The violin is a particularly emotive instrument, with plenty of powerful and sad violin music to explore. When you’re feeling down or simply looking for the perfect song to capture melancholy feelings, take a look at our list below. Make sure you have some tissues on hand!
Sad Violin Music – Top 5 Songs
If you’re a violinist, you have a lot of particularly emotional and sad violin music to choose from. This type of powerful music can transport any listener into a different world. As a performer this is something you should strive to do! Here are five songs to help you express or portray sad emotions.
1. “Theme from Schindler’s List” – John Williams
“Schindler’s List” is a 1993 Steven Spielberg film. It tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who was responsible for saving over 1,000 Polish Jewish people during the Holocaust. It is a deeply moving story and the film touched hearts throughout the world.
The music for the film was equally moving, in large part due to the emotional music score written by John Williams. One of the most famous musical pieces in the film is the main theme. It is a piece for solo violin that renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman performs. This sad violin music is melancholy, haunting, and extremely evocative.
2. “Adagio for Strings” – Samuel Barber
Though not just for solo violin, Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” is one of the most moving pieces of music ever composed. It was written in 1936 and is an arrangement of the slow movement from his second string quartet.
It has been featured in a number of television shows, commercials, and movies, most notably in the film “Apocalypse Now.” The Adagio is written for a string orchestra, but features the violin in more exposed sections. The music starts softly and builds very gradually into sweeping climactic sections that can overwhelm the listener with emotion.
3. “Concerto, 2nd Movement” – Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto is one of the most beloved pieces of music ever written for the instrument. This concerto is one of the greatest musical masterpieces from the Romantic Era.
It’s at times celebratory, vibrant, and exhilarating, and other times moving and introspective. The second movement is beautifully expressive, featuring long, lyrical melodies. It sounds like the sad violin music is singing a wordless lament.
4. “Aase’s Death” – Edvard Grieg
The music for “Peer Gynt” is one of Grieg’s most famous works. The play follows the various exploits of the main character Peer Gynt, a hunter and roustabout with a penchant for telling tall tales and getting into trouble.
The piece “Aase’s Death” is written for string orchestra and is a lament for Peer Gynt’s mother after her death in the third act. This sad violin music is sure to have you in tears!
5. “Ashokan Farewell” – Jay Ungar
Not all sad violin music is classical. One of the most hauntingly moving pieces for the violin is the Appalachian waltz “Ashokan Farewell.” Jay Ungar composed it in 1982 in the style of a folk ballad or Scottish lament.
Though simple and sweet, staying true to the character of American folk music, this piece evokes deep emotions of saying farewell to loved ones. The piece reappeared in the 1990 PBS mini-series “The Civil War.”
Listening to other violin performers is invaluable for becoming a better musician. For one, it exposes you to a wide array of timbres, techniques, and musical ideas. When you get familiar with these leading performers’ works, you begin to recognize examples of widely renowned standards of tone quality, technical virtuosity, and musical expression.
We hope you enjoyed listening to these performers of powerful and sad violin music. If you’d like to develop your skills more as a violinist so that you too can captivate an audience with musical expressions, try one of our online violin classes today!
Photo by Barbara Walsh