The violin

The Violin is a very popular starter instrument for very young children aged five and up.
They come in eight sizes. It's worth asking your music teacher for the appropriate size for your child.
Adults use 4/4. A bow and a case should be included.

Hover with your mouse pointer over the blue dots for further details

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More information about the Violin

The Violin is a bowed string instrument with four strings. It is the smallest and highest-pitched member of the family of string instruments, which also includes the viola, cello and double bass. It is the most modern embodiment of stringed musical instruments played with a bow. A violin is sometimes informally called a fiddle, it is the soprano voice in the string family; it is held under the chin, resting on the shoulder and has a lovely tone that can be soft and expressive or exciting and brilliant.
A player of the violin is called a violinist or a fiddler. It produces sound by either drawing a bow across one or more strings, plucking the strings, or a variety of other techniques. The violin is played by musicians in a wide variety of musical genres, including classical, jazz, folk and traditional, and rock and roll.

History

Like most plucked string instruments, bowed instruments date from antiquity with their origins believed to be from Central Asian cultures. The violin in its present form emerged around the early 16th-Century in Northern Italy. In addition to perhaps being the maker of the first true violins, Andrea Amati was the patriarch of the Cremona school of violin making. During the next 150 years, other members of the Amati family and their followers, who included Antonio Stradivari and Bartolommeo Giuseppe Guarneri, brought the violin to its highest level of perfection both as a musical instrument and as a work of art. During the 17th century, violin making spread to all of the other countries of Europe and, in the 18th and 19th centuries, to the rest of the world. Although violins have been and are being turned out in large numbers by factories in Europe and Asia, most fine violins are handmade by individual craftsmen using essentially the same methods employed by classical Italian makers several hundred years ago.

Description

The Violin is made from different types of wood which are glued never nailed together (Electric violins may not be made of wood at all, because their sound may not be dependent on specific acoustic characteristics of the instrument's construction).
The body of the instrument is hollow, thus becoming a resonating box for the sound. It typically consists of a spruce top (the soundboard, also known as the top plate, table, or belly), maple ribs and back, two end blocks, a neck, a bridge, a sound post, four strings stretched tightly across the bridge to produce their assigned pitches, and various fittings, optionally including a chinrest, which may attach directly over, or to the left of, the tailpiece . A distinctive feature of a violin body is its hourglass-like shape and the arching of its top and back. The hourglass shape comprises two upper bouts, two lower bouts, and two concave C-bouts at the waist, providing clearance for the bow.

Sizes

Children typically use smaller string instruments than adults. Violins are made in fractional sizes for young students: Apart from full-size (4/4) violins, several other sizes ranging between 3/4 and 1/32-sized instruments exist. Extremely small sizes were developed for violin students as young as 3. Finely made fractional sized violins, especially smaller than 1/2 size, are extremely rare or non-existent. Such small instruments are typically intended for beginners needing a rugged violin, and whose rudimentary technique does not justify the expense of a more carefully made one.
These fractional sizes have nothing to do with the actual dimensions of an instrument; in other words, a 3/4-sized instrument is not three-quarters the length of a full size instrument. The body length (not including the neck) of a full-size, or 4/4, violin is about 14 inches (35 cm), smaller in some 17th century models. A 3/4 violin is about 13 inches (33 cm), and a 1/2 size is approximately 12 inches (30 cm). With the violin's closest family member, the viola, size is specified as body length in inches or centimetres rather than fractional sizes. A full-size viola averages 16 inches (40 cm).
Occasionally, an adult with a small frame may use a so-called 7/8 size violin instead of a full-size instrument. Sometimes called a lady's violin, these instruments are slightly shorter than a full size violin, but tend to be high-quality instruments capable of producing a sound that is comparable to that of fine full size violins.

How It's Played

The violin is held with the left side of the jaw resting on the chinrest of the violin, and supported by the left shoulder. This is often assisted by a shoulder rest or a sponge and an elastic band for younger players who struggle with shoulder rests. This practice varies in some cultures; for instance, Indian (Carnatic and Hindustani) violinists play seated on the floor and rest the scroll of the instrument on the side of their foot. The strings may be sounded by drawing the hair of the bow across them or by plucking them. The left hand regulates the sounding length of the string by stopping it against the fingerboard with the fingertips, producing different pitches.

How the Violin is Made

The back, sides (ribs), and neck of the violin are most often made of maple.
The top of the violin is made of spruce and the internal parts of the violin—the corner and end blocks and the linings—are usually made of spruce or willow, while purling can be made of many different woods and/or "fibre" (thick paper or cardboard).
The fingerboard is made of ebony, the bridge is maple, and the other fittings (pegs, tailpiece, chin rest) are ebony, rosewood, or boxwood. Rather than making these items from scratch, they are usually purchased in a finished or semi-finished form and customized or installed by the maker.


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Violin Accessories

The main accessories for the violin are as follows: -
  1. Cases are used to protect the violin and bow (or multiple bows) when travelling and for safe storage. They are often made of carbon fibre, fibre-glass, and less commonly wood.
  2. Rosin, made from conifer resin, is applied to the bow hairs to increase the effectiveness of the friction, grip or bite, and allow proper sound production. Rosin may have additives to modify the friction such as beeswax, gold, silver or tin.
  3. Wolf tone eliminators are sometimes placed on violin strings between the tailpiece and the bridge to eliminate acoustic anomalies known as wolf tones or "wolfs".
  4. Mutes are used to change the sound of the violin by reducing overtones. Practice mutes (made of metal) significantly reduce the instrument's volume (they are also referred to as "hotel mutes"). The most common mute is a rubber disc with two holes to fit the two middle strings. It sits just after the bridge and has a flap that can be placed over the top of the bridge to mute the vibrations travelling down it to the sound post inside the cello. These are especially used due to their simplicity and can be taken off or put on very quickly because they can be stored on the strings past the bridge.
  5. Metronomes provide a steady tempo by sounding out a certain number of beats per minute. They are adjustable to fit the tempo of the piece. Many models can also produce a tuning pitch of A4 (440 Hz), among others. These can, of course, be used for all instruments.
  6. Humidifiers are used to control and stabilize the humidity around and inside the cello and are popular with travelling cellists. Often, these are placed inside the cello itself or inside the case. Some players will not use humidifiers inside their violins because they have the potential to drip, which may cause damage to the violin.
  7. Tuners are sometimes used to tune the instrument. A tuner indicates if a played note is sharp or flat. People with perfect pitch do not have to use tuners.
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