Basics of Playing Violin

The violin is one of the most difficult instruments to play. However, if you’re patient and practice regularly, results can be worth your time and effort. Both hands of the person are involved in playing a violin. However, they have different jobs. While your left hand will press down on the strings and create different pitches and notes, the right hand will move the bow across these strings to create vibrations. In this post, we’ve discussed a few basics of playing violin.

 

The Left Hand 

It is important to understand that a violin’s fingerboard does not have any frets. In other words, the violinist needs to learn where to place his fingers, and press down the strings to create the right notes. In order to create the right notes, you need to consistently practice on a regular basis, and find a skilled musician to give you some suggestions.

Your left thumb will be used to support the violin. The remaining fingers of your left hand will play the notes. Most violinists use different hand positions to know where they precisely are on the fingerboard. In most cases, the first position is the closest to the neck’s end. Most of the time, it is the first hand position learnt by a beginner violinist.

While playing a violin, the fingers of your left hand are numbered 1-4. One is denoted to the index finger, two to your middle finger, three to the ring finger, and 4 to your little finger. For every hand position, each finger will play one note on every string across the fingerboard. Your left hand can even move back and forth rapidly while playing a note to add Vibrato. This will add richness.

 

The Right Hand 

Your right hand will control the bow, and even help determine the volume, rhythm and tone of the music. It is very important to grip the bow properly, and learn to appropriately touch the bow to the violin’s strings. The way in which you handle the bow will change the sound of the violin.

In addition to this, there are many other factors which can have a major impact on the sound. Some of these include strength or weight of the bow, speed of the bow, how hard it’s pushed on the strings and more. With slight variations, you can properly express yourself, and play the violin perfectly.

 

Some Terms You Should Know 

Pizzicato – This note is the one which is plucked with your finger rather being played with the bow. In the music, this note is marked Pizz.

Tremolo – This is a specific way of playing the same note rapidly with the bow’s end.

Mute – Making a soft sound. The violin can be easily muted by placing a basic mute on the bridge.

Martele – The specific method of releasing your bow forcefully and suddenly to make a very intense note.

Regardless of the style you want to play, it is important to start with the basics. These will include proper posture, holding the bow properly and so on. Once you learn these basics, you will be able to practice advanced techniques.

A Closer Look at Orchestra


Different combinations of musical works are given different names which are based on personnel, style and instrumentation of the music played. Orchestra is an example of these combinations. It is made up of brass, woodwinds, percussion and strings. It mostly plays symphonic music and performs in concert setting. Most of them are designed with violas or violins on the left side of the conductor, cellos to his or her right, percussion on the back and woodwinds behind the strings. Its average size is 75-100 members. Below is a close look of Orchestra, facts and its most popular songs.

 

Origin

It originated in Greek where it used to represent a semi-circular space in theatre’s stage where singing and dancing took place. The name was revived several years later when a group of musicians accompanying Italian Operas singers performed in a similar manner. Since then, the word has been used to mean a group of musicians performing in a semi-circular group with the relevant musical instruments.

 

Conductor

In most cases the composer plays several different roles. For instance, they can be educators, conductors, songwriters or performers. Conducting may look easy but it is more than just waving with flourish. It is a highly competitive and demanding field in music. Conductors direct the musicians and guide them on things such as music speed, bringing the instrumentalist at the right phase and where to shoe expressions like soft and loud playing.

 

Types of Orchestras

Large orchestras- They are large groups with about 100 musicians. They perform in different settings and they are either symphony or philharmonic depending on the harmony of their music.

Smaller orchestras- They came in different styles and types that include: 

a) Chamber orchestra- It consists of around twenty players who perform in a large mansion room. The orchestra performs both traditional and modern works.

b) Small orchestra- It plays modern works with more members than chamber orchestra.

c) Theater orchestras- They have a maximum of sixty players that accompany musical theater, ballets and opera.

d) String orchestra- It consists of about twenty string instruments that play modern and classic music.

e) Concert and Jazz orchestras-They record and play light music.

 

Whats in an Orchestra

What is an orchestra? An orchestra is basically an ensemble of trained musicians who play different musical pieces, designed with a motive to be performed by a large-group of musicians and instruments.

For an orchestra, the ensemble must have several different sections which should include;

string instruments, brass instruments, woodwinds, and a percussion section. The orchestra is led by a trained conductor during the performance. It can be performed in a wide range of musical pieces in all kinds of events.

 

Orchestra – Overview

The word “Orchestra” is derived from a Greek word, which means an area of the stage from where the chorus sang and danced while performing in Ancient Greece. In a typical stage performance at the Orchestra, all the musicians are positioned in a classical setting in a pit set right in front of the stage. The setting is close to the design used in ancient Greece. When performing solely, the band is position on the stage where everyone can see them during the performance.

 

How an Orchestra is Formed?

Since it is an ensemble of musically trained instrument players, musicians and singers, orchestra is formed after a number of mock performances. However, different groups have different methods of selection. It is important to note that orchestras with different number of musicians are categorized under different headings. These are as follows:

 

Chamber Orchestras 

If an orchestra has less than 50 musicians, it is known as “Chamber Orchestra”. Chamber orchestras vary widely on the basis of size and some can even have over 50 players at one time. Extra members are substitutes, which might be used when required. It leads to accumulation of specialized talent at one place. For example: a harpist might be required in a few pieces, but not all. Such kind of music groups usually performs smaller and more intimate music compositions. However, the music tends to get complex and more dramatic when more players are added.

 

Full Orchestras

Another categorization is the orchestras with more than 100 members. This orchestra is known as “full orchestras”, also referred to as philharmonic orchestras or symphony. There is absolutely no difference between these two terms. In fact, some cities use these terms as alternative for each other. These are also used to differentiate group performances that might include operas, ballets and other ones that include use of music.

Huge ensembles in full orchestra allow musicians to perform large and complex musical pieces. In this kind of orchestras, difference sections can blend and harmonize with each other in a number of different ways. Also, the group may be supplemented with chorus to add vocal elements. In fact, some of the greatest musical works were composed in full orchestras, and experiencing them in person often turns out to be an illuminating experience.

 

Musical Instruments of the Orchestra

There are number of instruments used in orchestras, each having its significant place. Here is the list of instruments you’ll always find in an Orchestra:

● Strings (cellos, violas, double bass, first & second violins)

● Brass (trumpets and horns)

● Woodwinds (bassoons, oboes, clarinets, and flutes)

● Percussion (timpani)

In the 19th century, some more instruments were added including tuba and the trombone. In the early years, musicians were more keen on performing large orchestras, but in the late 20s, the trend got shifted more towards chamber orchestras.