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Antonio Stradivari, a Cremonese violin luthier who lived during the 17th and 18th centuries, constructed violins whose tone would fascinate the world for centuries to come. Widely considered the world's premier violin, Stradivarius violins regularly sell for immense sums of money. Celebrated violinists of the 19th and 20th century, such as Jascha Heifetz and Isaac Stern, performed on Stradivarius violins regularly throughout their engagement schedules. Although their basic construction is similar to virtually all violins, certain characteristics help to set them apart.
Beginning viola students are just learning how to play the viola -- how to hold their instrument and bow and move the bow on the strings. Your students are also just learning about music; notes, the musical staff, and sharps and flats are all part of a new language. Beginning viola students will enjoy playing duets as they learn more about music. As your students become familiar with the different notes, time and key signatures, clefs and other musical symbols, look for more difficult compositions they can learn.
Attaching a chin pillow to a violin is a process that often causes confusion. Chin pillows are made of felt or foam and come in the shape of a teardrop. You may think the chin pillow is a replacement for the chin rest, when in fact it is an accessory for the chin rest to make it more comfortable. Attaching a chin pillow should only take a few minutes.
Learning the basic violin finger positions can make the difference between playing Mozart's symphonies on-key and squeaking your way through "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Understanding the first position finger placement on a violin fingerboard allows you to learn scales, chords and songs. You can build upon mastery of first position by applying similar skills to learning 15 preset violin positions.
At first glance, violins and violas can be difficult to tell apart. But while these instruments have similarities, they also have many differences. The untrained eye or ear may not be able to differentiate; however, with some research you can learn to recognize the subtle differences in these very distinct instruments.
German composer Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 was premiered in 1845 while the composer was the conductor for an orchestra in the city of Leipzig. It has been very successful ever since its premiere, and is a much talked-about masterpiece from the Romantic period.
Though evidence suggests the first modern violin appeared in the early 1500s, Antonio Stradivari is widely credited with perfecting the instrument in the mid-1600s in Cremona, Italy. Stradivarius violins, often called "Strads" by enthusiasts, are known for their unique design and excellent sound. A 284-year-old Stradivarius housed at the Ashmoleon Museum in England is worth $15 million; it is considered to be the most valuable Stradivarius in the world.
Niccolo Paganini was a violin virtuoso and composer in the 19th century. Paganini had great influence on violin technique with his composition of 24 caprices, in which he utilized new fingerings and techniques like harmonics and pizzicato. Paganini was a great showman, and his compositions and playing featured a great deal of energy, vigor and dynamism. It is believed by many violinists that if you learn and perfect the caprices, you are a master musician and player.
Violin uke, ukelin, Hawaiian art violin -- these are all names for the same instrument, a cross between a ukulele and violin. Mass manufactured for only 50 years, from the 1920s to the '70s, handmade models are still available online today. They were designed to be simple to play -- an instrument for those without extensive musical training -- so each string is labeled with its musical note name. This makes it easier for the beginner to tune than the average stringed instrument, requiring a minimum of equipment and knowledge.
The viola emerged about the same time as the violin in the 16th century and is the alto-tenor member of the bowed string family. Although the viola is played similarly to the violin, it has a lower range and a darker, huskier tone. The viola was first used mostly as a way to fill out the sound in an orchestra, but it has emerged as a solo instrument as well. Much like other bowed string instruments, the viola is featured in large and small orchestral works and in solo music.
Violins and violin bows are expensive musical instruments that require care and frequent use to be kept in optimal condition. It can be difficult or even impossible to produce music with a warped violin bow. Different environmental factors and improper care and storage can cause a violin bow to warp. Look after your violin and bow, and you'll continue playing for years to come.
The violin and cello come from the same family of string instruments. Therefore, they have the same basic characteristics of homogeneous sound throughout the range of the instrument, and range of expression paralleled only by the human voice and incredible versatility in dynamics and technique. The bow of a violin and a cello have the same basic components, but they also differ in small, but essential ways.
Violin bow exercises are essential to increase the strength in your hands and ability to balance the bow. These exercises are workouts for your arms and ensure that you develop the strength and coordination to effectively manipulate the bow. Violinists must have extreme control over their hands and should be able to complete these basic exercises with ease.
Spiccato is a type of bow technique that allows stringed instruments to create a different sound. This method is described as short, detached bow strokes where the musician bounces the bow off the instrument's strings. As with other stringed instruments, playing spiccato on the violin requires players to have a strong degree of control of their bow hand. Violinists can improve their spiccato ability by working through a variety of exercises as well as devoting time to practicing this advanced musical skill.
Violins (as well as violas, cellos and basses) have a sound post to provide support between the top and bottom wooden plates of the instrument. Shaped like a thin cylinder, the sound post is placed through the right-hand F-hole. In addition to helping to keep the wooden plates apart, the sound post plays a very important role in the overall sound of the violin; each violin has a specific spot in which the sound post should be placed to provide the best possible sound. Good quality sound posts are often made of spruce.
Violinists all over the world covet the unparalleled sound of the Stradivarius. These violins are some of the rarest instruments in the world and were crafted by violin maker Antonio Stradivari. Inside his violins, Stradivari would put in a paper label that read "Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis, Faciebat Anno," which from the Latin means "Antonio Stradivari of Cremona, Made in the year." The spelling of his name in Latin is how the instruments came to be known as Stradivarius violins. About 650 of his approximately 1,000 violins survive.