Classical Musical Instruments/The Violin

 

“If music be the food of love, play on…”

                       William Shakespeare from the play,  ‘Twelfth Night’

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There is a saying that you don’t play the violin – you romance the violin.

What better stringed classical musical instrument to enhance the atmosphere of love and romance than the violin?

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Description & Uses

One of the most popular of classical musical instruments, the violin is a   wooden, four-stringed instrument, informally called a fiddle. It is known as the world’s most versatile instrument and is usually played by drawing a bow across its strings, or by plucking the strings themselves.

A person who plays the violin is called a violinist or fiddler, and a person who repairs them is called a luthier. Of all the stringed classical musical instruments in regular use,  the violin

English Violin by Jakobus Stainer
English Violin
by Jakobus Stainer

is the smallest and highest-pitched.  Violins are important instruments in a wide variety of musical genres, including jazz, rock, folk, country and bluegrass.  Although most prominent in the Western classical tradition,  the violin is featured in many other music cultures, including Indian and Iranian.

Brief History

Evolving during the Renaissance from earlier bowed instruments, the violin is probably the best known and most widely distributed  musical instrument in the world.

The violin has a fretless fingerboard, with its strings attached to turning pegs and a tailpiece  passing over a bridge. The bridge transmits the strings’ vibrations to  the violin’s belly or soundboard, which amplifies the sound. The violin’s belly and back is made of maple, and  the sidewalls, or ribs, of pine-lined maple.

Uses

The earliest violins were used for popular and dance music.

The violin grew in popularity during the 17th century so much so that it replaced the viol as the primary stringed instrument in chamber music.

Famous Violinists and Composers

Some of the earliest composers contributing to the new music  during this period were virtuoso violinist  Arcangelo Corelli.

              Arcangelo Corelli  99px-arcangelo_corelli_2 1653-1713                                   

Among the  major,  and more popular,  composers for the violin  during the 18th century  were  Mozart, Beethoven, Robert Schumann  and Johannes Brahms. 

Witch’s Child 

Niccolo Paganini    Witch's Child
             Niccolo Paganini
      Greatest Violin Virtuoso

However,  the person acclaimed as the greatest virtuoso of all time was Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840), who was called Witch’s Child, because of his seemingly superhuman ability.

 

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Sources: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia &  Encyclopedia Britannica   

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Any  questions, comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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