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33 votes

Is it spelled "violincello" or "violoncello"?

... part of the violin family... Actually, as baroque violists love to point out, during the early evolution of these instruments, both violin and cello were part of the viola family. The viola was ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
  • 17.4k
20 votes

Is it spelled "violincello" or "violoncello"?

tl;dr It's violoncello. Language considerations Lots of classical music words usually have a specific language as their origins (mostly Italian), so, unless an extended literature can confirm standard ...
musicamante's user avatar
  • 6,851
13 votes

Why don't violins have geared tuners?

Maybe you just never noticed them? I would suspect that someone trying to sell a violin with a head like a classical guitar wouldn't be able to sell them into a very, very traditional market. So... ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
  • 27.9k
10 votes
Accepted

Are there any violin family instruments built without a left shoulder?

As far as double basses are concerned, it's not uncommon to see a body with something like this: Just a normal double bass body, with a left shoulder cutaway (if it is really called like that). They ...
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
9 votes

Is there a name for a violin with five strings?

They are simply called "five-string violins" in the English language, and usually combine the viola and the violin's ranges. Other stringed instruments that have 5 strings are generally of the viol ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

What is the name of the object on the strings of the violin behind the bridge

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.
José David's user avatar
  • 4,244
8 votes
Accepted

How to tell whether the soundpost of a violin needs adjustment?

Does the fact that the soundpost is standing indicate that the soundpost does not require any extra adjustment? No. The soundpost basically transfers vibrations from the top plate to the bottom plate ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 5,620
8 votes

When people say that viola and double bass are too small for their range, what does it mean?

A violin doesn't resonate to just ONE particular pitch. The wood and the air in the body cavity certainly have resonant peaks, but there are lots of them, and a good violin is designed so that any ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 93.3k
7 votes

Can a smaller viola be used as a violin?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to restring a smaller size Viola into a Violin. You will not damage the instrument by doing so. Fractional size violins can roughly correspond with smaller size violas,...
Alphonso Balvenie's user avatar
7 votes

Do left handed violinists play in orchestras?

Do left handed violinists play in orchestras? Well... I do... (cello). I don't think I've ever seen any orchestra that uses left handed violinists It sure isn't a common sight. The vast majority ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Is it worthwhile to buy good accessories for a cheap violin

I'm a self-teaching violinist. That's really the crux of the problem. If you had a teacher they would be able to give you far and away the best advice. I'm guessing you don't play in the school ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 5,620
7 votes

Is it spelled "violincello" or "violoncello"?

If you consult a monolingual Italian dictionary (e.g. Devoto-Oli), you'll find that violoncello derives from viola plus an augmentative suffix (accrescitivo in Italian, abbreviated acc.) (i.e., a &...
DjinTonic's user avatar
  • 1,344
6 votes

Pitch and Volume Compensations for Different Instruments

As a brass instrumentalist, I can only speak for that family of instruments. But the difference required to play in extreme registers is often explained with a simple sentence: Low notes require ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.6k
6 votes

Are there any violin family instruments built without a left shoulder?

The "electric family" of string instruments are often designed without any shoulders. The below photos come from Wikipedia's entries for electric cello and electric upright bass, and an ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 89.2k
6 votes

Are there any violin family instruments built without a left shoulder?

Aside from electric instruments like @Aaron mentioned, this is not unheard of but extremely rare. I have seen a few upright basses over the years in bass shops with a cutout in the upper bout like ...
John Belzaguy's user avatar
5 votes

Can a violin imitate the sound of an Erhu?

Yes and no. Yes, you can imitate the erhu style of playing on the violin: lots of glissandi, lots of vibrato on certain notes, very quick appoggiaturas, pentatonic melodies, and so forth. What you ...
Scott Wallace's user avatar
5 votes

Pizzicato notation

@feetwet Right hand pizzicato is, as you wrote, indicated with "pizz.". There is no reason to make any other symbol for that; you can say that the word "pizz." has become the ...
Lars Peter Schultz's user avatar
5 votes

Why don't violins have geared tuners?

Some reasons why people don't use geared tuners on violins: I haven't tested in personally, but there us usually some discussion on how using heavier material in metal geared tuners reduces some of ...
Alphonso Balvenie's user avatar
5 votes

Is it a bad idea to learn both violin and viola?

But how is it with the intonation? My violin teacher is primarily a viola player. He started off playing the violin and switched after a year or two to viola. He brings his violin along to lessons ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 5,620
5 votes
Accepted

How long does a violin bow technique last?

The first thing to note is that "Sul Tasto" means something entirely different from "sul D", "sul A", "sul G", etc. "Sul Tasto" means "over the ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 5,620
5 votes

When people say that viola and double bass are too small for their range, what does it mean?

The explanation of instrument size with relation to pitch is mostly relevant for the lowest notes it plays, not as much for overlapping notes. Also instrument size goes hand in hand with instrument ...
John Belzaguy's user avatar
4 votes

Pitch and Volume Compensations for Different Instruments

Physics tells us that higher pitches have more energy. So if we apply the same amount of energy--bow pressure and speed for strings, air for winds--then low notes will naturally be louder. However, ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
  • 22.4k
4 votes

Why don't violins have geared tuners?

As already answered, the force of violin string does not require gears. If you asked due to the possibility of finer tuning granularity, there are fine tuners instead, which are much cheaper, but also ...
guidot's user avatar
  • 11.1k
4 votes

What is the difference between a 14" Viola and a 4/4 Violin?

The rib height on a 14" Viola is bigger. Here is a short YouTube video on the matter:
Lars Peter Schultz's user avatar
4 votes

How to notate fingerings on chords/double stops?

I'm used to seeing this for chord fingering: Image source In case it's not clear, as spacing requires, sometimes the numbers are above the staff rather than below, but they are always arranged ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
  • 56.9k
4 votes

Why is the double bass the only instrument in the violin family tuned in fourths?

I play the double bass and I know if it were tuned in fifths it would require a lot more shifting. No double bass player has the finger span to have the strings tuned in fifths. I say no double bass ...
Grace Parkin's user avatar
4 votes

Is it a bad idea to learn both violin and viola?

Once you learn how to play violin, viola will come easily, assuming that you can stretch your fingers a little bit more. The techniques to play violin and viola are nearly identical (although ...
Matthew Barclay's user avatar
4 votes

How to tell whether the soundpost of a violin needs adjustment?

Chiming in because although Brian’s answer is good it spreads a for some reason rather common misconception about the soundpost. The purpose of the soundpost is not to transfer vibration to the ...
Lazy's user avatar
  • 20.8k
3 votes

Alternatives to gut for fretting a viol(a)

I have two options that both work pretty well, the first being zip ties and the second being electrical wire. Zip ties are probably the easiest since they're cheap and easy to tighten, but the ...
Tama's user avatar
  • 1,863
3 votes

Alternatives to gut for fretting a viol(a)

PSA: Strings made for the modern pedal harp are gut and are far cheaper (especially per foot) than violin-family strings. I use a "first octave" E for my violin E string, and get two string ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
  • 17.4k

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