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54 votes

Violin or piano – which instrument makes more sense to start during Coronavirus lockdown?

I would normally tend to recommend violin, but as you're asking specifically about what to learn during lockdown: definitely piano. Violin is almost impossible to learn without a teacher, at least ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
47 votes

How can you be sure your teacher-to-be is an accomplished musician?

Possibly putting the cat amongst the pigeons here. An expert (at anything, be it sport, art, science, etc.) is often not a good teacher. A good teacher knows the subject, of course, but maybe hasn't ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 192k
44 votes
Accepted

What's this w-shaped ebony item from my grandma's violin case?

It's a mute. It clips onto the bridge. Damps the sound. This is the traditional type. There are others: https://nolaschoolofmusic.com/blog/a-guide-to-violin-mutes
Laurence's user avatar
  • 92.1k
34 votes
Accepted

Why is a violin so loud compared to a guitar?

Without researching the matter (and thus preserving Internet Tradition), I'd say that it's because the input energy to a guitar is a single pluck whereas a violin is bowed giving a continuous energy ...
ttw's user avatar
  • 25.2k
33 votes
Accepted

I feel like I don't evolve, and sometimes shamed when playing with someone better than me

I find any learning process goes in cycles: At first, you're pretty bad. And you know it. Then, you start getting better. You're playing pretty well. Everything is great. And then you realise that ...
endorph's user avatar
  • 9,629
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
  • 16.7k
29 votes
Accepted

Should I loosen the tension on the bow for a break?

As a bowmaker, I would like to temper these answers a bit. Yes, if you leave a bow under tension too long, it will lose its camber (bend) faster. So that's true: one should get in the habit of ...
Scott Wallace's user avatar
28 votes
Accepted

In a folk jam session, when asked which key my non-transposing chromatic instrument (like a violin) is in, what do I answer?

If someone is asking about the key of the instrument, I would answer "I play in concert pitch." If when jamming, someone asks "what key are you in?" I would say, "I am playing in (name a key) concert ...
Heather S.'s user avatar
  • 5,567
27 votes

As a soloist, should I face the audience or the conductor during long tutti sections?

You could remain directly facing the audience, with the smile gradually dripping from your face to be replaced by something between boredom & abject terror... ...or you may find it a lot easier ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
  • 27.8k
26 votes

Expectations from a violin teacher towards an adult learner

As a beginner, you can't expect to get a piece sounding 'perfect' in any reasonable length of time, because you haven't yet built up all the skills - intonation, bow control, phrasing, your own style -...
Нет войне's user avatar
25 votes

Violin - Can double stops be played when the strings are not next to each other?

As Jomiddnz points out, there's pizzicato. You could also bow one string and pluck another at the same time. But if you want both notes played with the bow, and don't want the bow to catch the ...
Rosie F's user avatar
  • 5,202
24 votes
Accepted

Do you play the upbeat when beginning to play a series of notes, and then after?

The upbeat is where the song starts. Imagine starting the song "Happy birthday to you" without the upbeat; then you would start singing "birthday to you". When you reach the end you don't play the ...
Lars Peter Schultz's user avatar
23 votes
Accepted

Why does violin sound differently after playing on it for some time?

This is a heavily-researched, and (sadly) highly inflammatory topic. There are some people who swear it takes 50 years for the varnish to reach a stable structure & stability; there are others ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
22 votes

What are the numbers below the notes in Sarasate's "Gypsy Airs"

If you look closely, you'll see that the 4 and 6 have slightly different font size and orientation. The 4 refers to the finger, the 6 to the sextuplet (in the next bar you can see that the "6&...
musicamante's user avatar
  • 6,644
22 votes
Accepted

I broke my G string and my other 3 strings are out of tune too

You have eleven days until the concert. Even if you don't have a local music store, that's plenty of time to order a string online. In case you can't get hold of a replacement: The strings are all ...
PiedPiper's user avatar
  • 20.9k
21 votes

Should I loosen the tension on the bow for a break?

I'd add to Dr. Mayhem's list: You never know when something will interrupt your plans. You might be 20 mins into a planned 1-hour break, and then the doorbell rings, you welcome a friend, ... next ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
21 votes

Retuning violin numerous times daily

Alas, string instruments notoriously lose tuning for seemingly trivial reasons, especially classical guitars and wooden bowed strings. Temperature, humidity, looking at it... so, better get used to ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
20 votes

What's the point of composing music for the violin in D flat?

The example you gave, Shostakovich's Gadfly suite, gives you quite a lot of the answer: music is often written for several instruments at once, only one of which is a violin. The Bb clarinet is no ...
Dekkadeci's user avatar
  • 13.9k
20 votes

How to transcribe an arpeggiated 4-note chord to be playable on a violin?

The octave your violinist suggested is fine. Another possibility is the following: Why did Beethoven not write the above chord in his piano sonata? Because that major tenth is rather awkwardly wide ...
Rosie F's user avatar
  • 5,202
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
  • 6,644
19 votes

Is the Violin a difficult instrument to play for a beginner?

It certainly takes most people quite a long time to achieve the kind of fine bow control that's required to make a smooth sound. It's not straightforward at all - you've got to dig in enough at the ...
Нет войне's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

As a soloist, should I face the audience or the conductor during long tutti sections?

Some performers prefer the "look busy" approach. I once attended an oboe concerto performance in which the oboist swabbed out his instrument every time he had more than 4 measures' rest. I suppose a ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

Meaning of notation in violin part

The 4 indicates that the A is to be played using the fourth finger on the D string, while the 0 indicates that the A is to be played as an open string. Given the double stop in the fourth measure, I ...
Will Orrick's user avatar
19 votes

What's your trick to play the exact amount of repeated notes

Something I have noticed as I have improved from complete beginner is the ability to "group" more notes at a time. As a complete beginner it was a struggle to play one note correctly at a ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 5,630
19 votes

My child's violin practice is making us tired, what can we do?

The first thing to note is that learning to play a musical instrument should be a pleasure not a punishment. There is nothing to be gained and much to be lost by forcing her to play / practice. The ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 5,630
19 votes
Accepted

Any tips for cleaning a violin from the early 1900s to make it usable again

You're right not to try applying cleaning products without fully knowing what you're doing. If you have a violin repair person or luthier in your area, I recommend you take it straight to them. They ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
  • 16.7k
18 votes

Difference between violin and piano sheet music regarding notes on treble clef

The two different scores are in two different keys. The "piano" score is actually for SATB chorus/choir, and is notated in the key of Bb major most likely because it is more comfortable for most ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
  • 56.6k

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