Learning to play the violin can be a difficult, sometimes tedious task for beginners, especially among younger students. The process of learning to pluck the notes and use a bow can try many students’ patience, and they may give up on the instrument out of frustration. However, once you master your first great violin song, you’ll understand why so many musicians play the beloved instrument. Below is a short list of famous violin songs that are easily-recognized and may inspire even the weariest beginner.
1. “Ode to Joy” – Ludwig van Beethoven
“Ode to Joy” is one of the most popular, easily-recognizable pieces of classical music. Originally written as a poem by German poet Friedrich Schiller, “Ode to Joy” is perhaps best known in its musical form. The composition with which it is most often associated is the last act of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which was completed in 1824. The melody of the composition also serves as the basis for the songs “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” and “A Song of Joy,” as well as countless modern songs. The composition is also commonly arranged in a vocal format for soloists or multi-voice choirs.
“Ode to Joy” is a favorite piece of music teachers around the world, as it can be quickly learned by beginning students after learning basic techniques. Beginning violin students can easily pluck or bow the notes of “Ode to Joy” to learn proper finger placement and technique, and will be able to immediately identify the tune.
2. “Spring” – Antonio Vivaldi
“Spring” is one of four concertos of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” The first movement is brighter and more cheerful than the rest of the movements and is perhaps the
best known, although the other three sections are also immensely popular and stand in their own right. Vivaldi wrote “The Four Seasons” in 1723, and it remains one of the most well-known examples of Baroque style music.
Although in its entirety “Spring” can seem quite difficult, beginning violin students can, again, pluck the notes to get a feel for the fingering of the composition before graduating to the rapid, allegro playing style that gives the concerto its signature flair.
3. “Swan Lake” – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
“Swan Lake,” composed in the 1800s, is a ballet based on traditional Russian folk tales. Since its composition, “Swan Lake” has been revived and performed countless times, and scenes from the ballet have appeared in numerous movies, TV episodes, plays and other productions.
After students learn the basic melody of “Swan Lake,” watching a live performance of the ballet or a popular movie featuring its more famous scenes might keep them interested in learning more of the piece.
4. “The Blue Danube” – Johann Strauss II
“The Blue Danube” is a true classic in every sense of the word, and is perhaps equal to “Ode to Joy” in its popularity. The waltz was composed by Johann Strauss II in 1866, and has become the unofficial anthem of his native Austria. The instrumental version of the song debuted in the United States in July 1867, and the piece premiered in London in September of that year. Although originally scored for an entire orchestra, “The Blue Danube” can be adapted for the solo violinist, and is a fairly simple piece for the beginning student to learn. The waltz is also commonly used in popular culture, much like the compositions listed above, so that may help reinforce the student’s interest in the piece as well.
5. “Canon in D Major” – Johann Pachelbel
A popular choice at weddings, “Canon in D Major” is another example of a baroque-era song that has become commonplace in popular culture in the past few decades. Students can simultaneously practice their bow technique as well as their finger placement with this piece, as the slower pace at the beginning of the composition is ideal for beginners.
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