The violin is one of the most interesting and beautiful instruments to learn. However, it is not easy – most people usually shy away from the violin due to its complexity. For those entranced by classical music and want to get the alluring skill of playing the violin, you’ve come to the right place! It will take some time for you to sound good while playing, but the most important thing is that you start today.
Let’s get to the key elements in order to get familiarized with the violin:
Before getting to know how to play the violin, you must be familiar with its anatomy. Here are the parts of a violin:
1. Scroll – At the very top of the neck, where there is a carved spiral shape. Some scrolls are carved into various shapes like animals. But this is purely decorative and does not affect the sound of your violin.
2. Pegbox and Pegs – Beneath the scroll is the pegbox. This holds the tuning pegs that allow you to change the tightness of your strings. There are four strings, and thus, four tuning pegs. Turning the tuning pegs will change the pitch of each string.
3. Nut – Lies underneath the pegbox; has four grooves underneath the string. The taller the nut, the farther the strings are from the neck.
4. Neck – It is the long wooden piece that attaches the pegbox and the body of the violin. The neck supports the strings, keeping the string tension in place. This is also where the fingerboard rests.
5. Fingerboard – Often painted black, the fingerboard is where the pitch of each string is changed by pressing it down onto the surface of the board. In its normal, resting state, the strings do not actually touch the fingerboard.
6. Body – Made out of wood, this is the biggest part of the violin. The body has a top plate and back plate which are connected by ribs that run along the sides of the instrument. You can polish the body so that it retains its smoothness and sound quality.
7. Strings – There are four strings on the violin. They’re tuned in perfect fifths with the notes G, D, A, and E. The strings are played by drawing a bow across the strings. You can download a violin tuner on your mobile device. When you get better, you can learn how to tune by ear.
8. F-Holes – It is where the sound waves exit from the body when strings are drawn by the bow. This is how sound is produced by the violin.
9. Bridge – Different-shaped bridges determine the tone of the violin. Curved bridges are preferred by classical violinists because they’re easier to hit the right notes without touching the wrong string as compared to straight bridges.
10. Sounding Post – Located inside the violin, the sounding post is one of the parts responsible for sound production.
11. Chin rest – The chin rest is where players place their chins when they are playing the violin. It also helps hold the violin in place as the plater runs their hand up and down the fingerboard.
12. Fine Tuners – Fine tuners are what hold the strings in place. They are screws that press own a lever that tightens the strings.
13. Bow – It is a long wooden stick that is used to play the violin. The hair is the part of the bow that is drawn against the strings to produce sound.
Now that you know the parts of your violin, you can start practicing how to hold it. There are basically three things to take note for a proper violin stance:
You should first place the violin on your left shoulder, just on top of your left collarbone. If you prefer placing it on the soft spot behind your collarbone, that is acceptable too. Make sure that you are comfortable. After this, place the left side of your jaw on the chin rest.
Gently grasp the neck of the violin. Make sure that your wrist isn’t touching the neck, as that will tire out your hand. Your thumb should also be at the opposite of your pointer and middle finger.
Stand straight, with your feet shoulder-width apart to create a steady foundation. If you are seated, make sure to sit upright and towards the front of the chair. You should also avoid leaning back.
After getting used to holding the violin, you’re now ready to start playing it! We do suggest that you start by playing open strings as compared to playing notes. Let’s differentiate open strings and notes:
This is when you are running your bow through a string. You’re not pressing down on the strings onto the neck to create notes. It is advisable to start practicing the feel of running your bow through all the strings without breaking the sound.
Since you’re about to try notes, one thing to remember is that it might hurt the tips of your fingers since you’re pressing down on strings that are made of metal. You want to press down firmly on the strings as you run your bow through. Pressing down firmly will avoid producing a scratchy sound. Keep practicing transitioning between different notes.
A scale is a series of notes that span an octave. It is usually ordered by pitch. An easy and popular scale to practice for beginners is the D Major scale, which starts with the open D string. The scale sounds like the “Do, Re, Mi” song from “The Sound of Music.” Musicnotes is a great place to download free sheet music. They have a wide variety of songs available, like classical music to covers of today’s latest pop music.
There’s still a lot to learn if you want to master the violin. SkillSuccess has the perfect Beginner’s Violin Course that will teach you better techniques and let you in on all the violinist’s secrets! However, it’s still going to be your perseverance, practice, and effort that will help you improve and become a great violinist.
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