34

It's easiest for the player to put downward pressure on the instrument string when the bow is making contact with the string near the end that the player holds (the 'frog' end). This means that on a downstroke (extending the arm), it's easier to start the bowing action with firmer pressure. Players tend to take advantage of this by using downstrokes to ...


30

It's a fun experience to play with a convex Baroque bow, but if you've ever tried to use it for anything romantic or later, you'll quickly want to get back to the concave Tourte design that everybody has nowadays. The thing with convex bows is that they bounce around like mad. This can work quite well for the elegant-rhythmic dance feel of Baroque and early ...


29

Marching bands are about volume, projection, and power. A violin can't possibly match the projection of a brass instrument, and thus why they aren't included. That said, some bands have employed amplified string instruments, like electric bass, particularly for jazz and rock pieces.


25

Sharp-keys are in some ways nicer to play than flat ones. The preference for these keys is perhaps most extreme in folk styles: going through two collections of celtic-style fiddle music[978-1-85720-202-1],[1-871931-04-5], I found the distribution to be this crass: ♭♭ : 5 ♭  : 5 ♮  : 7 ♯  : 57 ♯♯ : 70 ♯♯♯: 9 In particular D major is really a great ...


25

For what it's worth, here's what Berlioz has to say in his Treatise on Instrumentation: The composer, when indicating the use of mutes in the middle of a piece (by the words con sordini), must not forget to allow sufficient time for putting them on. He should provide a rest in the violins, equal in length to about two bars in 4-4 time, moderato. The ...


23

This is one of the best questions I've seen for ages. I've looked for a while, but can't find a definitive answer, but hopefully I can give some useful information. Two things: the up bow mark doesn't really describe an upward direction, but instead that the bow is pushed, rather than pulled as in a down bow. So, this helps to explain why this doesn't use ...


17

At first sight, i would suppose the symbols are inspired by the different shapes of the bow's frog and tip respectively. But that's a mere guess, without corroboration by sources. EDIT: Here's an illustration showing a bow's frog (above - notice the orthogonal shape) and tip (below - showing the characteristic "pointy" shape): Image: By Henry Saint-George ...


13

Yes, Alto = Viola. It's the French name for the instrument, and the score shown is a part of 'Carnival of the Animals' by the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Carnival_of_the_Animals#XII_%22Fossiles%22_(Fossils) The other instrument names are easily recognisable. Note that Bb Clarinet is 'Clarinette en SIb'. The ...


12

The answer is a relatively simple answer: it is easier for the violin an cello to play in those keys because of how the strings are configured. Look at this picture of a G scale on the violin: As you can see, the G major scale fits very nicely on as the open strings notes make the scale extremely easy. Also because of the open string notes, many other ...


12

Actual marching bands don't have strings - I'm sure you could extend this list of reasons: Where would string players put sheet music? String instruments are expensive and fragile. Whilst you can buy a professional trumpet for a couple of grand, that doesn't buy you a professional quality violin. And although you can repair a dented trumpet, a snapped neck ...


9

I would say that those ranges are a good guideline. Of course, their range upwards is theoretically infinite (or at least until you run out of fingerboard, for fingered notes), but it's somewhere around there that they start getting screechy and it takes a professional quality section to play in tune. You can expand those ranges a bit for soloists (...


9

Even if you angle the bow quite strongly, the entire breadth of hair does touch the string as soon as you put some pressure on the bow (the outermost hairs will get stretched and give way, i.e. the bow sinks deeper and the other hairs touch the string too. Only at very low pressure, i.e. very low dynamic level, is it really only the outermost hairs that ...


8

For a given instrument (violin, viola, cello, bass is more complicated), the tuning of a fractional size instrument (1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 are commonly seen, 7/8 used to be frequently called "lady's cello") is always the same as the full size instrument. viola is a bit complicated because professionals have different sizes (15', 16', sometimes 17' for ...


7

I understand your frustration. The pegs behavior is related with different factors. Most usual factors are: - weather changes (humid/dry weather); - bad adjustment between peg and peg hole; - when the pegs are long periods without being adjusted (because of use of fine-tuners or because the instrument is not played often). Some advices: If the peg sits ...


7

Last year I was told by a Baroque and Renaissance expert cellist/gambist that the ∏ and ⋁ signs originate from abbreviations of the latin nobilis and vilis. This blog post also says something along those lines. Apparently, french composers liked to write n above important notes, demanding that they be played in a particularly beautiful, noble fashion. To ...


7

It's a damper, or mute, like this one here When you wish to mute the sound of the instrument you slide it near to the bridge in order to dampen the bridge vibrations.


7

The usual situation, if there is more than one part for the same instrument in a piece, is that the instruments do not play the same note. Such parts can be, and usually are, notated on the same staff in an orchestral score. Each such staff can be extracted into a single part or into multiple parts, as described by MattPutnam. Having a separate part for ...


6

Flageolet. Which means playing harmonics by lightly touching the string at some fraction of its total length.


6

You're definitely hearing a D4 along with this A, but are you sure about the F4? I wonder if you're actually hearing a G3. The reason is because of how string instruments are tuned. Violins, for instance, are tuned in 5ths, so when they tune to an A4, they tune the D4 along with the A4 to create a perfect fifth. Then they tune a G3 along with the D4 to ...


6

I have heard accompanists use a D minor chord when a violinist (or violist or cellist for that matter) is tuning many times. One accompanist I had even followed up the D minor with a D major chord! The rationale my cello teacher gave me was that playing a triad puts the string pitches into 'context', and that a D minor chord 'sounds purer' than D major. I'...


6

If you trace the development of the orchestra, you'll see that there has been a shift toward larger groups in larger spaces between the baroque period and now. A natural consequence of this is that instruments had to adapt to project more sound to fill those spaces up. The modern bow is just one of those adaptations. The concave design can hold significantly ...


6

First, be aware that there's often a difference between the conductor's score and the individual parts. To save space and make it easier to navigate, a score often has multiple parts condensed onto one staff, even if the result would be horribly complex to decipher while playing. The individual parts can be written either combined or separate, depending on ...


5

There is one important way how the small and big instruments differ, with regard to this issue: on cello and double bass, there are two very different fingering techniques used, namely, the positions above 5th are normally played as thumb position. Thumb position gives a very stable basis to notes almost arbitrarily high on the fretboard, which is why some ...


5

n and v (standing for Latin "nobilis" and "vilis") seem to be first used in print in Georg Muffat's 1698 "Florilegium Secundum", a collection of music for string orchestra with a preface in which Muffat explains the French style of bowing (associated with Lully's orchestra) for the benefit of musicians elsewhere in Europe. They are definitely used by ...


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