An analysis of violins for novices
Introduction to Violins
The violin is the smallest, highest pitched member of the violin family which encompasses the viola, cello and double bass. The four strings of the violin, G, D, A and E are tuned in intervals of a 5th and give the instrument a range of around 4 octaves. Violins originated in western culture and form a major part of an orchestra, divided into two groups, the 'first' and 'second' violins. Due to its popularity it has managed to spread into many cultures throughout the world. When beginning to learn the violin it is best to start off with a nice affordable student violin that will enable you to progress.
What size will suit me?
Violins are made in fractional sizes for different age groups. 9 different sizes exist. We will only examine the most popular sizes in this article. A full size version is (4/4) which equates to about 23 inches. Moving down through the range there is a (3/4) - 22 inches, a (1/2) - 20 inches and a (1/4 ) coming to 18inches. All adults of every size will use the full size (4/4). In the event of deciding upon a size for a child, the length between one's neck and the middle of one's left hand palm or left wrist dictates the size. Measurement takes place when the arm is extended outwards from the body and the hand is raised perpendicular to the body. Alternatively size is determined by age. Using this less accurate method a (3/4) should fit ages 10-11, a (1/2) will suit 8-9year olds and finally the (1/4) is common amongst 6-7 year olds. If in doubt a violin teacher will be able to take a measurement and provide some advice.
What else will I need to do now?
So you have purchased your new 4/4 violin and are unsure of the next step. The stick with a ribbon of white horsehair strung between the tip and frog at opposite ends is called a "bow" Before using the bow for the first time you will need to rub it with rosin. At the frog end, a screw adjuster tightens or loosens the hairs. Before playing it is recommended that one slightly tightens the hairs and then after use that they loosen them. Next you will need to tune the violin. Lots of information can be found online and it is possible to even purchase a violin tuner. Careful attention must be paid to the strings. Steel strings are cheap and durable but are hard on the fingers. Synthetic strings are more pliable under the fingers and young players find them easier to play with. Most violins will come with steel strings so its advisable to invest in some synthetic strings when starting off to make practice easier.
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Is there a particular brand I should consider?
Violins are manufactured by a large number of branded names and non branded varieties. For the purposes of this article, no one particular brand is being given the thumbs up. Usually aesthetics, budget and player ability will dictate what violin you purchase. Some brands on the market include Yamaha, Cremona, Palatino, Carlo Robelli and Suzuki violins. Prices amongst these makes vary greatly ranging from a hundred dollars to a couple of thousands. When starting off its best to concentrate on the bottom end of the ranges. You will find the brands have many models in the lower end of the market. Many unbranded beginner violins are also on the market which bear a near identical appearance and build quality to their branded counterparts. Remember lots of beginners don't stick with it and their initial enthusiasm for learning to play fades when they realise perfection won't happen immediately.
Check out this tkae on it from this funny guy, but there are a few good pointers in there. Well worth a watch!
There are may who say that the viola player is the butt of all jokes.
How about violin musicians?
I think the fact the violinists so far out number viola players that this this would be a little unrealistic, but if you can think of any good jokes, please let mek now and I will add them!