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Violin Sheet Music: How to Read and Play

How to Read Violin Notes: A Beginner’s Guide

Violin Sheet Music: How to Read and Play

Learning how to read violin sheet music is a challenging but important task.

Being able to read music off of the page unlocks an entire world of musical potential. When you develop your sight-reading skills, playing a new piece of music can be as easy as reading these words.

Playing by ear is a wonderful and valuable skill that can come in handy in many situations, especially when it comes to improvising. However, learning how to read violin sheet music is necessary if you aspire to perform with an orchestra, quartet, or band.

Once you’ve learned how to read violin notes, you’ll be able to play any piece of music you set your mind to. Learning a new piece is exponentially easier when you can interpret the sheet music. The good news is that you can learn how to read music while building up other fundamental violin techniques such as scales, finger positions, and bowing

Below, we will walk you through how to read violin sheet music and then test your knowledge with a quick quiz.

How to Read Violin Sheet Music: Step by Step

The Staff

The journey of learning how to read sheet music starts with the staff. The staff is the set of five horizontal lines on which notes are placed in standard violin sheet music.

There are seven notes of which all music is based: A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Once you get to G, you would start back over with A and the cycle would repeat again, getting higher in pitch as you go up the staff.

There are also multiple pitches that correspond with the same letter in music. For instance, there are several different A’s on the violin. They are just in varying forms of higher or lower pitches.

how to read violin notesThe Notes on the Lines

The easiest way to learn violin music notes is to divide the staff up into lines and spaces.

These are the notes that fall on the lines of the staff, meaning the notes directly on top of the lines, with the lines intersecting them.

how to read violin notes

Starting from the bottom line, begin to memorize each note going up the top line. One popular mnemonic device you may have heard is “Every Good Boy Does Fine.” Another is “Elvis’ Guitar Broke Down Friday.”

These devices can be really handy to help you memorize the notes! You can also start with a beginner violin book, such as Essential Elements for Strings Volume I, which will give you some great exercises to help you memorize and learn these notes.

The Notes on the Spaces

Next, there are the violin music notes that fall in between the lines – on the spaces:

how to read violin notes

Another great mnemonic device applies here. If you look at the notes starting from the bottom note up to the top note, you will see that the letters spell F-A-C-E. And that of course rhymes with space. It’s quite catchy and memorable: “Face is in the space!”

Whenever you’re practicing or working from an exercise book make sure to keep these mnemonic devices in mind. If you forget the name of a note, first determine whether the note falls on a space or a line.

Then take your finger or a pencil and point to each note from the bottom on up, while saying aloud the corresponding mnemonic device to refresh your memory. See, learning how to read violin notes isn’t that hard after all!

RELATED: Beginner’s Guide to Tuning a Violin

Ledger Lines

The five lines and four spaces aren’t quite enough to contain the entire spectrum of violin notes. In order to place these violin music notes, we use small lines or dashes called “ledger lines.” The notes can fall on the lines or in the spaces between them just like the five lines of the staff.

In the G scale chart above, you’ll notice that there are other notes that fall below the staff (lower in pitch) and above the staff (higher in pitch.)

To read these notes you can use the ones on the staff that you already know as a reference point to figure them out.

Important Symbols on the Staff

A very important part of learning how to read violin notes is memorizing the different symbols you might come across on the staff. If you look over some violin sheet music or an exercise book, you’ll notice some new symbols at the beginning of each staff line.
how to read violin notes

The Treble Clef

You may recognize the fancy swirly symbol at the beginning of the staff as a clef. Clef symbols are reference points that name a specific note on the staff from which the names of all the other notes are based.

Lower pitched instruments use other clefs with different reference points, such as bass or alto clef. But in violin (as well as higher pitched instruments such as flute and trumpet) we use the treble clef.

The main thing a beginner should take from this is that if you’re looking at sheet music with a treble clef on it, it signifies that the music is suitable to be played on the violin.

Key Signature

Next, you’ll see the key signature, which is very important to pay attention to because it will tell you whether or not you have any flat or sharp notes in the song.

  • A flat note (i.e. B flat) is a half-step lower in pitch than the base note (B) and is signified by this symbol: ♭
  • A sharp note (i.e. C sharp) is a half-step higher in pitch than the base note (C) and is signified by this symbol: #

how to read violin notes

If you see a flat symbol in the key signature, look at the line or space that is striking through the center of the symbol and determine which note corresponds to the line or space.

Now throughout the duration of the piece (whether it’s a higher or lower version of that note) you will be playing the flat version of that note.

The same goes for when you see a sharp symbol in the key signature. Take a close look at the sharp symbol and notice that there is a little skewed square right in the middle of the symbol.

Whichever note corresponds to the line or space that the square forms around will be the note that will become sharp throughout the piece.

Sometimes there will be multiple sharps or a combination of sharps and flats. If you don’t see any sharps or flats in your key signature, you can just assume that all the notes in the piece are going to be your normal or “natural” notes.

Any notes that are not mentioned in the key signature are assumed to be natural notes as well.

Time Signature

Next in line is the time signature. The time signature lets you know how to count a piece or how many beats are in each measure.

The staff is divided by vertical lines into segments called “measures,” which will contain a certain number of beats depending on what your time signature says.

The top number in the time signature tells you how many beats are in each measure. Once the allotted number of beats have been counted out, it’s time to move on to the next measure and start the counting over again.

The bottom number describes the length of the beat. If you have a 4 on the bottom (most common) that would signify that you are basing your beat off of the length of a quarter note.

These are the numbers you’ll be seeing on the bottom of the time signature and which note lengths they correspond to:

  • 2 = half note
  • 4 = quarter note
  • 8 = eighth note
  • 16 = sixteenth note

These are the most common time signatures you will see:

how to read violin notes

The 4/4 time signature is so common that it is referred to as “common time” and often, you will see a C on the music where the time signature would normally be which means to play the piece in 4/4 time.

SEE ALSO: The Pros and Cons of the Suzuki Method

Quiz Yourself on How to Read Violin Notes

Now that you understand all the symbols and signatures at the beginning of a violin song, you’re ready to start reading notes.

Remembering your mnemonic devices can help you read the notes on the staff, but will you be able to identify the notes that fall off the staff?

As discussed earlier, there are many notes that will fall above the staff and a couple that fall below it.

Just remember that if you know the notes on the staff, you can count up or down using the alphabet to figure out any note you come across.

Test yourself with the chart below.

Starting with the top line, which you know is an F, count up alphabetically to figure out what note this is. Make sure you count each space and line!

how to read violin notes

If you guessed D, you’re right!

Now that you understand the basics of how to read violin notes, you’re ready to start putting it all together. You can now begin to learn about how these notes on written sheet music correspond to the notes on your violin, which is discussed thoroughly in this article.

While we covered a lot of information in this post, online resources such as these are no substitute for a violin teacher. Your teacher can provide you with a personalized, step-by-step approach to mastering how to read violin sheet music, while answering any questions you may have along the way.

If you’re looking to improve your musical skills from the comfort of your own home, online violin lessons are a great option. Your teacher can share their screen and explain the various elements of sheet music in a fun and accessible way. Through real-time feedback, you can develop proper playing habits and make the most out of your time on the instrument.

The time you spend learning how to read music is well worth it. The more you practice, the more the notes will jump off the page and onto your violin!

Post Author: Naomi Cherie S.
Naomi teaches violin in Austin, TX. She is a classically trained violinist with over 20 years of experience and a diverse musical background. Learn more about Naomi Cherie S. here.

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Great Violin Songs to Play

50 Easy Violin Songs for Beginners (That Sound Impressive)

Great Violin Songs to Play

When you’re just starting out on the violin, it’s important that you have some easy violin songs to help you stay motivated and maximize your fun.

Simple violin music can be just as beautiful as its complicated counterparts, and you don’t have to be Paganini to play some expressive and rewarding melodies. Knowing just a handful of notes, you can play tunes from a variety of styles.

If you’re new to violin lessons, your teacher can help you learn some of these beginner violin songs with proper dynamics and technique. With each lesson, you’ll build upon the fundamentals while taking on new material.

Use the following list to discover easy violin music across a variety of genres, including classical, pop, and Irish fiddle. We’ve also included some holiday favorites, as well as the top songs for kids to learn. Read on to find out your new number one violin song!

Easy Violin Songs for Beginners


Easy Fiddle Songs and Celtic Violin Tunes

easy fiddle songs

When it comes to simple fiddle tunes, the traditional Irish and Scottish repertoire contains some of the most iconic songs around. From soaring Celtic anthems to lilting and joyous themes, these simple tunes can pack a serious emotional punch.

Celtic music also heavily influenced the fiddle music of the United States, and many catchy fiddle classics came out of the Appalachians. These are also wonderful songs for beginners to learn. In fact, you may recognize some of the following tunes from the popular country-folk collection!

There are quite a few violin books with traditional (and often easy) Irish songs and fiddling songs. Several of the songs below can be found in “Fiddler’s Philharmonic.” Check out the easy violin sheet music for these songs here.

1. “Bile ‘Em Cabbage Down”

2. “Cripple Creek”
3. “Old Joe Clark”
4. “Arkansas Traveler”
5. Swallowtail Jig”
6. “Si Bheag, Si Mhor”
7. “Scarborough Fair”
8. “St. Anne’s Reel”
9. “Ashokan Farewell”
10. “Oh Susanna”

See Also: The 5 Best Violin Songs of All Time

Easy Violin Songs For Kids

easy violin songs for kids

Do you have a budding violinist at home? If so, then it’s a great idea for them to learn songs they can already sing by heart! When your child practices tunes on the violin that they are already familiar with, they’ll be able to tell which notes are correct and be more motivated to play.

Building confidence is important when your child is first starting out on an instrument, and these simple violin songs make it possible for them to showcase their skills as soon as possible. They’ll be sure to celebrate when they get their first few melodies down!

Note: The songs marked as rounds are particularly fun when you have more than one player or singer, and they allow you to create some relatively simple, beautiful harmonies.

1. “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”

2. “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
3. “Hot Cross Buns (round)”
4. “Go Tell Aunt Rhody”
5. “Frère Jacques” (Brother John – round)
6. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” (round)”
7. “Have You Seen the Ghost of John” (round)
8. “London Bridge is Falling Down”
9. “Old McDonald Had a Farm”
10. “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round”
11. “Des Colores” (The Colors)
12. “Los Pollitos Dicen” (The Chicks Say…)

Popular Violin Music for Beginners

Easy Violin Songs for Beginners

If your goal is to perform live for a group someday, playing one of these popular tunes is sure to captivate your audience. The good news is that your big performance doesn’t have to be too far away, since you can quickly learn these sing-alongs!

1. “America the Beautiful”

2. “House of the Rising Sun”
3. “Drink to me Only With Thine Eyes”
4. “Titanic Theme: Wherever you Go”
5. “Little Brown Jug”
6. “Do a Deer”
7. “A Thousand Years”
8. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

See Also: 15 Easy Violin Songs That Make You Sound Impressive

Classical Violin Songs for Beginners

Easy Violin Songs for Beginners

Think you have to stick within the pop and folk realm to play beginner violin songs? Then think again. There are plenty of simple violin songs in the classical music repertoire. While the list here attempts to target those pieces that have become more common as solos, there are also many other famous classical melodies from larger works that are easy to play on the violin.

1. “Greensleeves / What Child is This”

2. “Ode to Joy”
3. “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring”
4. “Bach’s Minuets 1, 2, and 3 in G from the Anna Magdelena Notebook”
5. “Schubert’s Ave Maria”
6. “Amazing Grace”

Easy Christmas Violin Songs

Easy Violin Songs for Beginners

If you’re looking for easy Christmas duets specifically, Christmas Duets for Violin and Other C Instruments by the Hal Leonard Corporation is a great place to look.

If you’re playing alone, you can also play the melody part as a solo. Some of the songs from this book can be found in the list below.

1. “Feliz Navidad”

2. “Hava Naguila”
3. “Oh Hannukah
4. “Happy Birthday to You”
5. “We Three Kings”
6. “Silent Night”
7. “Joy To the World”
8. “Jingle Bells”
9. “Deck the Halls”
10. “Oh Holy Night”
11. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
12. “Frosty the Snowman”
13. “Little Drummer Boy”
14. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

Easy Violin Sheet Music

In order to play these songs, you’ll need sheet music! Here are some of the best online resources for violin sheet music:

Violin Videos for Beginners

There are also several helpful YouTube channels that will not only give you the sheet music, but also demonstrate how to play various songs.

If you’re looking for even more videos, this guide has great violin YouTube tutorials.

So, there you have it, our list of easy violin songs that you or your child can play today! You can use this list as a resource until you’re ready to move onto intermediate material. Even as your skills progress, you can return to these easy tunes to warm up or unwind.

The best way to approach the violin is with the help of a teacher. Building proper playing habits is important when starting out, and only a violin instructor can give you the personalized guidance you need to reach your full potential on the instrument.

Even if you’ve hardly touched a bow before, you can use in-person or online violin lessons to get a jumpstart on your musical journey today!

Do you have a favorite violin song? Let us know in the comments below!

Carol BPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth teaches violin in San Francisco, CA. She currently plays viola in the San Francisco Civic Orchestra and has been teaching students since 2012. Learn more about Carol Beth!

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14 Popular Violin Solo Pieces for Beginners

14 Popular Violin Solo Pieces for Beginners

Just starting out on violin and not sure where to begin with violin solos? Here, violin teacher Naomi Cherie S.  has outlined 14 popular violin solo pieces to help you build your beginner repertoire. Whether you’re brand new to the violin or you’ve been playing for a year or two, this list has some great songs for you to tackle…

Note: We’ve included videos, violin tutorials, and violin solo sheet music to help you master these songs!

About Violin Solos

As a musician, solo pieces are great to develop skills outside of beginner exercises and scales. Solo pieces can also give you a great excuse to test your playing abilities beyond your studio or bedroom. Even if you’re not too keen on performing in front of an audience, the ability to perform in front of people is very important in your journey to becoming a well-rounded musician, especially if you plan to perform in an orchestra, band, duo, or quartet. By starting small, with a group of friends or family, you’ll learn to control your nerves and perfect your stage presence and presentation, and eventually, you’ll have no problem performing in front of large crowds!

It’s important to have a violin solo collection, made up of comfortable, familiar songs to build your confidence to perform in front of an audience. These violin solos will help you prepare for a planned recital, family holiday, or an impromptu request.

Where to Find Violin Solo Pieces

This outline of songs uses the internationally known “Suzuki Violin School: Violin Part, Vol. 1” as a base. Since it’s one of the most popular beginner violin books in the world, it’s easy to find at music stores and does a great job of slowly introducing concepts. Keep in mind: you don’t need to be learning in official Suzuki Method style (Suzuki method is a teaching style developed by Shinichi Suzuki in the mid 20th century) in order to use this book. It’s just a good, affordable series of song books with a lot of great beginner material.

Many of these are folk songs or are adapted from classical pieces by well-known composers and can be found online or in other books, however, Suzuki lays it out in a neat, easy-to-follow package. We’ve also thrown in a couple of party favorites and crowd pleasers.

Time Frame and Experience

The songs below are organized by experience level. Please note, the time frames are estimates and can vary from student to student. You can enhance your results by with violin lessons and consistent practice.


Violin Solos

 

 

1. “Lightly Row” 

“Lightly Row” is a simple four-line song found in many beginner books since it’s a popular German folk song. It’s a great solo piece for beginners. With lots of practice, you can learn it within a month or less after starting violin.

The rhythms are very basic and the song uses quarter notes and half notes and focuses on using two strings at a time. You won’t have many string changes, which can be very challenging when you first start playing the violin.

Get the violin solo sheet music to play “Lightly Row“.

2. “May Song”

“May Song” is another old folk song that’s fairly easy to learn within the first few months of playing. It takes things up a notch by introducing different types of notes: eighth notes and dotted quarter notes.

It also ventures on to some of the higher notes on the E string. “May Song” keeps it short and simple at only three lines long, so you won’t get overwhelmed when adding more challenging rhythms.

“May Song” sheet music


 

1. “Allegro” 

“Allegro” is a great song to learn because it introduces dynamic markings.

Dynamics give the song variety and excitement by changing volume levels and the style or attack of your bowing. “Allegro” introduces the terms staccato (short and sticky bowing), legato (long and smooth bowing), decrescendo (play softer gradually), fermata (hold the note out and then cut off suddenly), dolce (play sweetly), and forte (play loudly.)

You may want to add a music dictionary to your violin sheet music and violin book collection to help you understand new terms and markings.

If you were too shy to perform in front of an audience with the previous songs, by the time you’ve mastered this one you’ll be more than ready to show off your newly enhanced performing “chops” (as we like to say in musician speak) with the dynamics, drama, and suspense of “Allegro”.

Get the violin sheet music here.

2. “Happy Birthday” 

Now that you have some of the basics down, take a night off from your regular studies and learn to play “Happy Birthday”. Every musician should know this song for special occasions and surprise parties. It may not be a traditional “solo piece,” but all eyes will definitely be on you when you surprise dad or grandma at the next family birthday gathering. It’s also a handy talent to be able to leave a violin voicemail or text a quick video for friends and loved ones who live far away on their special day.

“Happy Birthday” may not be readily available in most solo books, however, a quick Internet search will bring up many different options, or if you’re feeling adventurous, test out your skills and see if you can learn to play this song by ear.

“Happy Birthday” violin sheet music.

3. “Perpetual Motion” 

“Perpetual Motion” is a good stamina test for beginners. At five lines, it’s a little longer than most of the other pieces you’ve played at this point. It’s also free of any rests or breaks, which makes it really challenging to play since you’ll literally be in “perpetual motion” the whole time.

Think of violin playing like running a marathon: As a beginner, you get tired easily, so you have to gradually work up to playing longer pieces. This song is part of the endurance training that’ll help get you to the finish line, and eventually, propel you into an advanced musician who’ll someday perform pieces that are several pages long!

Get the sheet music here!

4. “Cotton Eyed Joe” 

Even if you’re learning through classical training, it’s nice to throw in a fun, old time fiddle song every now and then. “Cotton Eyed Joe” is a classic fiddle tune.

It’s snappy and short and sure to start a hoe-down in any social setting! You can find this piece in most beginner fiddle books or with an easy search online.

“Cotton Eyed Joe’ violin sheet music.


 

1. “Amazing Grace”

“Amazing Grace” is a must-learn song for any violinist – it’s a classic, old time fiddle-style song with a calming feel. It’s beautiful, poignant, and great for family gatherings around the holidays. It also makes a great duet if you have another violinist or instrumentalist of any kind to harmonize with you.

Click here for the violin solo sheet music.

2. “Minuet” in G

If you’re ready for this song, congratulations! This piece is a big step toward graduating from the easier three to five-line folk songs to playing real, semi-full length pieces. Also, note the composer of this song: Johann Sebastian Bach! You’re officially playing an adapted version of a song from one of the most respected composers of all time, and that’s a big achievement!

It may look like a short song, but it has repeat signs, meaning you’ll be repeating some parts and thus turning it into a full one-page song. It also introduces some new concepts that you likely haven’t seen at this point, such as using your fourth finger (pinky) to play notes, slurs (two notes connected within the same bow stroke), and complex note sequences on three of the violin strings (rather than just two).

This song keeps a great balance, because although it’s longer and more challenging, a lot of the parts that make it longer will be repeats of what you just played; in other words, you won’t be overwhelmed by new information.

3. “Let it Go” 

By now, you’re advanced enough to play music that combines rhythms using quarter notes and eighth notes and introduces slurs and dotted quarter notes. You’re ready to venture out of your beginner book and into some pop music.

If you or your child love Disney movies, now would be a good time to throw in a movie favorite, such as “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen. This song is always a crowd pleaser; everyone knows it and it’s very catchy. It’s also easy to learn and easy to find at any music shop with contemporary sheet music.

If Frozen isn’t your cup of tea, you can search for pop or rock violin sheet music in beginner book format at your local music shop or online.


 

1. “Minuet No. 2” 

“Minuet No. 2” is one of the last songs in Suzuki Book I, so once you finish this one, you’ll be very close to a major milestone in your studies. “Minuet No. 2” is a great song to follow up with after “Minuet No. 1” because Bach wrote it as part of a three-part series.

At this point, you’re definitely ready to perform in front of an audience outside of your friends and family. If you’re working with a teacher, ask him or her to organize a recital so that you can show off your progress. You’ll recognize many of the same themes in this song as “Minuet No.1” that’ll make it easier to learn and will work nicely as a companion piece if you choose to do a double solo performance for your audience.

This song definitely takes it up a notch and although it’s written as a one-page song, by the time you add all of the repeats, you’ll officially be performing your first two-page song – that’ll be great progress for developing your playing stamina!

Get the violin sheet music here!

2. “Gavotte” (by F.J. Gossec)

When you’re ready to learn “Gavotte”, you’re officially at the end of Suzuki Book I, which is a major achievement in your studies! By this point, you’ve made it through one of the biggest rough patches of learning a new instrument – the first year. “Gavotte” adds new, complex rhythms by adding sixteenth notes, which really take things to the next level in the speed department.

Do some simple finger exercises and scales, without looking at your sheet music, to develop the fast finger motion you’ll need to make these notes happen. “Gavotte” combines all the skills you’ve learned, and adds a lot of dynamic markings and repeat signs to make this song a challenging grand finale for the book.

Want to learn to play “Gavotte”? Get the sheet music here!


 

1. “Bourrée”

“Bourrée” is a great introduction to “Suzuki Violin School, Vol 2“, as it  eases you into more difficult material. A delicate and beautiful piece, the tempo can be adjusted to be performed slowly and calmly. A common misconception is that slower pieces are easy or boring – however, playing pieces slowly brings out some of the more emotive and poignant tones that allow your instrument to shine.

Performing a slow piece is a great way to exercise patience, letting the notes ring out and breathe, and it’s a nice opportunity to test out any newly-budding vibrato skills.

“Bourrée” violin sheet music.

2. “Gavotte” (by J.B. Lully)

This “Gavotte” (a type of 19th-century French dance – hence the repetition in song titles) is challenging, but not as difficult as the one below, so I recommended you learn this one first.

In this song, you’ll see the extended fourth finger. This requires you to stretch your little finger up extra high to hit a note that you’ll eventually learn to play in third position (a higher hand position you’ll learn as an intermediate player). This song has a great upbeat, a playful feel, and it’s fun to play fast once you’ve mastered it at a slower pace.

3. “Gavotte” from Mignon (by A. Thomas)

This “Gavotte” is a tricky piece that presents many twists and turns and lots of new challenges, such as 32nd notes (double the speed of sixteenth notes), lots of accidentals (notes outside of your written key signature), and complex rhythms. It’s also a lengthy piece, coming in at almost two-pages long.

This may seem difficult at first, but don’t get discouraged. Learn this song in sections. Go line by line, note by note, and perform it very, very slowly until you’re ready to increase your tempo.

For these more advanced violin solos, I recommend using a metronome, to help you ease into the faster tempos. If you’re having difficulty, try stripping the song down and playing it without slurs or dynamic markings. This allows you to focus on the notes. Once you’ve mastered this piece, you should be really be proud of your accomplishments. As a violinist, you’re on your way to becoming an intermediate-beginner level player!

Now you have a nice collection of violin solo pieces that you can learn as you advance in your lessons. If you need help with any of these violin solos, make sure to ask your violin teacher!

As you work through these inspiring, timeless pieces, have fun, practice hard, and enjoy the music!

Looking for more pieces to play? Check out this ultimate list of violin solos

Post Author: Naomi Cherie S.
Naomi teaches violin online in Austin, TX. She’s a classically-trained violinist with over 20 years of experience and a diverse musical background. She works with all ages and has been teaching for over 14 years. Learn more about Naomi Cherie S. here.

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Top 10 Violin Tuner Apps Reviewed

violin tuner app

Have you ever shown up to a violin lesson or performance and realized that you completely forgot your violin tuner? If you answered “yes,” then you’ve already learned how crucial it is to keep your violin in tune. Not only does it ensure you get the best sound, but it also helps train your ear. 

There are tons of ways you can tune a violin. Many of them require a certain skill set or an actual device. But thanks to technology, there are dozens of user-friendly violin tuner apps to replace an old device that you always seem to forget, or that’s taking up unnecessary room in your violin case.

Choosing the best violin tuner app can be difficult when there are so many to choose from. To make things easier for you, we’ve rounded up a list of the best violin tuner apps available in this blog post.

But first let’s explore the benefits of using a violin tuner app, as well as how they actually work.

How a Violin Tuner App Works

Every violin tuner app works a little differently, but most of them are structured as follows.

Generally, there will be a display that tells you what note you’re playing and a needle hovering over a dial in the middle that will show you how in tune your string is.

Ideally, you want the needle to be as close to the center point as possible. Most violin tuners light up when the string is in tune.

If the needle is hovering over to the right of the dial your string is “sharp,” which means it’s too high or tight. If it’s hovering over to the left of the dial your string is “flat,” which means it’s too low or loose.

Benefits of Using a Violin Tuner App

So what are the benefits of using a violin tuner app? Below are just a few of the benefits you’ll experience when you use a violin tuner app.

  • Convenience: With a violin tuner app, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you remembered to pack your electronic tuner. Because if you’re anything like most people, chances are you’re glued to your smartphone and rarely forget it. Also, a violin tuner app is perfect for those impromptu violin jam sessions.
  • Cost-effective: An electronic tuner or tuning fork can cost you around $30 to $40 dollars. Many violin tuner apps however are free, or cost as little as $3. You can’t get much better than that!
  • Easy-to-use: Tuning a violin using a different instrument or harmonics can be difficult for beginning violin students. Most violin tuner apps are very straightforward and easy to use. A violin tuning app works very similarly to the electronic tuner in that it can sense and tell exact pitch.

Top 10 Violin Tuner Apps

Now that you’ve reviewed all the benefits of violin tuning apps, let’s take a look at the best apps available.

Violin Tuner App1. ClearTune-Chromatic Tuner

Talk about star power. This violin tuning app is used by some of today’s biggest musical acts, including The Black Keys and The Killers. The chromatic instrument tuner and pitch pipe allows users to accurately tune their violin using the built-in mic in their smartphone. The app includes features such as selectable notations, support for transposing instruments, and automatic or manual note section. Learn more about the app hereCost: $3.99

 

 

Violin Tuner App - Tuner Lite2. Tuner Lite

Another chromatic instrument tuner and pitch pipe, this free tuner app is perfect for beginner violin players. With glowing customer reviews, Tuner Lite by plusadd has an LED display that’s easy to understand and features an automatic reference note calibration. Users describe the app as being reliable, easy-to-use, and helpful. Learn more about the app hereCost: Free

 

 

Violin Tuner App3. Tuner-gStrings

Haven’t mastered tuning your violin by ear yet? No problem. The Tuner-gStrings app is perfect for those who need an extra hand tuning their violin. The free tuner app is a chromatic tuner application measuring sound pitch and intensity. Features include orchestra tuning, various temperaments, and a variable range nonlinear scale. Learn more about the app hereCost: Free

 

 

Pano Tuner4. Pano Tuner – Chromatic Tuner

With Pano Tuner you can tune your violin in seconds. The violin tuning app listens to the sound you make and shows you the pitch. All you have to do is look at the offset from the pitch that you want to tune to. The app also has a feature that allows you to adjust the concert-A frequency to make your violin in harmony with others. Learn more about the app hereCost: Free

 

 

Violin Multi Tuner5. Violin Multi-Tuner

This violin tuner app was made specifically for violinists so you know you’ll experience fast and accurate pitch detection. Violin Multi-Tuner has an abundance of great features including a metronome, playable fingerboard, ear and sight reading exercises, and more. Learn more about the app hereCost: $0.99

 

 

 

bop 6. Violin Tools Free

This violin tuning app is perfect for beginners. Not only can you use this app to fine tune your violin with a high precision and efficient pitch detection algorithm, but you can also use it while you practice to see if you’re playing the right notes. Using a color scale, the Violin Tools Free app will tell you which direction you need to adjust your finger positions. Learn more about the app hereCost: Free

 

 

7. nTune: Violin Free

If you’re searching for an accurate app to tune your violin, look no further than NTune: Violin Free. The app uses actual recorded violin notes rather than generated sound effects. What’s more, the violin tuner app contains the basic tuning of G, D, A and E and includes playback options of Arco (bowing) or Pizzicato (plucking). Learn more about the app here. Cost: Free

 

 

8. PitchPerfect

Are you sick of playing out of tune? PitchPerfect is the easy-to-use tuning app that you’ve been looking for. All you have to do is play a string to see if you are sharp, flat, or in perfect pitch. Then use the app’s preset tunings to tune the note you want. Learn more about the app hereCost: Free

 

 

 

mgee9. Tune-O-Rama

This foolproof tuning app features a chromatic tuner that you can access at the touch of a button. Tune-O-Rama uses an impressive 4-tier detection algorithm for near 100% accuracy and sensitivity. Featuring a detection range of 1200+ Hz, Tune-O-Rama is suitable for many instruments, including the violin. Learn more about the app here. Cost: $2.99

 

 

 

10. Tuna Pitch

If you’re a more advanced player that knows how to tune by ear then you might want to consider downloading Tuna Pitch. This tuning app has a built-in pitch pipe that lets you play a reference tone for tuning by ear. Tuna Pitch automatically finds the pitch using the microphone and shows note name, octave, and frequency. Learn more about the app hereCost: $2.99

 

 

Each one of these apps offers something a little different. If you’re still not quite sure which violin tuner app to choose, consult a violin teacher. He or she will be able to point you in the right direction! What’s your favorite violin tuner app? Let us know in the comments below.

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suzuki violin method

The Pros and Cons of the Suzuki Violin Method

suzuki violin method

Are you looking for more information about the Suzuki violin method? Below, we’ll go into detail on everything you need to know about the Suzuki method, including its pros and cons for students and their families.

The Suzuki violin method can be a polarizing topic in the music world, as there are many different opinions on it. While some argue that the method helps children develop a high level of playing ability, others say it doesn’t teach students proper violin techniques.

If you’re considering the Suzuki violin method, it’s best to thoroughly research it before you determine if it’s a good fit for you or your child. To ensure you have all the necessary information to make an informed decision, below are six principles of the Suzuki method along with their pros and cons.

Suzuki Method: The Pros & Cons

1. Structure of the Suzuki Method

Suzuki violin programs are a mix of group and private violin lessons. Below are the pros and cons of this structure.

  • Pros: Students receive frequent reinforcement of skills because they are attending at least two lessons per week. The varied lesson plans provide a well-rounded approach, covering many different learning styles. Group lessons are also a great environment for children to be encouraged and challenged by their peers.
  • Cons: The lesson commitment for the Suzuki violin method is more than that of traditional private lessons, which can be too much for today’s busy families. Additionally, the Suzuki structure is pretty regimented with not much flexibility for missed lessons.

2. Listening to Violin Music

Students are encouraged to listen to violin music daily, especially recordings of the songs they are learning in lessons. This requirement of the Suzuki method comes with its own set of pros and cons as well.

  • Pro: Listening to music daily is a fantastic way for children to develop an ear for the violin and other instruments. The more they listen to the songs they are learning, the faster and better they will learn those songs.
  • Con: The commitment to listen to music daily typically falls on the child’s parents. Not only is this a burden on busy families, but some parents will quickly grow tired of listening to the same Suzuki songs day in and day out.

3. Performances and Recitals

Recitals play an important role in the Suzuki violin method, which also has advantages and disadvantages for families.

  • Pro: Preparing for a recital gives students a goal to aim for. Students are often proud of their accomplishments after a recital, which is a great self-esteem builder. Suzuki recitals with group performances also provide a safe performance environment for new violinists.
  • Con: Children who are very shy may have a hard time with this aspect of the Suzuki violin program. It can take a while before a student feels comfortable enough to go on stage and showcase his or her skills.

4. Rote or Memory Learning in the Suzuki Method

Beginner students learn songs by rote (or memory) in the Suzuki method. Note reading is finally introduced several years later into the program.

  • Pro: Students develop excellent ears, meaning they can hear whether or not they are playing in tune. Songs become very strongly ingrained in their minds because everything is played by memory. Students who struggle with note reading will find great freedom in being able to play music without reading notes.
  • Con: Because note reading is not introduced until later in the program, it can often be a struggle for students. By the time they learn how to properly read music, their violin techniques are much more advanced. Going back to the basics can be frustrating, not to mention difficult for students who might have already developed bad habits.

5. Practice Commitment

Daily practice is expected when learning violin with the Suzuki method. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of this factor.

  • Pro: Any student who practices an instrument daily, even for 10 minutes a day, will make significant progress.  After all, daily practice is one of the best ways to improve upon one’s skills. With this in mind, the Suzuki method is excellent for making regular practice a necessity.
  • Con: As parents are well aware, most children will not practice daily unless they are told to. A lot of responsibility for the daily practice sessions will fall on the parents, which can quickly become a burden or cause friction in the family.

6. Parental Involvement in the Suzuki Method

With the Suzuki method, parents are expected to learn the violin alongside their child. This means attending all lessons and classes, and directing practice sessions at home.

  • Pro: Young children benefit greatly from having such strong parental involvement. This is especially clear with the parent-directed practice sessions at home. The focus and assistance that parents provide during these sessions ensures that students are reinforcing the skills they learned during their violin lessons.
  • Con: The Suzuki violin program is a sizable commitment for parents. In addition to attending lessons and directing daily practice, parents must carve out significant time in their schedule to learn the instrument themselves. Not only does learning an instrument take time and patience, but it can also be difficult as an adult.

As you can see, there are many great aspects of the Suzuki violin method. The cons are largely circumstantial and depend on the lifestyle of each individual family.

The Suzuki method is great for some families and very difficult to adhere to for others. If you have further questions, you might want to take a lesson with a teacher who has Suzuki experience, as he or she will be able to give you sound advice and guidance.

JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

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violin brands

Top Five Violin Brands for Beginner and Intermediate Students

violin brands

Are you just starting to take violin lessons? Below, violin teacher Delilah B. shares the top five violin brands for beginner and intermediate students…

Thinking about purchasing a violin? Choosing the right violin brand can be difficult, as there are many options available.

While you want to stay within a certain budget, you also don’t want to compromise on quality. What’s more, you want a violin that’s going to last and retain its value.

So, what do you do?

To help guide you through this complicated process, we’ve rounded up the top five violin brands for beginner and intermediate students along with some tips and tricks on how to successfully purchase a violin.

Things to Consider When Buying a New Violin

From price to quality, there are a few important things one must consider before purchasing a violin. Below is a short list of things to keep in mind while you search.

  • Price range: Before you start searching for a violin, it’s a good idea to set a budget. Quality violins usually start at around $500, then go up from there depending on the violin brand you choose. Remember, you will most likely have to buy a violin bow and case separately, so be sure to factor that into your budget, as well. By setting a budget, you’ll be able to narrow down your search by weeding out instruments that are not within your price range.
  • Quality: In addition to setting a budget, it’s important that you know what to look for in terms of quality. After all, you don’t want to get coaxed into purchasing a low-quality violin at a high price. Make sure that you check the instrument’s construction and structure. A high-quality violin shouldn’t look warped or creak when you apply pressure.
  • New or used: When purchasing a violin, you have two options: You can either purchase a brand-new violin or a used violin. If you’re on a tight budget, buying a used violin may be in your best interest. Just make sure that you do your research to ensure that the instrument is in good working condition and that you’re getting the most value.
  • Size: Violins come in different sizes. For children, there are sizes 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10, 1/16 and 1/32 violins. There are two ways to properly measure a child for a violin. With the student’s left arm fully extended away from his or her body, measure from the base of the neck to either the wrist or the center of the palm. The neck-to-wrist measurement will indicate the most comfortable size for the student.

Difference Between Student, Intermediate, and Professional Violin Brands

Student Violins

In general, a student violin is made from lower-quality wood and involves less hand work. These violins usually have some parts made of plastic, such as the pegs and chin rest. Student violins are great for children who are interested in learning, but are not yet sure if they will play for very long. Prices for student violins can vary from about $100–$400.

Intermediate Violins

Violins classified as intermediate are a good compromise between student and professional instruments. The price range can vary from $400 to $1,000. Intermediate violins are great for musicians who want something better than a beginner instrument, but are not quite ready to invest thousands of dollars in a professional violin.

Professional Violins

Professional violins are usually constructed from highly-quality wood, hand-built and assembled by a luthier, and finished with high-quality components, such as an ebony fingerboard. These instruments, which are only appropriate for professional and advanced musicians, can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000.

Buying a Violin Online vs. In-Store

If you’re debating whether you should purchase a violin online or in-store, below are some pros and cons to help you make your decision.

In-store

Pros:

  • You can try it out: One of the great things about buying a violin in-store is that you can try it before you buy it! It’s common for buyers to request to try out a violin brand at the shop. In fact, many shops have practice rooms for that exact purpose. Also, most violin shops are open to letting students borrow a violin for up to two weeks.
  • Knowledgeable staff members: If you’re a first-time buyer and don’t feel comfortable purchasing online, then you might want to opt for buying in-store. Most music shops have knowledgeable staff members on the floor who can match you up with the best violin brand.

Cons:

  • Limited inventory: Do you have a specific violin brand in mind? Music stores usually only carry a limited number of violin brands in-store. The last thing that you want to do is drive around town searching for a specific instrument that isn’t in stock.
  • High prices: Because they have less inventory, violin shops tend to have higher prices and less frequent sales. If you’re on a budget, you may want to shop around online for the best price.

Online

Pros:

  • You can shop independently: When shopping online, you aren’t bombarded by pushy salespeople trying to sell you the most expensive violin in the store. You can gather recommendations, read reviews, and shop peacefully and independently.
  • Larger inventory: Typically, online violin stores will have a larger inventory of violin brands to choose from. If one site doesn’t have what you want, chances are you can find another site that does.

Cons: 

  • Higher risk: When purchasing goods online, there’s always a certain amount of risk involved. Some websites will try to coax unknowing buyers into purchasing a violin that they think is of a much better quality than what it actually is. If you decide to go the online route, make sure you purchase from a certified violin dealer.
  • Uncertainty: If you’re stuck deciding between two violin brands, there’s no way that you can “try them out” online without having to purchase both and then return the one you don’t want.

Top Five Violin Brands for Beginner and Intermediate Students

As previously mentioned, violins vary by type. Some are designed for beginner and intermediate students, while others are customized for professional violinists. Most of the major violin brands carry a variety of different styles, each designed to best suit a customer’s specific playing needs.

So, what are the best violin brands? While the question is slightly subjective, we’ve rounded up the top five violin brands based on peer reviews and recommendations.

1. Stentor

When looking for a student-grade violin, Stentor violins are at the top of the list. Ranging anywhere from $150 to $180, these violins are reliable and well-built. For true beginner students, the Stentor Student I Violin is the most popular option and features a quality fingerboard and pegs. For intermediate students, the Stentor Student II Violin is a great option, as it offers better quality and tone due to its ebony pegs and fingerboard.

2. Knilling 

Knilling violins are well known among violin teachers and students. In addition to it’s high-quality craftsmanship, the company’s student violins have unique pegs for optimal tuning. Unlike regular friction pegs, Knilling violins feature Perfection Pegs, a 4:1 gear reduction inside the peg that makes for quick and precise tuning. Beginner Knilling violins are priced at around $500.

3. Cremona

Cremona is another great and affordable violin brand. Cremona violins are designed to meet the specific needs of both beginner and intermediate students. Besides using the highest-quality woods, the company takes quality very seriously and has 22 staff members in charge of quality control. The company’s student violin, the Cremona SV-175 Premier Student Violin, starts at around $300.

4. Cecilo

Cecilio is another teacher-approved violin brand. The instrument comes strung with the bridge attached so students won’t have to assemble it on their own. Also, you’ll be happy to know that the company puts their violins through rigorous tests to ensure they are fit for purpose. They also pride themselves on using quality wood, mainly maple and spruce, and top notch ebony. Student violins come in at a low cost of $200.

5. Mendini

Mendini is another brand ideal for beginner and intermediate students. Almost all factory made, the instruments offer good value at the low price of $199. Additionally, although the violins are low in price, they are durable. However, you’ll most likely have to replace the strings at some point, as the quality is not as great when compared to other brands.

 

Purchasing a beginner violin is a very exciting experience. What one person may see as a must-have feature, others are not so keen. Therefore, it’s important that you take into consideration the tips above. Keep in mind that you may want to get advice from a violin teacher or somebody who is experienced in buying musical instruments before you make a purchase.

 

violin techniques

5 Violin Techniques Every Beginner Should Master

violin techniques

Are you new to playing the violin? As a beginner, it’s important to create a strong foundation of which you can work off. Below, violin teacher Montserrat P. shares five violin basics every beginner should master…

Congratulations! You’ve been introduced to the wonderful art of music through one of the most beautiful instruments, the violin. As you continue to discover this wonderful instrument, it’s important to slowly build your skill set.

After all, learning to play the violin can be intimidating at first, and you don’t want to get overwhelmed by learning too much too fast. Below are five basic violin techniques every beginner should master before moving onto more complex techniques.

Double Stops

The string family can do something that not many other instruments can: play two notes at the same time. Composers take advantage of this special quality very often, which is why it’s so important that you work on it from the early stages of your musical development. To master the double stop technique, start by playing only the lower pitch. This will help your left-hand muscles memorize exactly where the note is, giving you the basics to build the rest of the chord.

Once you’ve settle your lower note, repeat the process with the upper pitch. When your left-hand has learned all of the notes, start playing them together. At this stage, pay special attention to the bow. Is the hair touching both strings? Can you hear both notes with the same level of clarity? One last piece of advice: be patient. Double stops are a major part of violin playing, and they require continual practice and hard work.

Left-Hand Articulation

Articulation is the clarity of sound with which you define each note. While a lot of it is generated using your right hand (i.e. bow hand), your left hand also plays an important role. Left-hand articulation will be particularly useful at moments when you’re playing several notes under a single stroke, like runs or grace notes. Here, you can’t use your bow to clarify the beginning of every note; therefore you use your left hand to make sure each one is clear and defined.

To develop this skill, you need to get into percussionist mode. Your fingertips will become your sticks, and the fingerboard will become your drum. Start with your index finger by moving it from the base, rather than from the tip. Make sure you can hear a percussive sound when your finger hits the wood. When you’re done with your first finger, move on to the next one, and repeat the process until you have practiced articulating with every finger.

Be careful. If you overdo this, you’ll not only diminish the quality of your sound, you’ll also jeopardize your muscles. An injured musician is an unhappy musician; so take care of yourself!

Trills

If you haven’t listened to Kreutzer’s Etude No. 19, you should do it before you read this. All my advice on this technique will be more useful if you’re familiar with trills beforehand. Trills are ornaments to a note that consist of playing the pitch above the base by moving your finger up and down as quickly and precisely as you can. What’s complicated about trills is getting a full, in-tune sound in such little time.

So, how do you do this? Let me introduce you to the metronome. Start by turning it to a slow tempo (60 bpm is a good starting point). Begin by playing two notes per beat, making sure you’re moving your finger from its base, just like you did when practicing left-hand articulation. Once you have mastered two notes per beat, move to three, then four, and so on, until your rhythm becomes an ornament.

You don’t have to go through all of these steps in one practice session. Perhaps one week you do only two notes per beat; then the next week you move up to three and four. The most important thing with trills is to take it at a pace that will allow you to be consistent.

Vibrato

Vibrato and trills are cousins, the only difference being that vibrato uses one finger and plays with a little more speed. When you vibrate, you’re letting the one finger you’re playing with move back and forth from what we will call the base contact point ( i.e. the place in the fingerboard where you place your finger to play a specific note).

The trick to getting a nice vibrato is to control the speed in which you vibrate. To do this, first identify where your vibrato is coming from. Is it the elbow, the wrist, or the knuckle? Once you have figured that out, you will then turn to your metronome. Just like you did with trills, start by slowly playing two notes per beat, then three, then four, and so on and so forth, making sure that you’re playing your base note and the note below it.

Also, practice vibrato at different speeds. During your musical development, you will come across many different pieces that will require you to vibrate slower or faster to achieve the character and texture the composer wants. Don’t focus on only one speed vibrato; rather, train your hand to vibrate at any pace, so that you’re ready when a song requires a slow, fast, or middle-speed vibrato.

Spiccato

Even though this is a slightly more advanced technique that you probably won’t use for a while, if you master it now, you will be way ahead of the game when it comes to standard repertoire.

When you do a spiccato stroke, your bow should be jumping from the strings pushed by your right-hand articulation. By pressing down with your right index finger, your bow will then go up and off the string, then come back down and repeat the process. The two most important things about your spiccato are your right-hand fingers and the direction of your bow.

When practicing this stroke, make sure to start by getting your bow-hand knuckles loose. Moving the smaller parts of the fingers will allow you to have a better control over your bow once it starts jumping off the strings. Also, be very aware of the direction of your bow. The hair is supposed to be moving parallel to the bridge, rather than back and forth between your face and your left hand.

One extra bit of advice…

Violin requires a lot of effort and time; that little piece of wood is going to be one of your worst enemies at times. All those hours you spend in the practice room fighting with your instrument over one passage will be worth it when you get on stage and perform for your audience, whether it is a 200-person theater or your seven-year-old cousin.

Just remember what made you want to start taking violin lessons in first place; think about where you want to go, and relish the precious moments music will give you. Now go get your music, your metronome, and your violin, and start practicing!

Montserrat P.

Montserrat P. teaches violin and music theory lessons with TakeLessons. Originally from Costa Rica, she is now completing her studies at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. She is bilingual in English and Spanish, and has been teaching music lessons since 2012. Learn more about Montserrat here!

 

 

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Inspiration Corner: 5 Famous Violin Players You've Got to Know

5 Famous Violin Players You’ve Got to Know

Inspiration Corner: 5 Famous Violin Players You've Got to Know

Are you just starting to take violin lessons? An integral part of learning how to play the violin is listening to others. Below, violin teacher Julie P. lists the top five violinists every beginner student should know and listen to…

There are literally hundreds of famous violin players from all over the world. In addition to the number of well-known classical violinists, such as Fritz Kreisler and Pablo de Sarasate, there are also many great bluegrass and jazz violinists. Choosing just a few violinists to listen to can be a daunting task as there are so many genres to choose from. I suggest starting out with the five famous violin players below:

1. Itzhak Perlman (1945 – present )

One of the most famous violin players of all time, Israeli-American Itzhak Perlman has had an incredible recording and performing career. Since the 1960s he has toured extensively, playing with all of the greatest orchestras and conductors around the world. He’s also played at the inauguration of President Obama in 2009, and has appeared on many popular television shows including, Sesame Street, The Tonight Show, and The Ed Sullivan Show.

Perlman is featured on over 150 records, most of which are of the classical idiom. However, he’s also featured on some jazz, folk, and Klezmer albums, as well as on movie soundtracks such as Schindler’s List and Memoirs of a Geisha. Below are some videos of Perlman’s most notable performances.

Here, Perlman beautifully plays the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Minor.

More to check out:

  • Perlman plays “Misty” with jazz great Oscar Peterson from the album “Side By Side.”
  • Perlman plays Klezmer music with four fantastic groups.

2. Mark O’Connor (1961- present )

Mark O’Connor is known for being a genre-crossing violinist. He is respected greatly for both his classical and bluegrass playing, as well as for his jazz and country playing. He has won two Grammys, seven CMA awards, and seven fiddling championships. What’s more, he’s also bagged championships in guitar and mandolin. His solo recordings are wildly popular, with over two million copies sold.

If that wasn’t enough, O’Connor is also a wonderful composer. His popular “Fiddle Concerto” combines the classical concerto form with the American fiddle style. Listen to some of Mark O’Connor’s work below:

Here, O’Connor and the American Music Shop Band band push the tempo past what you think is possible.

More to check out:

 3. Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987)

Jascha Heifetz is considered to be one of the greatest, most famous violin players of all time. Before his death, he was praised for his exacting technique, as well as for his beautiful tone and style, all of which has had a great influence on the modern violin style.

His recording career was extensive and the hundreds of recordings he made cover the bulk of the standard classical violin repertoire. If you want to hear exquisitely played music with great depth of musicality, listen to Jascha Heifetz. Enjoy the sounds of Jascha Heifetz in the videos below:

Here, Heifetz’s performance of Paganinni’s Caprice No. 24 is technically inspiring.

More to check out:

 4. Stephane Grappelli (1908-1997)

A giant in the jazz violin world, Stephane Grappelli is a violinist everyone should know. The French native founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France, one of the first and most influential continental jazz groups, with guitarist Django Reinhardt.

Over his 60 plus year recording career, Grappelli recorded with hundreds of the greatest jazz, classical, and folk artists. His talents earned him the honor of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as a spot in the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. Check out his music below:

Here, Grappelli is playing Blue Moon.

More to check out:

 5. Hilary Hahn (1979 – present)

Classical soloist and chamber musician, Hilary Hahn made her orchestral debut at the age of 12. She began her recording career when she was 16 and since then has recorded 16 albums, three of which have earned her Grammy awards. She is a much sought-after soloist, performing with groups such as the New York Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Hahn is also a proponent of new music, and for her album entitled “In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores” she commissioned 26 composers to write short works for her. Listen to her talents below:

Here, Hahn plays Mendelssohn’s Concerto in E minor.

More to check out:

These are just five of the many famous violin players you’ve got to know. If any of these violinists are particularly interesting to you, check out more of their recordings, or find other violinists who play in a similar style. If you’d like to learn to play violin like one of these great players, find a great violin teacher who can help get you there!

 

JuliePJulie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

 

 

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best violin songs

The 5 Best Violin Songs of All Time

The 5 Best Violin Songs of All Time

In addition to the Classical and Baroque styles that brought the violin to worldwide fame, there are many modern pop and rock songs that highlight the capabilities of this beloved instrument. Here, we’ve listed a handful of the best violin songs that showcase the true versatility of the violin. You’re bound to find at least one violin song you’ll love on this list!

The 5 Best Violin Songs

Violin Song #1 – Bach’s Chaconne

It wouldn’t be a true compilation of the best violin songs if we didn’t include Bach. The fifth movement of Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D minor for unaccompanied violin is one of the best violin songs of all time.

This particular video features Nathan Milstein performing the violin song. Milstein is an accomplished violinist, and he does the piece great justice. While not played at an incredibly high tempo, it does allow a violinist to show his or her prowess completely.

Violin Song #2 – Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto

Another phenomenal violin song, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto includes both beautiful and haunting moments. It also features fast paced and technical sections that require rigorous practice.

At more than 25 minutes in length, depending on the particular conductor and soloist, the piece allows the violin player to expand musical horizons as long as he or she wishes.

Violin Song #3 – Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending”

In a bit more contemporary-classical vein, Ralph Vaughan Williams composed “The Lark Ascending” after being inspired by a George Meredith poem. This violin song is gorgeous when accompanied by a piano or full concert orchestra.

As the title suggests, it is a light and airy piece, composed to actually transcribe into the sounds of a lark.

SEE ALSO: Sad Violin Music That Will Bring You To Tears

Violin Song #4 – Kansas’ “Point of Know Return”

When the rock group Kansas formed, Robby Steinhardt was an integral member of the band. He didn’t play guitar or drums, nor was he a lead vocalist. Rather, he was a talented violin player who was able to give the band its signature sound that set them apart from other rock groups of the time.

In the song “Point of Know Return,” Robby’s talents are on display throughout, including a bridge and solo section that bring the violin to the forefront.

Violin Song #5 – Lindsey Stirling’s “Crystallize”

While Lindsey Stirling hasn’t been performing internationally for long, she has quickly become the face of dubstep violin playing. The marriage of a centuries-old instrument and modern computer-generated music tickles the eardrums in a unique way.

The attention to detail in Stirling’s recordings is quite evident, blending new techniques with classical standards. If dubstep is a musical genre you enjoy outside of violin playing, be sure to check out all of her violin songs.

This list of the best violin songs is by no means comprehensive. Use the list for inspiration when you’re practicing or learning to play the violin. The more you immerse yourself in the wide variety of violin music that’s out there, the more you’ll continue to be motivated to improve your own skills.

If you have a favorite violin song that you feel should be acknowledged, let us know in the comments section below!

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Photo by Will

Sad Violin Music That Will Bring You to Tears

Violin Music That Will Evoke Emotions

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!

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Photo by Barbara Walsh