not be dependent on specific acoustic
Musical acoustics
Musical acoustics or music acoustics is the branch of acoustics concerned with researching and describing the physics of music – how sounds employed as music work...

 characteristics of the instrument's construction), and it is usually strung with gut
Catgut
Catgut is a type of cord that is prepared from the natural fibre found in the walls of animal intestines. Usually sheep or goat intestines are used, but it is occasionally made from the intestines of cattle, hogs, horses, mules, or donkeys.-Etymology:...

, nylon
Nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

 or other synthetic, or steel strings.

Someone who plays the violin is called a violinist or a fiddler. The violinist produces sound by drawing a bow
Bow (music)
In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones....

 across one or more strings (which may be stopped by the fingers of the other hand to produce a full range of pitches), by plucking the strings (with either hand), or by a variety of other techniques
Playing the violin
Playing the violin entails holding the instrument under the chin, supported by the left shoulder . The strings are sounded either by drawing the bow across them , or sometimes by plucking them...

. The violin is played by musicians in a wide variety of musical genres, including Baroque music
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

, classical, jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

, and rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

. The violin has come to be played in many non-western music cultures all over the world.

History


The earliest stringed instruments were mostly plucked (e.g. the Greek lyre
Lyre
The lyre is a stringed musical instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek "λύρα" and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script...

). Bowed
Bow (music)
In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones....

 instruments may have originated in the equestrian
Equestrianism
Equestrianism more often known as riding, horseback riding or horse riding refers to the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses...

 cultures of Central Asia, an example being the Kobyz
Kobyz
The Kobyz or kyl-kobyz is an ancient Kazakh string instrument. It has two strings made of horsehair. The resonating cavity is usually covered with goat leather....

  or kyl-kobyz is an ancient Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

, Kazakh
Music of Kazakhstan
The modern state of Kazakhstan is home to the Kazakh State Kurmangazy Orchestra of Folk Instruments, the Kazakh State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kazakh National Opera and the Kazakh State Chamber Orchestra. The folk instrument orchestra was named after Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly, a famous composer and...

 string instrument
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

 or Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

n instrument Morin huur:
Turkic and Mongolian horsemen from Inner Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 were probably the world’s earliest fiddlers. Their two-stringed upright fiddles were strung with horsehair
Horsehair
Horsehair is the long, coarse hair growing on the manes and tails of horses. It is used for various purposes, including upholstery, brushes, the bows of musical instruments, a hard-wearing fabric called haircloth, and for horsehair plaster, a wallcovering material formerly used in the construction...

 strings, played with horsehair bows, and often feature a carved horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

’s head at the end of the neck. The violins, viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

s, and cello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

s we play today, and whose bows are still strung with horsehair, are a legacy of the nomads.


It is believed that these instruments eventually spread to China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, the Byzantine Empire and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, where they developed into instruments such as the erhu
Erhu
The erhu is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, more specifically a spike fiddle, which may also be called a "southern fiddle", and sometimes known in the Western world as the "Chinese violin" or a "Chinese two-stringed fiddle". It is used as a solo instrument as well as in small ensembles...

 in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, the rebab
Rebab
The rebab , also rebap, rabab, rebeb, rababah, or al-rababa) is a type of string instrument so named no later than the 8th century and spread via Islamic trading routes over much of North Africa, the Middle East, parts of Europe, and the Far East...

 in the Middle East, the lyra
Byzantine lyra
The Byzantine lyra or lira , was a medieval bowed string musical instrument in the Byzantine Empire and is an ancestor of most European bowed instruments, including the violin. In its popular form the lyra was a pear-shaped instrument with three to five strings, held upright and played by stopping...

 in the Byzantine Empire and the esraj
Esraj
The esraj is a string instrument found in two forms throughout the north, central, and east regions of India. It is a young instrument by Indian terms, being only about 200 years old. The dilruba is found in the north, where it is used in religious music and light classical songs in the urban areas...

 in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The violin in its present form emerged in early 16th-Century Northern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, where the port towns of Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 and Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 maintained extensive ties to central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 through the trade routes of the silk road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

.

The modern European violin evolved from various bowed stringed instruments from the Middle East the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. It is most likely that the first makers of violins borrowed from three types of current instruments: the rebec
Rebec
The rebecha is a bowed string musical instrument. In its most common form, it has a narrow boat-shaped body and 1-5 strings and is played on the arm or under the chin, like a violin.- Origins :The rebec dates back to the Middle Ages and was particularly popular in the 15th and 16th centuries...

, in use since the 10th century (itself derived from the Byzantine lyra
Byzantine lyra
The Byzantine lyra or lira , was a medieval bowed string musical instrument in the Byzantine Empire and is an ancestor of most European bowed instruments, including the violin. In its popular form the lyra was a pear-shaped instrument with three to five strings, held upright and played by stopping...

 and the Arabic rebab
Rebab
The rebab , also rebap, rabab, rebeb, rababah, or al-rababa) is a type of string instrument so named no later than the 8th century and spread via Islamic trading routes over much of North Africa, the Middle East, parts of Europe, and the Far East...

), the Renaissance fiddle
Vielle
The vielle is a European bowed stringed instrument used in the Medieval period, similar to a modern violin but with a somewhat longer and deeper body, five gut strings, and a leaf-shaped pegbox with frontal tuning pegs. The instrument was also known as a fidel or a viuola, although the French...

, and the lira da braccio
Lira da braccio
The lira da braccio was a European bowed string instrument of the Renaissance. It was used by Italian poet-musicians in court in the 15th and 16th centuries to accompany their improvised recitations of lyric and narrative poetry. It is most closely related to the medieval fiddle, or vielle, and...

 (derived from the Byzantine lira). One of the earliest explicit descriptions of the instrument, including its tuning, was in the Epitome musical by Jambe de Fer, published in Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

 in 1556. By this time, the violin had already begun to spread throughout Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

.

The oldest documented violin to have four strings, like the modern violin, is supposed to have been constructed in 1555 by Andrea Amati, but the date is very doubtful. (Other violins, documented significantly earlier, only had three strings and were called violetta.) The violin immediately became very popular, both among street musicians and the nobility, illustrated by the fact that the French king Charles IX
Charles IX of France
Charles IX was King of France, ruling from 1560 until his death. His reign was dominated by the Wars of Religion. He is best known as king at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.-Childhood:...

 ordered Amati to construct 24 violins for him in 1560. The oldest surviving violin, dated inside, is from this set, and is known as the Charles IX, made in Cremona
Cremona
Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

 c. 1560. The finest Renaissance carved and decorated violin in the world is the Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò
Gasparo da Salò is the name given to Gasparo di Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers and expert double bass player of which many and very detailed historical records exist.He was born in Salò on Lake Garda, in a family with legal, artistic, musical and craft interests...

 (1574 c.) owned by Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria
Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria
Ferdinand II, Archduke of Further Austria was ruler of Further Austria including Tirol.-Life account:...

 and later, from 1841, by the Norwegian virtuoso Ole Bull
Ole Bull
Ole Bornemann Bull was a Norwegian violinist and composer.-Background:Bull was born in Bergen. He was the eldest of ten children of Johan Storm Bull and Anna Dorothea Borse Geelmuyden . His brother, Georg Andreas Bull became a noted Norwegian architect...

, who used it for forty years and thousands of concerts, for his very powerful and beautiful tone, similar to those of a Guarneri. It is now in the Vestlandske Kustindustrimuseum in Bergen
Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

 (Norway). "The Messiah"
Messiah Stradivarius
The Messiah-Salabue Stradivarius of 1716 is a violin made by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. It is considered to be the only Stradivarius in existence in as new state....

 or "Le Messie" (also known as the "Salabue") made by Antonio Stradivari
Antonio Stradivari
Antonio Stradivari was an Italian luthier and a crafter of string instruments such as violins, cellos, guitars, violas, and harps. Stradivari is generally considered the most significant artisan in this field. The Latinized form of his surname, Stradivarius, as well as the colloquial, "Strad", is...

 in 1716 remains pristine. It is now located in the Ashmolean Museum
Ashmolean Museum
The Ashmolean Museum on Beaumont Street, Oxford, England, is the world's first university museum...

 of Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

.


The most famous violin makers (luthiers) between the 16th century and the 18th century include:
  • The school of Brescia, beginning in the late 14th with liras, violettas, violas and active in the field of the violin in the first half of 16th century
  • The Dalla Corna family, active 1510–1560 in Brescia
    Brescia
    Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

     and Venezia, Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

  • The Micheli family, active 1530–1615 in Brescia
  • The Inverardi family active 1550–1580 in Brescia
  • The Bertolotti Gasparo da Salò
    Gasparo da Salò
    Gasparo da Salò is the name given to Gasparo di Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers and expert double bass player of which many and very detailed historical records exist.He was born in Salò on Lake Garda, in a family with legal, artistic, musical and craft interests...

     family, active 1530–1615 in Salò and Brescia
  • Giovanni Paolo Maggini, active 1600–1630 in Brescia
  • The school of Cremona, beginning in the half of 16 century vith violas and violone and in the field of violin in the second half of 16 century
  • The Amati
    Amati
    Amati is the name of a family of Italian violin makers, who flourished at Cremona from about 1549 to 1740.-Andrea Amati:Andrea Amati was not the earliest maker of violins whose instruments still survive today...

     family, active 1500–1740 in Cremona
    Cremona
    Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

    , Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

  • The Guarneri
    Guarneri
    The Guarneri is the family name of a group of distinguished luthiers from Cremona in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, whose standing is considered comparable to those of the Amati and Stradivari families...

     family, active 1626–1744 in Cremona
  • The Stradivari family, active 1644–1737 in Cremona


Significant changes occurred in the construction of the violin in the 18th century, particularly in the length and angle of the neck, as well as a heavier bass bar. The majority of old instruments have undergone these modifications, and hence are in a significantly different state than when they left the hands of their makers, doubtless with differences in sound and response. But these instruments in their present condition set the standard for perfection in violin craftsmanship and sound, and violin makers all over the world try to come as close to this ideal as possible.

To this day, instruments from the so-called Golden Age of violin making, especially those made by Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù, are the most sought-after instruments by both collectors and performers. The current record amount paid for a Stradivari violin is £9.8 million (US$15.9 million), when the instrument known as the Lady Blunt was sold by Tarisio Auctions
Tarisio Auctions
- Tarisio Auctions :This is the main page for Tarisio Auctions, the online string instrument auction house. For the Italian violin collector, see Luigi Tarisio....

 in an online auction on June 20, 2011.

Construction and mechanics



A violin typically consists of a spruce
Spruce
A spruce is a tree of the genus Picea , a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal regions of the earth. Spruces are large trees, from tall when mature, and can be distinguished by their whorled branches and conical...

 top (the soundboard, also known as the top plate, table, or belly), maple ribs and back, two endblocks, a neck
Neck (music)
The neck is the part of certain string instruments that projects from the main body and is the base of the fingerboard, where the fingers are placed to stop the strings at different pitches. Guitars, lutes, the violin family, and the mandolin family are examples of instruments which have necks.The...

, a bridge
Bridge (instrument)
A bridge is a device for supporting the strings on a stringed instrument and transmitting the vibration of those strings to some other structural component of the instrument in order to transfer the sound to the surrounding air.- Explanation :...

, a soundpost, four strings, and various fittings, optionally including a chinrest
Chinrest
A chinrest is a shaped piece of wood attached to the body of a violin or a viola to aid in the positioning of the player's jaw or chin on the instrument. The chinrest may be made of ebony, rosewood, boxwood, or plastic...

, which may attach directly over, or to the left of, the tailpiece
Tailpiece
A tailpiece is a component on many stringed musical instruments that anchors one end of the strings, usually the end opposite the end with the tuning mechanism the scroll, headstock, peghead, etc.-Function and construction:...

. A distinctive feature of a violin body is its hourglass-like shape and the arch
Arch
An arch is a structure that spans a space and supports a load. Arches appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture and their systematic use started with the Ancient Romans who were the first to apply the technique to a wide range of structures.-Technical aspects:The...

ing of its top and back. The hourglass shape comprises two upper bouts, two lower bouts, and two concave C-bouts at the waist, providing clearance for the bow
Bow (music)
In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones....

.

The voice of a violin depends on its shape, the wood it is made from, the graduation (the thickness profile) of both the top and back, and the varnish that coats its outside surface. The varnish and especially the wood continue to improve with age, making the fixed supply of old violins much sought-after.

The very great majority of glued joints in the instrument use animal hide glue for a number of reasons: it is capable of making a thinner joint than most other glues, it is reversible (brittle enough to crack with carefully applied force, and removable with warm water) when disassembly is needed, and since fresh hide glue sticks to old hide glue, more original wood can be preserved when repairing a joint. (More modern glues must be cleaned off entirely for the new joint to be sound, which generally involves scraping off some wood along with the old glue.) Weaker, diluted glue is usually used to fasten the top to the ribs, and the nut to the fingerboard, since common repairs involve removing these parts.

The purfling
Purfling
Purfling is a narrow binding inlaid into the edges of the top and often bottom plates of stringed instruments. Purfling serves to reinforce the plates and prevent cracking along their edges....

 running around the edge of the spruce top provides some protection against cracks originating at the edge. It also allows the top to flex more independently of the rib structure. Painted-on faux
Fake
Fake means not real.Fake may also refer to:In music:* Fake , a Swedish synthpop band active in the 1980s*Fake?, a Japanese rock band* Fake , 2010 song by Ai featuring Namie Amuro...

 purfling on the top is usually a sign of an inferior instrument. The back and ribs are typically made of maple
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

, most often with a matching striped figure
Figure (wood)
In wood, figure refers to the appearance of wood, as seen on a longitudinal surface : a "figured wood" is not plain.The figure of a particular piece of wood is, in part, due to its grain and, in part, due to the cut, or to innate properties of the wood...

, referred to as flame, fiddleback, or tiger stripe.

The neck
Neck (music)
The neck is the part of certain string instruments that projects from the main body and is the base of the fingerboard, where the fingers are placed to stop the strings at different pitches. Guitars, lutes, the violin family, and the mandolin family are examples of instruments which have necks.The...

 is usually maple with a flamed figure compatible with that of the ribs and back. It carries the fingerboard
Fingerboard
The fingerboard is a part of most stringed instruments. It is a thin, long strip of material, usually wood, that is laminated to the front of the neck of an instrument and above which the strings run...

, typically made of ebony, but often some other wood stained or painted black. Ebony
Ebony
Ebony is a dense black wood, most commonly yielded by several species in the genus Diospyros, but ebony may also refer to other heavy, black woods from unrelated species. Ebony is dense enough to sink in water. Its fine texture, and very smooth finish when polished, make it valuable as an...

 is the preferred material because of its hardness, beauty, and superior resistance to wear. Fingerboards are dressed to a particular transverse curve, and have a small lengthwise "scoop," or concavity, slightly more pronounced on the lower strings, especially when meant for gut or synthetic strings.

Some old violins (and some made to appear old) have a grafted scroll
Scroll (music)
A scroll is the decoratively carved end of the neck of certain stringed instruments, mainly members of the violin family. The scroll is typically carved in the shape of a volute according to a canonical pattern, although some violins are adorned with carved heads, human and animal. The quality of...

, evidenced by a glue joint between the pegbox and neck. Many authentic old instruments have had their necks reset to a slightly increased angle, and lengthened by about a centimeter. The neck graft allows the original scroll to be kept with a Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 violin when bringing its neck into conformance with modern standards.




The bridge
Bridge (instrument)
A bridge is a device for supporting the strings on a stringed instrument and transmitting the vibration of those strings to some other structural component of the instrument in order to transfer the sound to the surrounding air.- Explanation :...

 is a precisely cut piece of maple that forms the lower anchor point of the vibrating length of the strings and transmits the vibration of the strings to the body of the instrument. Its top curve holds the strings at the proper height from the fingerboard in an arc, allowing each to be sounded separately by the bow. The sound post
Sound post
In a string instrument, the sound post is a small dowel inside the instrument under the treble end of the bridge, spanning the space between the top and back plates and held in place by friction...

, or soul post, fits precisely inside the instrument between the back and top, below the treble foot of the bridge, which it helps support. It also transmits vibrations between the top and the back of the instrument.

The tailpiece
Tailpiece
A tailpiece is a component on many stringed musical instruments that anchors one end of the strings, usually the end opposite the end with the tuning mechanism the scroll, headstock, peghead, etc.-Function and construction:...

 anchors the strings to the lower bout of the violin by means of the tailgut, which loops around an ebony button called the tailpin (sometimes confusingly called the endpin, like the cello's spike), which fits into a tapered hole in the bottom block. Very often the E string will have a fine tuning lever worked by a small screw turned by the fingers. Fine tuners may also be applied to the other strings, especially on a student instrument, and are sometimes built into the tailpiece.

At the scroll end, the strings wind around the tuning peg
Tuning peg
A tuning peg is used to hold a string in the pegbox of a stringed instrument. It may be made of ebony, rosewood, boxwood or other material. Some tuning pegs are ornamented with shell, metal, or plastic inlays, beads or rings....

s in the pegbox. Strings usually have a colored silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 wrapping at both ends, for identification and to provide friction against the pegs. The tapered pegs allow friction to be increased or decreased by the player applying appropriate pressure along the axis of the peg while turning it.

Strings


Strings
Strings (music)
A string is the vibrating element that produces sound in string instruments, such as the guitar, harp, piano, and members of the violin family. Strings are lengths of a flexible material kept under tension so that they may vibrate freely, but controllably. Strings may be "plain"...

 were first made of sheep gut (commonly known as catgut
Catgut
Catgut is a type of cord that is prepared from the natural fibre found in the walls of animal intestines. Usually sheep or goat intestines are used, but it is occasionally made from the intestines of cattle, hogs, horses, mules, or donkeys.-Etymology:...

), or simply gut, which was stretched, dried, and twisted. In the early years of the 20th century, strings were made of either gut, silk, aluminum, or steel. Modern strings may be gut, solid steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

, stranded steel, or various synthetic materials, wound with various metals, and sometimes plated with silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

. Most E strings are unwound, either plain or gold-plated steel. Currently, violin strings are generally not made of gut, with the exception of violin strings used to play music from the Renaissance, Baroque, or early Classical periods.

Strings have a limited lifetime. Apart from obvious things, such as the winding of a string coming undone from wear, players generally change a string when it no longer plays true, losing the desired tone. String longevity depends on string quality and playing intensity.

Pitch range


The compass of the violin is from G3
Scientific pitch notation
Scientific pitch notation is one of several methods that name the notes of the standard Western chromatic scale by combining a letter-name, accidentals, and a number identifying the pitch's octave...

 (G below middle C
Middle C
C or Do is the first note of the fixed-Do solfège scale. Its enharmonic is B.-Middle C:Middle C is designated C4 in scientific pitch notation because of the note's position as the fourth C key on a standard 88-key piano keyboard...

) to C8 (the highest note of the modern piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

.) The top notes, however, are often produced by natural or artificial harmonic
Harmonic
A harmonic of a wave is a component frequency of the signal that is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency, i.e. if the fundamental frequency is f, the harmonics have frequencies 2f, 3f, 4f, . . . etc. The harmonics have the property that they are all periodic at the fundamental...

s. Thus the E two octaves above the open E-string may be considered a practical limit for orchestral violin parts.

Acoustics




The arched shape, the thickness of the wood, and its physical qualities govern the sound of a violin. Patterns of the node
Node (physics)
A node is a point along a standing wave where the wave has minimal amplitude. For instance, in a vibrating guitar string, the ends of the string are nodes. By changing the position of the end node through frets, the guitarist changes the effective length of the vibrating string and thereby the...

 made by sand or glitter sprinkled on the plates with the plate vibrated at certain frequencies, called Chladni
Ernst Chladni
Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni was a German physicist and musician. His important works include research on vibrating plates and the calculation of the speed of sound for different gases. For this some call him the "Father of Acoustics"...

 patterns, are occasionally used by luthier
Luthier
A luthier is someone who makes or repairs lutes and other string instruments. In the United States, the term is used interchangeably with a term for the specialty of each maker, such as violinmaker, guitar maker, lute maker, etc...

s to verify their work before assembling the instrument.

Sizes



The history of small violins is not well documented. Small violins were made at least during the late Renaissance Period and quite probably into the Baroque period that were a fourth higher in pitch than standard violins. These violins could be used either by children, or by musicians who had parts that were then outside of the range of standard violins. It is important to remember that the chin rest was a relatively recent invention. Without the chin rest, shifting into upper positions or back down from higher positions often resulted in the musician loosing control of the violin. Additionally, some people have speculated that these fractional violins could have been used instead of Dancing master's violins (also called Kits or Pouchettes). These early fractional violins are easily confused with children-sized violins, but, if confirmed by an expert, are highly sought by collectors and museums. During the later part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century, makers in Saxony produced many of these fractional violins.

Children typically use smaller string instruments than adults. Violins are made in so-called fractional sizes for young students: Apart from full-size (4/4) violins, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16, 1/32 and even 1/64-sized instruments exist, although these smaller sizes are highly unusual and usually custom-made. Extremely small sizes were developed, along with the Suzuki program
Suzuki method
The Suzuki method is a method of teaching music that emerged in the mid-20th century.-Background:The Suzuki Method was conceived in the mid-20th century by Shin'ichi Suzuki, a Japanese violinist who desired to bring beauty to the lives of children in his country after the devastation of World War II...

, for violin students as young as 3. Finely made fractional sized violins, especially smaller than 1/2 size, are extremely rare or non-existent. Such small instruments are typically intended for beginners needing a rugged violin, and whose rudimentary technique does not justify the expense of a more carefully made one.

These fractional sizes have nothing to do with the actual dimensions of an instrument; in other words, a 3/4-sized instrument is not three-quarters the length of a full size instrument. The body length (not including the neck) of a full-size, or 4/4, violin is about 14 inches (35 cm), smaller in some 17th century models. A 3/4 violin is about 13 inches (33 cm), and a 1/2 size is approximately 12 inches (30 cm). With the violin's closest family member, the viola, size is specified as body length in inches or centimeters rather than fractional sizes. A full-size viola averages 16 inches (40 cm).

Occasionally, an adult with a small frame may use a so-called 7/8 size violin instead of a full-size instrument. Sometimes called a lady's violin, these instruments are slightly shorter than a full size violin, but tend to be high-quality instruments capable of producing a sound that is comparable to that of fine full size violins.

Tuning




Violins are tuned by turning the pegs
Tuning peg
A tuning peg is used to hold a string in the pegbox of a stringed instrument. It may be made of ebony, rosewood, boxwood or other material. Some tuning pegs are ornamented with shell, metal, or plastic inlays, beads or rings....

 in the pegbox under the scroll, or by adjusting the fine tuner screws at the tailpiece
Tailpiece
A tailpiece is a component on many stringed musical instruments that anchors one end of the strings, usually the end opposite the end with the tuning mechanism the scroll, headstock, peghead, etc.-Function and construction:...

. All violins have pegs; fine tuners (also called fine adjusters) are optional. Most fine tuners consist of a metal screw that moves a lever attached to the string end. They permit very small pitch adjustments much more easily than the pegs. By turning one clockwise, the pitch becomes sharper and turning one counterclockwise, the pitch becomes flatter.

Fine tuners on all four of the strings are a practical necessity for playing steel-core strings, and some players use them with synthetic strings as well. Since modern E strings are steel, a fine tuner is typically fitted for that string. Fine tuners are not used with gut strings, which are more elastic
Young's modulus
Young's modulus is a measure of the stiffness of an elastic material and is a quantity used to characterize materials. It is defined as the ratio of the uniaxial stress over the uniaxial strain in the range of stress in which Hooke's Law holds. In solid mechanics, the slope of the stress-strain...

 than steel or synthetic-core strings and do not respond adequately to the very small movements of fine tuners.

To tune a violin, the A string is first tuned to a standard pitch
Pitch (music)
Pitch is an auditory perceptual property that allows the ordering of sounds on a frequency-related scale.Pitches are compared as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies,...

 (usually 440 Hz
Hertz
The hertz is the SI unit of frequency defined as the number of cycles per second of a periodic phenomenon. One of its most common uses is the description of the sine wave, particularly those used in radio and audio applications....

), using either a tuning device or another instrument. (When accompanying a fixed-pitch instrument such as a piano or accordion, the violin tunes to it.) The other strings are then tuned against each other in intervals of perfect fifth
Perfect fifth
In classical music from Western culture, a fifth is a musical interval encompassing five staff positions , and the perfect fifth is a fifth spanning seven semitones, or in meantone, four diatonic semitones and three chromatic semitones...

s by bowing them in pairs. A minutely higher tuning is sometimes employed for solo playing to give the instrument a brighter sound; conversely, Baroque music is sometimes played using lower tunings to make the violin's sound more gentle. After tuning, the instrument's bridge may be examined to ensure that it is standing straight and centered between the inner nicks of the f-holes; a crooked bridge may significantly affect the sound of an otherwise well-made violin.

The tuning G-D-A-E is used for most violin music. Other tunings are occasionally employed; the G string, for example, can be tuned up to A. The use of nonstandard tunings in classical music is known as scordatura
Scordatura
A scordatura , also called cross-tuning, is an alternative tuning used for the open strings of a string instrument, in which the notes indicated in the score would represent the finger position as if played in regular tuning, while the actual pitch is altered...

; in some folk styles, it is called cross-tuning. One famous example of scordatura in classical music is Saint-Saëns' Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre (Saint-Saëns)
Danse macabre, Op. 40, is a tone poem for orchestra, written in 1874 by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. It started out in 1872 as an art song for voice and piano with a French text by the poet Henri Cazalis, which is based in an old French superstition...

, where the solo violin's E string is tuned down to E flat to impart an eerie dissonance to the composition. Another example is in the third movement of Contrasts, by Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century and is regarded, along with Liszt, as Hungary's greatest composer...

, where the E string is tuned down to E flat and the G tuned to a G sharp, or the set of pieces called the Mystery Sonatas by Biber.

In Indian classical music and Indian light music, the violin is likely to be tuned to D-A-D-A in the South Indian style. As there is no concept of absolute pitch in Indian classical music, any convenient tuning maintaining these relative pitch intervals between the strings can be used. Another prevalent tuning with these intervals is F-B-F-B, which corresponds to Sa-Pa-Sa-Pa in the Indian carnatic
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

 classical music style. In the North Indian Hindustani
Hindustani classical music
Hindustani classical music is the Hindustani or North Indian style of Indian classical music found throughout the northern Indian subcontinent. The style is sometimes called North Indian Classical Music or Shāstriya Sangeet...

 style, the tuning is usually Pa-Sa-Pa-Sa instead of Sa-Pa-Sa-Pa. This could correspond to B-F-B-F, for instance.

While most violins have four strings, there are violins with as many as seven strings. The extra strings on such violins typically are lower in pitch than the G-string; these strings are usually tuned to C, F, and B flat. If the instrument's playing length, or string length from nut to bridge, is equal to that of an ordinary full-scale violin; i.e., a bit less than 13 inches (330.2 mm), then it may be properly termed a violin. Some such instruments are somewhat longer and should be regarded as violas. Violins with five strings or more are often used in jazz or folk music.

Bows




A violin is usually played using a bow
Bow (music)
In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones....

 consisting of a stick with a ribbon of horsehair strung between the tip and frog (or nut, or heel) at opposite ends. A typical violin bow may be 75 cm (29 inches) overall, and weigh about 60 g (2.1 oz). Viola bows may be about 5 mm (0.196850393700787 in) shorter and 10 g (0.35273962105112 oz) heavier.

At the frog end, a screw adjuster tightens or loosens the hair. Just forward of the frog, a leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

 thumb cushion and winding protect the stick and provide a strong grip for the player's hand. The winding may be wire (often silver or plated silver), silk, or whalebone (now imitated by alternating strips of tan and black plastic.) Some student bows (particularly the ones made of solid fiberglass) substitute a plastic sleeve for grip and winding.

The hair of the bow traditionally comes from the tail of a grey male horse (which has predominantly white hair), though some cheaper bows use synthetic fiber. Occasional rubbing with rosin
Rosin
.Rosin, also called colophony or Greek pitch , is a solid form of resin obtained from pines and some other plants, mostly conifers, produced by heating fresh liquid resin to vaporize the volatile liquid terpene components. It is semi-transparent and varies in color from yellow to black...

 makes the hair grip the strings intermittently, causing them to vibrate. The stick is traditionally made of brazilwood
Brazilwood
Caesalpinia echinata is a species of Brazilian timber tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. Common names include Brazilwood, Pau-Brasil, Pau de Pernambuco and Ibirapitanga . This plant has a dense, orange-red heartwood that takes a high shine, and it is the premier wood used for making bows for...

, although a stick made from a more select quality (and more expensive) brazilwood is called pernambuco
Pernambuco
Pernambuco is a state of Brazil, located in the Northeast region of the country. To the north are the states of Paraíba and Ceará, to the west is Piauí, to the south are Alagoas and Bahia, and to the east is the Atlantic Ocean. There are about of beaches, some of the most beautiful in the...

. Both types come from the same tree species. Some student bows are made of fiberglass or various inexpensive woods. Some recent bow design innovations use carbon fiber
Carbon fiber
Carbon fiber, alternatively graphite fiber, carbon graphite or CF, is a material consisting of fibers about 5–10 μm in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms. The carbon atoms are bonded together in crystals that are more or less aligned parallel to the long axis of the fiber...

 for the stick, at all levels of craftsmanship.

Playing


The standard way of holding the violin is with the left side of the jaw resting on the chinrest of the violin, and supported by the left shoulder, often assisted by a shoulder rest
Shoulder rest
The shoulder rest is an accessory that can be found on violins and violas. It may be made of wood, aluminium, carbon fiber or plastic. Usually, the shoulder rest attaches to the edge of the back of the violin with "feet" padded with rubber tubing or made of soft plastic...

 or a sponge and an elastic band for younger players who struggle with shoulder rests. This practice varies in some cultures; for instance, Indian (Carnatic
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

 and Hindustani
Hindustani classical music
Hindustani classical music is the Hindustani or North Indian style of Indian classical music found throughout the northern Indian subcontinent. The style is sometimes called North Indian Classical Music or Shāstriya Sangeet...

) violinists play seated on the floor and rest the scroll of the instrument on the side of their foot. The strings may be sounded by drawing the hair of the bow across them (arco) or by plucking them (pizzicato
Pizzicato
Pizzicato is a playing technique that involves plucking the strings of a string instrument. The exact technique varies somewhat depending on the type of stringed instrument....

). The left hand regulates the sounding length of the string by stopping it against the fingerboard with the fingertips, producing different pitches.


Left hand and pitch production


As the violin has no frets to stop the strings, the player must know exactly where to place the fingers on the strings to play with good intonation
Intonation (music)
Intonation, in music, is a musician's realization of pitch accuracy, or the pitch accuracy of a musical instrument. Intonation may be flat, sharp, or both, successively or simultaneously.-Interval, melody, and harmony:...

. Through practice and ear training, the violinist's left hand finds the notes intuitively by muscle memory
Proprioception
Proprioception , from Latin proprius, meaning "one's own" and perception, is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement...

. Beginners sometimes rely on tapes
Adhesive tape
Adhesive tape is one of many varieties of backing materials coated with an adhesive. Several types of adhesives can be used.-Types:Pressure sensitive tape...

 placed on the fingerboard for proper left hand finger placement, but usually abandon the tapes quickly as they advance. Another commonly used marking technique uses dots of white-out
Correction fluid
A correction fluid is an opaque, white fluid applied to paper to mask errors in text. Once dried, it can be written over. It is typically packaged in small bottles, and the lid has an attached brush which dips into the bottle...

 on the fingerboard, which wear off in a few weeks of regular practice. This practice, unfortunately, is used sometimes in lieu of adequate ear-training, guiding the placement of fingers by eye and not by ear. Especially in the early stages of learning to play, the so-called ringing tones are useful. There are nine such notes in first position, where a stopped note
Stopped note
-Bowed strings:On bowed string instruments, a stopped note is a played note that is fingered with the left hand, i.e. not an open string, on the string being bowed by the right hand...

 sounds a unison or octave with another (open) string, causing it to resonate sympathetically
Acoustic resonance
Acoustic resonance is the tendency of an acoustic system to absorb more energy when it is forced or driven at a frequency that matches one of its own natural frequencies of vibration than it does at other frequencies....

. Thus, "when unaccompanied, [a violinist] does not play consistently in either the tempered or the natural [just] scale, but tends on the whole to conform with the Pythagorean scale."

The fingers are conventionally numbered 1 (index) through 4 (little finger). Especially in instructional editions of violin music, numbers over the notes may indicate which finger to use, with 0 indicating an open string. The chart to the right shows the arrangement of notes reachable in first position. Not shown on this chart is the way the spacing between note positions becomes closer as the fingers move up (in pitch) from the nut. The bars at the sides of the chart represent the usual possibilities for beginners' tape placements, at 1st, high 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers.

Positions


The placement of the left hand on the fingerboard is characterized by "positions". First position, where most beginners start (although some methods start in third position), is the most commonly used position in string music. The lowest note available in this position in standard tuning is an open G; the highest note in first position is played with the fourth finger on the E-string, sounding a B, or reaching up a half step (also known as the "extended fourth finger") to the C two octaves above middle C
Middle C
C or Do is the first note of the fixed-Do solfège scale. Its enharmonic is B.-Middle C:Middle C is designated C4 in scientific pitch notation because of the note's position as the fourth C key on a standard 88-key piano keyboard...

.

Moving the hand up the neck, so the first finger takes the place of the second finger, brings the player into second position. Letting the first finger take the first-position place of the third finger brings the player to third position, and so on. The upper limit of the violin's range is largely determined by the skill of the player, who may easily play more than two octaves on a single string, and four octaves on the instrument as a whole, although when a violinist has progressed to the point of being able to use the entire range of the instrument, references to particular positions become less common. Position names are mostly used for the lower positions and in method books; for this reason, it is uncommon to hear references to anything higher than seventh position. The lowest position on a violin is half-position, where the first finger is a half-step away from the nut. This position is less frequently used. The highest position, practically speaking, is 15th position.

Moving between positions is called shifting. The player moves from position to position by typically using a guide finger. For example, when a player shifts from first to fourth position, they will use the last finger they used in first position as the guide finger. Then, the player moves their entire hand to fourth position, but with the last finger used in first position guiding the hand. The guide finger should not press on the string during the shift; it should only glide down the string. This guide finger moves to its respective spot in fourth position, but does not press down on the string. Then, the finger that plays the note after the shift should be pressed onto the string and the bow is moved to sound the note.

The same note may sound different, depending on which string is used to play it. Sometimes a composer or arranger specifies the string to use for a particular tone quality
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

. This is indicated in the music by the marking, for example, sul G, meaning to play on the G string. For example, playing very high up on the lower strings gives a distinctive quality to the sound. Otherwise, moving into different positions is usually done for ease of playing.

Open strings


Bowing or plucking an open string (that is, a string played without any finger stopping it) gives a different sound from a stopped string, since the string vibrates more freely at the nut than under a finger. Other than the low G (which can be played in no other way), open strings are generally avoided in some styles of classical playing. This is because they have a somewhat harsher sound (especially open E) and it is not possible to directly use vibrato on an open string. However, this can be partially compensated by applying vibrato on a note that is an octave higher than the open string.

In some cases playing an open string is called for by the composer (and explicitly marked in the music) for special effect, decided upon by the musician for artistic reasons (common in earlier works such as Bach), or played in a fast passage, where they usually cannot be distinguished.

Playing an open string simultaneously with a stopped note on an adjacent string produces a bagpipe
Bagpipes
Bagpipes are a class of musical instrument, aerophones, using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. Though the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe and Irish uilleann pipes have the greatest international visibility, bagpipes of many different types come from...

-like drone, often used by composers in imitation of folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

. Sometimes the two notes are identical (for instance, playing a fingered A on the D string against the open A string), giving a ringing sort of "fiddling" sound. Playing an open string simultaneously with an identical stopped note can also be called for when more volume is required, especially in orchestral playing.

Double stops and drones


Double stop
Double stop
A double stop, in music terminology, is the act of playing two notes simultaneously on a melodic percussion instrument or stringed instrument...

ping is when two separate strings are stopped by the fingers, and bowed simultaneously, producing a sixth, third, fifth, etc. harmony. Sometimes moving to a higher position is necessary for the left hand to be able to reach both notes at once. Sounding an open string alongside a fingered note is another way to get a partial chord. While sometimes also called a double stop, it is more properly called a drone, as the drone note may be sustained for a passage of different notes played on the adjacent string. Three or four notes can also be played at one time (triple and quadruple stops, respectively), and, according to the style of music, the notes might all be played simultaneously or might be played as two successive double stops, favoring the higher notes.

Vibrato



Vibrato
Vibrato
Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation and the speed with which the pitch is varied .-Vibrato and...

 is a technique of the left hand and arm in which the pitch of a note varies in a pulsating rhythm. While various parts of the hand or arm may be involved in the motion, the end result is a movement of the fingertip bringing about a slight change in vibrating string length. Some violinists oscillate backwards, or lower in pitch from the actual note when using vibrato, since it is believed that perception favors the highest pitch in a varying sound. Vibrato does little, if anything, to disguise an out-of-tune note; in other words, misapplied vibrato is a poor substitute for good intonation. Scales and other exercises meant to work on intonation are typically played without vibrato to make the work easier and more effective. Music students are often taught that unless otherwise marked in music, vibrato is assumed or even mandatory. This can be an obstacle to a classically trained violinist wishing to play in a style that uses little or no vibrato at all, such as baroque music played in period style and many traditional fiddling styles.

Vibrato can be produced by a proper combination of finger, wrist and arm motions. One method, called hand vibrato, involves rocking the hand back at the wrist to achieve oscillation, while another method, arm vibrato, modulates the pitch by rocking at the elbow. A combination of these techniques allows a player to produce a large variety of tonal effects.

The "when" and "what for" of violin vibrato
Vibrato
Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation and the speed with which the pitch is varied .-Vibrato and...

 are artistic matters of style and taste. For example if you overdo the variation of the note's tone it may become very distracting and overwhelm the piece. In acoustic terms, the interest that vibrato adds to the sound has to do with the way that the overtone mix (or tone color, or timbre) and the directional pattern of sound projection change with changes in pitch. By "pointing" the sound at different parts of the room in a rhythmic way, vibrato adds a "shimmer" or "liveliness" to the sound of a well-made violin. Vibrato is, in a large part, left to the discretion of the violinist. Different types of vibrato will bring different moods to the piece, and the varying degrees and styles of vibrato are often characteristics that stand out in well-known violinists.

Vibrato trill


Vibrato
Vibrato
Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation and the speed with which the pitch is varied .-Vibrato and...

 can also be used for a fast trill. A trill initiated from just hammering the finger up and down on the fingerboard will create a harsher quality than with a vibrato trill. For example, if trilling on the first finger, the second finger is placed very slightly off the string and vibrato is implemented. The second finger will lightly touch the string above the first finger causing the pitch to change. This has a softer quality and many think it is nicer-sounding than a hammered trill. Note - this trill technique only works well for semi-tonal trills, it is far more difficult to vibrato trill for an interval of a tone or more.

Harmonics


Lightly touching the string with a fingertip at a harmonic node
Node (physics)
A node is a point along a standing wave where the wave has minimal amplitude. For instance, in a vibrating guitar string, the ends of the string are nodes. By changing the position of the end node through frets, the guitarist changes the effective length of the vibrating string and thereby the...

 creates harmonic
Harmonic
A harmonic of a wave is a component frequency of the signal that is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency, i.e. if the fundamental frequency is f, the harmonics have frequencies 2f, 3f, 4f, . . . etc. The harmonics have the property that they are all periodic at the fundamental...

s. Instead of the normal tone, a higher pitched note sounds. Each node is at an integer division of the string, for example half-way or one-third along the length of the string. A responsive instrument will sound numerous possible harmonic nodes along the length of the string. Harmonics are marked in music either with a little circle above the note that determines the pitch of the harmonic, or by diamond-shaped note heads. There are two types of harmonics: natural harmonics and artificial harmonics (also known as false harmonics).

Natural harmonics are played on an open string. The pitch of the open string is called the fundamental frequency. Harmonics are also called overtones. They occur at whole-number multiples of the fundamental, which is called the first harmonic. The second harmonic is the first overtone
Overtone
An overtone is any frequency higher than the fundamental frequency of a sound. The fundamental and the overtones together are called partials. Harmonics are partials whose frequencies are whole number multiples of the fundamental These overlapping terms are variously used when discussing the...

, the third harmonic is the second overtone, and so on. The second harmonic is in the middle of the string and sounds an octave higher than the string's pitch. The third harmonic breaks the string into thirds and sounds an octave and a fifth above the fundamental, and the fourth harmonic breaks the string into quarters sounding two octaves above the first. The sound of the second harmonic is the clearest of them all, because it is a common node
Node (physics)
A node is a point along a standing wave where the wave has minimal amplitude. For instance, in a vibrating guitar string, the ends of the string are nodes. By changing the position of the end node through frets, the guitarist changes the effective length of the vibrating string and thereby the...

 with all the succeeding even-numbered harmonics (4th, 6th, etc.). The third and succeeding odd-numbered harmonics are harder to play because they break the string into an odd number of vibrating parts and do not share as many nodes with other harmonics.

Artificial harmonics are more difficult to produce than natural harmonics, as they involve both stopping the string and playing a harmonic on the stopped note. Using the octave frame (the normal distance between the first and fourth fingers in any given position) with the fourth finger just touching the string a fourth
Interval (music)
In music theory, an interval is a combination of two notes, or the ratio between their frequencies. Two-note combinations are also called dyads...

 higher than the stopped note produces the fourth harmonic, two octaves above the stopped note. Finger placement and pressure, as well as bow speed, pressure, and sounding point are all essential in getting the desired harmonic to sound. And to add to the challenge, in passages with different notes played as false harmonics, the distance between stopping finger and harmonic finger must constantly change, since the spacing between notes changes along the length of the string.

The harmonic finger can also touch at a major third
Interval (music)
In music theory, an interval is a combination of two notes, or the ratio between their frequencies. Two-note combinations are also called dyads...

 above the pressed note (the fifth harmonic), or a fifth
Interval (music)
In music theory, an interval is a combination of two notes, or the ratio between their frequencies. Two-note combinations are also called dyads...

 higher (a third harmonic). These harmonics are less commonly used; in the case of the major third, both the stopped note and touched note must be played slightly sharp otherwise the harmonic does not speak as readily. In the case of the fifth, the stretch is greater than is comfortable for many violinists. In the general repertoire fractions smaller than a sixth are not used. However, divisions up to an eighth are sometimes used and, given a good instrument and a skilled player, divisions as small as a twelfth are possible.

There are a few books dedicated solely to the study of violin harmonics. Two comprehensive works are Henryk Heller's seven-volume Theory of Harmonics, published by Simrock in 1928, and Michelangelo Abbado's five-volume Tecnica dei suoni armonici published by Ricordi in 1934.

Elaborate passages in artificial harmonics can be found in virtuoso violin literature, especially of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Two notable examples of this are an entire section of Vittorio Monti
Vittorio Monti
Vittorio Monti was an Italian composer, violinist, and conductor.Monti was born in Naples, where he studied violin and composition at the Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella...

's Csárdás
Csárdás (Monti)
Csárdás is perhaps the most famous composition of Vittorio Monti. A rhapsodical concert piece written in 1904, it is a well-known folk piece based on a Hungarian csárdás. It was originally composed for violin, mandolin or piano...

 and a passage towards the middle of the third movement of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's Violin Concerto
Violin concerto
A violin concerto is a concerto for solo violin and instrumental ensemble, customarily orchestra. Such works have been written since the Baroque period, when the solo concerto form was first developed, up through the present day...

.

Right hand and tone colour


The right arm, hand, and bow are responsible for tone quality, rhythm
Rhythm
Rhythm may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions." This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or...

, dynamics
Dynamics (music)
In music, dynamics normally refers to the volume of a sound or note, but can also refer to every aspect of the execution of a given piece, either stylistic or functional . The term is also applied to the written or printed musical notation used to indicate dynamics...

, articulation
Articulation (music)
In music, articulation refers to the musical direction performance technique which affects the transition or continuity on a single note or between multiple notes or sounds.- Types of articulations :...

, and most (but not all) changes in timbre
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

.

Bowing techniques


The most essential part of bowing technique is the bow grip. It is usually with the thumb bent in the small area between the frog and the winding of the bow. The other fingers are spread somewhat evenly across the top part of the bow.

The violin produces louder notes with greater bow speed or more weight on the string. The two methods are not equivalent, because they produce different timbres; pressing down on the string tends to produce a harsher, more intense sound. One can also achieve a louder sound by placing the bow closer to the bridge.

The sounding point where the bow intersects the string also influences timbre. Playing close to the bridge (sul ponticello) gives a more intense sound than usual, emphasizing the higher harmonics; and playing with the bow over the end of the fingerboard (sul tasto) makes for a delicate, ethereal sound, emphasizing the fundamental frequency
Fundamental frequency
The fundamental frequency, often referred to simply as the fundamental and abbreviated f0, is defined as the lowest frequency of a periodic waveform. In terms of a superposition of sinusoids The fundamental frequency, often referred to simply as the fundamental and abbreviated f0, is defined as the...

. Dr. Suzuki referred to the sounding point as the Kreisler
Fritz Kreisler
Friedrich "Fritz" Kreisler was an Austrian-born violinist and composer. One of the most famous violin masters of his or any other day, he was known for his sweet tone and expressive phrasing. Like many great violinists of his generation, he produced a characteristic sound which was immediately...

 highway; one may think of different sounding points as lanes in the highway.

Various methods of attack with the bow produce different articulations. There are many bowing techniques that allow for every range of playing style and many teachers, players, and orchestras spend a lot of time developing techniques and creating a unified technique within the group. These techniques include legato-style bowing, collé, ricochet, sautillé, martelé
Martelé (bowstroke)
Martelé , literally "hammered," is a bowstroke, used when playing bowed string instruments. The effect is usually produced by holding the bow against the string with pressure, then stroked forcefully to produce an intense note...

, spiccato, and staccato.

Pizzicato


A note marked pizz. (abbreviation for pizzicato
Pizzicato
Pizzicato is a playing technique that involves plucking the strings of a string instrument. The exact technique varies somewhat depending on the type of stringed instrument....

) in the written music is to be played by plucking the string with a finger of the right hand rather than by bowing. (The index finger is most commonly used here.) Sometimes in virtuoso solo music where the bow hand is occupied (or for show-off effect), left-hand pizzicato will be indicated by a + (plus sign) below or above the note. In left-hand pizzicato, two fingers are put on the string; one (usually the index or middle finger) is put on the correct note, and the other (usually the ring finger or little finger) is put above the note. The higher finger then plucks the string while the lower one stays on, thus producing the correct pitch. By increasing the force of the pluck, one can increase the volume of the note that the string is producing.

Col legno


A marking of col legno
Col legno
In music for bowed string instruments, col legno, or more precisely col legno battuto , is an instruction to strike the string with the stick of the bow, rather than by drawing the hair of the bow across the strings. This results in a quiet but eerie percussive sound.Col legno is used in the final...

 (Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 for "with the wood") in the written music calls for striking the string(s) with the stick of the bow, rather than by drawing the hair of the bow across the strings. This bowing technique is somewhat rarely used, and results in a muted percussive sound. The eerie quality of a violin section playing col legno is exploited in some symphonic pieces, notably the "Witches' Dance" of the last movement of Berlioz's
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

 Symphonie Fantastique
Symphonie Fantastique
Symphonie Fantastique: Épisode de la vie d'un Artiste...en cinq parties , Op. 14, is a program symphony written by the French composer Hector Berlioz in 1830. It is one of the most important and representative pieces of the early Romantic period, and is still very popular with concert audiences...

. Saint-Saens' symphonic poem "Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre
Dance of Death, also variously called Danse Macabre , Danza de la Muerte , Dansa de la Mort , Danza Macabra , Dança da Morte , Totentanz , Dodendans , is an artistic genre of late-medieval allegory on the universality of death: no matter one's...

" includes the string section using the col legno technique to imitate the sound of dancing skeletons. "Mars" from Gustav Holst's "The Planets
The Planets
The Planets, Op. 32, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst...

" uses col legno to play a repeated rhythm in 5/4 time signature. Dmitri Shostakovich uses it in his Fourteenth Symphony in the movement 'At the Sante Jail'. Some violinists, however, object to this style of playing as it can damage the finish and impair the value of a fine bow.

Martelé


Literally hammered, a strongly accented effect produced by releasing each bowstroke forcefully and suddenly. Martelé can be played in any part of the bow. It is sometimes indicated in written music by an arrowhead.

Tremolo


Very rapid repetition (typically of a single note, but occasionally of multiple notes), usually played at the tip of the bow. Tremolo is marked with three short, slanted lines across the stem of the note.

Mute or sordino


Attaching a small metal, rubber, leather, or wooden device called a mute
Mute (music)
A mute is a device fitted to a musical instrument to alter the sound produced: by affecting the timbre, reducing the volume, or most commonly both.- Musical directions for muting :...

, or sordino
Sordino
Sordino, with alternative forms sordono and sordun, etc., is an Italian term somewhat promiscuously applied by various writers:#to contrivances for damping or muting wind, string and percussion instruments ;...

, to the bridge of the violin gives a softer, more mellow tone, with fewer audible overtone
Overtone
An overtone is any frequency higher than the fundamental frequency of a sound. The fundamental and the overtones together are called partials. Harmonics are partials whose frequencies are whole number multiples of the fundamental These overlapping terms are variously used when discussing the...

s; the sound of an entire orchestral string section playing with mutes has a hushed quality. The conventional Italian markings for mute usage are con sord., or con sordina, meaning 'with mute'; and senza sord., meaning 'without mute'; or via sord., meaning 'mute off'. Larger metal, rubber, or wooden mutes are widely available, known as practice mutes or hotel mutes. Such mutes are generally not used in performance, but are used to deaden the sound of the violin in practice areas such as hotel rooms. (For practicing purposes there is also the mute violin
Mute violin
The mute violin is a violin without or with a very shallow sound box. The instrument has a quiet, lean sound. The mute violin can be used as an exercise instrument in situations where the sound of a violin is experienced as annoying by neighbouring people. Mute violins are known to exist since the...

, a violin without a sound box.) Some composers have used practice mutes for special effect, for example at the end of Luciano Berio's Sequenza VIII for solo violin.

Classical music


Since the Baroque
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

 era, the violin has been one of the most important of all instruments in classical music, for several reasons. The tone of the violin stands out above other instruments, making it appropriate for playing a melody line. In the hands of a good player, the violin is extremely agile, and can execute rapid and difficult sequences of notes.

Violins make up a large part of an orchestra
Orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

, and are usually divided into two sections, known as the first and second violins. Composers often assign the melody to the first violins, while second violins play harmony, accompaniment patterns or the melody an octave lower than the first violins. A string quartet
String quartet
A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players – usually two violin players, a violist and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group...

 similarly has parts for first and second violins, as well as a viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

 part, and a bass instrument, such as the cello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

 or, rarely, the double bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

.

Jazz


The earliest references to jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 performance using the violin
Jazz violin
Jazz violin is the use of the violin or electric violin to improvise and perform utilizing scales and chord progressions unique to the compositions of Jazz musicians . The earliest references to jazz performance using the violin as a solo instrument was during the first decades of the 20th century...

 as a solo instrument are documented during the first decades of the 20th century. Joe Venuti, one of the first jazz violinists, is known for his work with guitarist Eddie Lang
Eddie Lang
Eddie Lang was an American jazz guitarist, regarded as the Father of Jazz Guitar. He played a Gibson L-4 and L-5 guitar, providing great influence for many guitarists, including Django Reinhardt.-Biography:...

 during the 1920s. Since that time there have been many improvising violinists including Stéphane Grappelli
Stéphane Grappelli
Stéphane Grappelli was a French jazz violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France with guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1934. It was one of the first all-string jazz bands....

, Stuff Smith
Stuff Smith
Hezekiah Leroy Gordon Smith , better known as Stuff Smith, was a jazz violinist. He is known well for the song "If You're a Viper".-Biography:...

, Regina Carter
Regina Carter
Regina Carter is an American jazz violinist. She is the cousin of famous jazz saxophonist James Carter.-Early life:...

, Johnny Frigo
Johnny Frigo
Johnny Frigo was an American jazz violinist and bassist.His son, Derek John Frigo, was the lead guitarist for the rock band Enuff Z'nuff. Derek Frigo died of a drug overdose on May 28, 2004....

, John Blake
John Blake, Jr.
John Blake, Jr. is an American jazz violinist. He has performed most prominently as a sideman in groups led by Grover Washington, Jr. in the late 1970s) and McCoy Tyner , as well as led his own groups.-External links:*[ allmusic's inventory of his record appearances]**...

 and Jean-Luc Ponty
Jean-Luc Ponty
Jean-Luc Ponty is a French virtuoso violinist and jazz composer.- Early years:Ponty was born into a family of classical musicians on 29 September 1942 in Avranches, France. His father taught violin, his mother taught piano...

. While not primarily jazz violinists, Darol Anger
Darol Anger
-Career:Darol Anger entered popular music at the age of 21 as a founding member of The David Grisman Quintet. Anger played fiddle to David Grisman's mandolin in The David Grisman Quintet's 1977 debut. He co-founded the Turtle Island String Quartet with David Balakrishnan in 1985 and performed,...

 and Mark O'Connor
Mark O'Connor
Mark O'Connor is an American bluegrass, jazz, country and classical violinist fiddler, composer and music teacher. O'Connor's music is wide-ranging, critically acclaimed, and he has received numerous awards for both his playing and his composition...

 have spent significant parts of their careers playing jazz.

Violins also appear in ensembles supplying orchestral backgrounds to many jazz recordings.

Popular music


Up to the 1970s, most types of popular music used bowed strings. They were extensively used in popular music throughout the 1920s and early 1930s. There was a drastic decline in their use with the rise of swing music in 1935 as the string sound was deemed inappropriate to the improvised style of swing music. The late 1960s saw a revival of the use of strings with the rise of soul music
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

. Popular Motown recordings of the late 1960s and 1970s relied heavily on strings as part of their trademark texture. The rise of disco
Disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

 music in the 1970s continued this trend with the heavy use of string instruments in popular disco orchestras (e.g. Love Unlimited Orchestra, Biddu
Biddu
Biddu or Biddu Appaiah is an Indian-British music producer, composer, song-writer and singer who produced and composed many hit records worldwide during a career spanning five decades...

 Orchestra, Monster Orchestra, Salsoul Orchestra
Salsoul Orchestra
The Salsoul Orchestra was the backing band for acts on Salsoul Records. Under their own name the group recorded several hit singles and albums between 1975 and 1981.-Group History:...

, MFSB
MFSB
MFSB was a pool of more than thirty studio musicians based at Philadelphia’s famed Sigma Sound Studios. They worked closely with the production team of Gamble and Huff and producer/arranger Thom Bell, and backed up such groups as Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, the O’Jays, the Stylistics, the...

, etc.).

The rise of electronically created music
Electronic music
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology. Examples of electromechanical sound...

 in the 1980s saw a decline in their use, as synthesized string sections took their place. However, while the violin has very little usage in rock
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 music, it has some history in progressive rock
Progressive rock
Progressive rock is a subgenre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility." John Covach, in Contemporary Music Review, says that many thought it would not just "succeed the pop of...

 (e.g., The Electric Light Orchestra, King Crimson
King Crimson
King Crimson are a rock band founded in London, England in 1969. Often categorised as a foundational progressive rock group, the band have incorporated diverse influences and instrumentation during their history...

, Kansas
Kansas (band)
Kansas is an American rock band that became popular in the 1970s initially on Album-Oriented Rock charts, and later with hit singles such as "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind"...

). The 1973 album Contaminazione by Italy's RDM
Il Rovescio della Medaglia
Il Rovescio della Medaglia, or RDM, were an Italian hard rock and symphonic rock band. They are most famous for their symphonic rock masterpiece Contaminazione, released in 1973. It contained four pieces from Bach's Well-tempered Clavier seamlessly integrated with RDM's own music, which often was...

 plays violins off against synthesizers at its finale ("La grande fuga").

The instrument has a stronger place in modern fusion bands, notably The Corrs
The Corrs
The Corrs are an Irish band which combine pop rock with traditional Celtic folk music. The brother and sisters are from Dundalk, Ireland. The group consists of the Corr siblings: Andrea ; Sharon ; Caroline ; and Jim .The Corrs came to international prominence with their performance at the...

. The fiddle has also always been a part of British folk-rock music, as exemplified by the likes of Fairport Convention
Fairport Convention
Fairport Convention are an English folk rock and later electric folk band, formed in 1967 who are still recording and touring today. They are widely regarded as the most important single group in the English folk rock movement...

 and Steeleye Span
Steeleye Span
Steeleye Span are an English folk-rock band, formed in 1969 and remaining active today. Along with Fairport Convention they are amongst the best known acts of the British folk revival, and were among the most commercially successful, thanks to their hit singles "Gaudete" and "All Around My Hat"....

.

The popularity of crossover music beginning in the last years of the 20th century has brought the violin back into the popular music arena, with both electric and acoustic violins being used by popular bands. Vanessa Mae uses classical music with her electric violin. Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band, sometimes shortened to DMB, is a U.S. rock band formed in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1991. The founding members were singer-songwriter and guitarist Dave Matthews, bassist Stefan Lessard, drummer/backing vocalist Carter Beauford and saxophonist LeRoi Moore. Boyd Tinsley was...

 features violinist Boyd Tinsley
Boyd Tinsley
Boyd Calvin Tinsley is an American violinist and mandolinist who performs as a member of the Dave Matthews Band. Within the band, Tinsley has collaborated in writing songs, harmonizing, and singing backing vocals.-Early life:Tinsley was raised in a musical family...

. The Flock
The Flock (band)
The Flock was a Chicago-based jazz-rock band that released two records on Columbia records in 1969 and 1970 . The Flock did not achieve the commercial success of other Columbia jazz-rock groups of the era such as Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears, but were most notable for their inclusion of a...

 featured violinist Jerry Goodman
Jerry Goodman
Jerry Goodman is an American violinist best known for playing electric violin in the bands The Flock and the jazz fusion Mahavishnu Orchestra. Goodman actually began his musical career as The Flock's roadie before joining the band on violin. Trained in the conservatory, both of his parents were...

 who later joined the jazz-rock fusion band, The Mahavishnu Orchestra
The Mahavishnu Orchestra
The Mahavishnu Orchestra was a jazz fusion group, led by John McLaughlin, that debuted in 1971, dissolved in 1976 and reunited from 1984 to 1987.-First Mahavishnu Orchestra:...

. Yellowcard
Yellowcard
Yellowcard is an American pop punk/alternative rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1997, and based in Los Angeles, California since 2000. Their music features the use of a violin, unusual for the genre...

 featured the instrument with a role equal to the guitar in many of their songs. Blue October
Blue October
Blue October is a rock band from Houston, Texas. The band was formed in 1995 and currently consists of Justin Furstenfeld , Jeremy Furstenfeld , Ryan Delahoussaye , Matt Noveskey , and Julian Mandrake .-History:Blue October was formed by lead...

 are well-known for their violin-based Music with Master violinist Ryan Delahoussaye. James
James (band)
James are a British rock band from Manchester, England. They formed in 1982 and were active throughout the 1980s, but most successful during the 1990s. Their hit singles include "Come Home", "Sit Down", and "She's a Star" as well as their American College Radio hit "Laid"...

' Saul Davies, who is also a guitar
Guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

ist, was enlisted by the band as a violinist. For their first three albums and related singles, the British group No-Man
No-Man
No-Man are a British art-pop duo formed in 1987 as No Man Is An Island by singer Tim Bowness and multi-instrumentalist Steven Wilson . The band has so far produced six studio albums and a number of singles/outtakes collections...

 made extensive use of electric and acoustic solo violin as played by band member Ben Coleman (who played violin exclusively).

Pop-Punk band Yellowcard
Yellowcard
Yellowcard is an American pop punk/alternative rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1997, and based in Los Angeles, California since 2000. Their music features the use of a violin, unusual for the genre...

 has made a mainstay of violin in its music. Violinist Sean Mackin has been a member of the band since 1997. Los Salvadores
Los Salvadores
Los Salvadores is a four-piece folk group from south east England. They currently perform across the United Kingdom and appear at various festivals including Lounge On The Farm, Boomtown Fair, Zoo Thousand, Endorse It in Dorset, Sellindge Music Festival and the Rochester Sweeps...

 also combine punk and ska influences with a violin.

Doom metal
Doom metal
Doom metal is an extreme form of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much "thicker" or "heavier" sound than other metal genres...

 band My Dying Bride
My Dying Bride
My Dying Bride are an English doom metal band formed in 1990. To date, My Dying Bride have released eleven full-length studio albums, three EPs, one demo, one box set, four compilation albums, one live album, and one live CD/DVD release. The band released their tenth studio album, For Lies I Sire,...

 have used violin as a part of their line-up throughout many of their albums.

The violin appears prominently in the music of Spanish folk metal
Folk metal
Folk metal is a sub-genre of heavy metal music that developed in Europe during the 1990s. As the name suggests, the genre is a fusion of heavy metal with traditional folk music...

 group Mägo de Oz
Mägo de Oz
Mägo de Oz is a Spanish folk/heavy metal band from Begoña, Madrid formed in mid-1988 by drummer Txus di Fellatio. In 1992, the band were finalists in the Villa de Madrid contest. Then, they went onto achieve great success in Spain, and in 1995, were declared Revolution Rock Band...

, for example, in their 1998 hit "Molinos de viento". The violinist (Carlos Prieto aka "Mohamed") has been one of the group's most popular members with fans since 1992.

The alternative rock
Alternative rock
Alternative rock is a genre of rock music and a term used to describe a diverse musical movement that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular by the 1990s...

 band Hurt
Hurt (band)
Hurt is a rock band formed in 2000 in Virginia, now located in Los Angeles, California, United States. Currently in partnership with their manager's independent record label, Amusement, the band has put out three major label albums. The group consists of lead singer J...

's vocalist plays violin for the band, making them one of few rock bands to feature violin without hiring a session worker.

Independent artists such as Owen Pallett
Owen Pallett
Michael James Owen Pallett is a Canadian composer, violinist, keyboardist, and vocalist from Toronto, Ontario. He won the 2006 Polaris Music Prize for the album He Poos Clouds....

, The Shondes
The Shondes
The Shondes are an indie punk band from Brooklyn, NY, best known for their brand of pop-rock, featuring Jewish influences and radical political messages, and for organizing and performing at benefit events for organizations such as Birthright Unplugged, Jews Against the Occupation, and The Sylvia...

 and Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird is an American musician, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.- Early life and the Bowl of Fire :...

 have also spurred increased interest in the instrument. Indie bands have often embraced new and unusual arrangements, allowing them more freedom to feature the violin than their mainstream
Mainstream
Mainstream is, generally, the common current thought of the majority. However, the mainstream is far from cohesive; rather the concept is often considered a cultural construct....

 brethren. It has been used in the post-rock genre by bands such as A Genuine Freakshow
A Genuine Freakshow
A Genuine Freakshow are a baroque pop band originating from Reading in the United Kingdom. They were formed in 2005, settling on their current 7-piece permanent line-up in 2008...

, Sigur Rós
Sigur Rós
Sigur Rós is an Icelandic post-rock band with classicaland minimalist elements. The band is known for its ethereal sound, and frontman Jónsi Birgisson's falsetto vocals and use of bowed guitar. In January 2010, the band announced that they will be on hiatus. Since then, it has since been announced...

, Zox
ZOX
ZOX is a band from Providence, Rhode Island that is self-described as "violin-laced Reggae rock." The band consists of four members: namesake John Zox , Eli Miller , Spencer Swain , and Dan Edinberg ....

, Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene is a Canadian indie rock band, a musical collective including as few as six and as many as nineteen members, formed in 1999 by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. Most of its members currently play in various other groups and solo projects, mainly based around the city of Toronto...

, and A Silver Mt. Zion
A Silver Mt. Zion
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra are a Canadian band which formed in 1999, originating from Montreal, Quebec...

. The electric violin
Electric violin
An electric violin is a violin equipped with an electronic output of its sound. The term most properly refers to an instrument purposely made to be electrified with built-in pickups, usually with a solid body...

 has even been used by bands like The Crüxshadows
The Crüxshadows
The Crüxshadows is an Dark Electro group from Florida. Their sound is made up of a combination of male vocals, electric violin, guitar, and synth...

 within the context of keyboard based music.

Indian
Indian pop
Indian pop music , often known as Indian-Pop, Hindi Pop, Indipop or Indi-pop, refers to pop music in India. Pop music really started in the South Asian region with the famous playback singer Ahmed Rushdi's song ‘Ko-Ko-Korina’ in 1966...

, Pakistani, Turkish
Turkish pop music
Turkish pop music had its humble beginnings in the late 1950s with Turkish cover versions of a wide range of imported popular styles, including rock and roll, tango, and jazz...

 and Arabic pop music is filled with the sound of violins, both soloists
Solo (music)
In music, a solo is a piece or a section of a piece played or sung by a single performer...

 and ensemble
Musical ensemble
A musical ensemble is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles...

s.

Indian classical music


The violin is a very important part of South Indian classical music (Carnatic music
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

). It is believed to have been introduced to the South Indian tradition by Baluswamy Dikshitar, the brother of Muthuswamy Dikshitar. Though primarily used as an accompaniment instrument, the violin has become popular as a solo instrument in the orchestration. Popular film composers such as Ilaiyaraaja
Ilaiyaraaja
Ilaiyaraaja is an Indian film composer, singer, and lyricist mainly in the Tamil film Industry. He is regarded as one of the finest music composers in India. Ilaiyaraaja is also an instrumentalist, conductor, and a songwriter...

 have used the violin extensively in film music scoring. This type of music was often played on a harmonic scale.

Indian classical music uses a very different grip from the traditional European classical genre. The violin is held perpendicular to the chest with the scroll pointing down. Also, musicians play the instrument sitting squat on the floor and hence sometimes, the violin actually touches the floor. In its Indian classical form, the violin is also tuned differently.

Folk music and fiddling



Like many other instruments used in classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

, the violin descends from remote ancestors that were used for folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

. Following a stage of intensive development in the late Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

, largely in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, the violin had improved (in volume, tone, and agility), to the point that it not only became a very important instrument in art music, but proved highly appealing to folk musicians as well, ultimately spreading very widely, sometimes displacing earlier bowed instruments. Ethnomusicologists
Ethnomusicology
Ethnomusicology is defined as "the study of social and cultural aspects of music and dance in local and global contexts."Coined by the musician Jaap Kunst from the Greek words ἔθνος ethnos and μουσική mousike , it is often considered the anthropology or ethnography of music...

 have observed its widespread use in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

In many traditions of folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

, the tunes are not written but are memorized by successive generations of musicians and passed on, in what is known as the oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

.

Arabic music


As well as the Arabic rababah
Rebab
The rebab , also rebap, rabab, rebeb, rababah, or al-rababa) is a type of string instrument so named no later than the 8th century and spread via Islamic trading routes over much of North Africa, the Middle East, parts of Europe, and the Far East...

, the violin has been used in Arabic music.

Fiddle


When played as a folk instrument, the violin is ordinarily referred to in English as a fiddle (though the term fiddle may be used informally no matter what the genre of music). There is technically no difference between a fiddle and a violin. However, some folk fiddlers alter their instruments for various reasons. One example may be seen in American (e.g., bluegrass
Bluegrass music
Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and a sub-genre of country music. It has mixed roots in Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish traditional music...

 and old-time
Old-time music
Old-time music is a genre of North American folk music, with roots in the folk music of many countries, including England, Scotland, Ireland and countries in Africa. It developed along with various North American folk dances, such as square dance, buck dance, and clogging. The genre also...

) fiddling: in these styles, the bridge is sometimes shaved down so that it is less curved. This makes it easier to play double stop
Double stop
A double stop, in music terminology, is the act of playing two notes simultaneously on a melodic percussion instrument or stringed instrument...

s and triple stops, allowing one to play chord
Chord (music)
A chord in music is any harmonic set of two–three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may for many practical and theoretical purposes be understood as chords...

s with less effort. In addition, many fiddle players prefer to use a tailpiece
Tailpiece
A tailpiece is a component on many stringed musical instruments that anchors one end of the strings, usually the end opposite the end with the tuning mechanism the scroll, headstock, peghead, etc.-Function and construction:...

 with fine tuners on all four strings instead of only using one on the E string as many classical players do.

Electric violins




Electric violins have a magnetic
Magnetism
Magnetism is a property of materials that respond at an atomic or subatomic level to an applied magnetic field. Ferromagnetism is the strongest and most familiar type of magnetism. It is responsible for the behavior of permanent magnets, which produce their own persistent magnetic fields, as well...

 or piezoelectric
Piezoelectricity
Piezoelectricity is the charge which accumulates in certain solid materials in response to applied mechanical stress. The word piezoelectricity means electricity resulting from pressure...

 pickup
Pickup (music technology)
A pickup device is a transducer that captures mechanical vibrations, usually from suitably equipped stringed instruments such as the electric guitar, electric bass guitar, Chapman Stick, or electric violin, and converts them to an electrical signal that is amplified, recorded, or broadcast.-...

 that converts string vibration to an electric signal. A cable or transmitter sends the signal to an amplifier. Electric violins are usually constructed as such, but a pickup can be added to a conventional acoustic violin.

An electric violin with a resonating body that produces listening-level sound independently of the electric elements can be called an electro-acoustic violin. To be effective as an acoustic violin, electro-acoustic violins retain much of the resonating body of the violin, often looking very much like, sometimes even identical to, an acoustic violin or fiddle. They may be finished in bright colours and made from alternative materials to wood. The first specially built electric violin
Electric violin
An electric violin is a violin equipped with an electronic output of its sound. The term most properly refers to an instrument purposely made to be electrified with built-in pickups, usually with a solid body...

s date back to 1928 and were made by Victor Pfeil, Oskar Vierling, George Eisenberg, Benjamin Miessner, George Beauchamp
George Beauchamp
George Delmetia Beauchamp was an inventor of musical instruments and a co-founder of National Stringed Instrument Corporation and Rickenbacker guitars....

, Hugo Benioff
Hugo Benioff
Victor Hugo Benioff was an American seismologist and a professor at the California Institute of Technology. He is best remembered for his work in charting the location of deep earthquakes in the Pacific Ocean....

 and Fredray Kislingbury. These violins can be played through many effects much like a guitar, such as distortion and delay.

Since electric violins do not rely on string tension and resonance to amplify their sound they can have more strings. For example five stringed electric violins are available from several manufacturers, and a seven string electric violin (with three lower strings encompassing the cello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

's range) is available. The majority of the first electric violinists were musicians playing jazz and popular music.

Violin authentication



Violin authentication is the process of determining the maker and manufacture date of a violin. This process is similar to that used to determine the provenance
Provenance
Provenance, from the French provenir, "to come from", refers to the chronology of the ownership or location of an historical object. The term was originally mostly used for works of art, but is now used in similar senses in a wide range of fields, including science and computing...

 of art works. As significant value may be attached to violins made either by specific makers or at specific times and locations, forgery
Art forgery
Art forgery is the creation of works of art which are falsely attributed to other, usually more famous, artists. Art forgery can be extremely lucrative, but modern dating and analysis techniques have made the identification of forged artwork much simpler....

 and other methods of fraud
Fraud
In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation...

ulent misrepresentation can be used to inflate the value of an instrument.

See also



  • Baroque violin
    Baroque violin
    A baroque violin is, in common usage, any violin whose neck, fingerboard, bridge, and tailpiece are of the type used during the baroque period. Such an instrument may be an original built during the baroque and never changed to modern form; or a modern replica built as a baroque violin; or an...

  • Basic physics of the violin
    Basic physics of the violin
    The distinctive sound of a violin is the result of interactions between its many parts. Drawing a bow across the strings causes them to vibrate. This vibration is transmitted through the bridge and sound post to the body of the violin , which allows the sound to effectively radiate into the air...

  • Bass violin
    Bass violin
    Bass violin is the generic modern term used to denote various 16th- and 17th-century forms of bass instruments of the violin family. They were the direct ancestor of the modern cello. Bass violins were usually somewhat larger than the modern cello, but tuned the same or sometimes just one step...

  • Cello Rock
    Cello rock
    Cello rock and cello metal are subgenres of rock music and heavy metal characterized by the use of cellos as primary instruments, alongside or in place of more traditional rock instruments such as electric guitars, electric bass guitar, and drum set.Cellos, often in groups of three or more, are...

  • Double stop
    Double stop
    A double stop, in music terminology, is the act of playing two notes simultaneously on a melodic percussion instrument or stringed instrument...

  • Electric violin
    Electric violin
    An electric violin is a violin equipped with an electronic output of its sound. The term most properly refers to an instrument purposely made to be electrified with built-in pickups, usually with a solid body...

  • Hardingfele
    Hardingfele
    A Hardanger fiddle is a traditional stringed instrument used originally to play the music of Norway. In modern designs, the instruments are very similar to the violin, though with eight or nine strings and thinner wood...

  • List of solo violin pieces
  • List of violinists

  • Luthier
    Luthier
    A luthier is someone who makes or repairs lutes and other string instruments. In the United States, the term is used interchangeably with a term for the specialty of each maker, such as violinmaker, guitar maker, lute maker, etc...

  • Paganini
  • Stradivarius
    Stradivarius
    The name Stradivarius is associated with violins built by members of the Stradivari family, particularly Antonio Stradivari. According to their reputation, the quality of their sound has defied attempts to explain or reproduce, though this belief is controversial...

  • String instruments
  • Stroh violin
    Stroh violin
    Stroh violin, Strohviol, or Strohviol, is a trade name for a horn-violin, or violinophone—a violin that amplifies its sound through a metal resonator and metal horns rather than a wooden sound box as on a standard violin. The instrument is named after its designer, John Matthias Augustus Stroh, an...

  • Violin concerto
    Violin concerto
    A violin concerto is a concerto for solo violin and instrumental ensemble, customarily orchestra. Such works have been written since the Baroque period, when the solo concerto form was first developed, up through the present day...

  • Violin making and maintenance
    Violin making and maintenance
    Making an instrument of the violin family may be done in different ways, many of which have changed very little in nearly 500 years since the first violins were made. Some violins, called "bench-made" instruments, are made by a single individual, either a master maker, or an amateur working alone...

  • Violin sonata
    Violin sonata
    A violin sonata is a musical composition for violin, which is nearly always accompanied by a piano or other keyboard instrument, or by figured bass in the Baroque period.-A:*Ella Adayevskaya**Sonata Greca for Violin or Clarinet and Piano...


Further reading