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#655295 - 09/15/02 08:09 PM The Violin
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4111
I was thinking of composing a sonata for piano and violin, but I have little knowledge of the violin. What is a good book to read or other outlets of information? I can start with a few questions here, first, how does a violin play a chord? Is it possible to play one like on the piano, or do they have to break it up like an arpeggio? They can also play many notes at once correct? So a fugue would be possible? Listening to the violin repertoire is good to get some ideas, but the technique of the instrument is hard to grasp by one who does not play it. Thanks! (These same questions may be applied to other string instruments, like the Cello etc.)

#655296 - 09/16/02 06:35 PM Re: The Violin
MichaelP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/02
Posts: 69
Loc: San Diego
A two-note chord can be played on the violin without breaking the chord into an arpeggio. Intervals of up to a tenth are comfortable for most fiddle players. Chromatic running thirds at high speed are commonplace, running sixths can be done somewhat more clumsily and slowly, and running chromatic fourths are impossible at almost any speed, no matter how slow.

Three-note chords are usually broken 1-2 and 2-3, if they are sustained, or can be played all three notes at a time--sort of--in a very short marcato style.

Four-note chords are, of course, always broken.

String music is not written with more than 4 notes to a chord, since the player has only 4 fingers available to stop the strings.

The best example of fugal writing for the violin is found in the six sonatas and partitas for violin solo by Bach. Look at the g minor and C major fugues. As you will note, the fugal structures are more implied than stated. These fugues, along with the Chaconne, push chordal writing for the violin about as far as it has ever been pushed. I will tell you from experience that they are punishing for the left hand.

You would probably find it instructive simply to play through some samplings of violin music on the piano. That should give you a quick immersion in what the fiddle can and can't do. In addition to the Bach pieces I mentioned, you might also want to look at the six solo sonatas for violin by Eugene Ysaye and perhaps two or three of the Beethoven sonatas for piano and violin. Oh yes, and the 24 caprices for solo violin by Paganini.

#655297 - 09/17/02 11:24 PM Re: The Violin
StanSteel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 646
Loc: Los Angeles
Michael thank you for those details. You answered a lot of questions I had about the violin but was scared to ask. There's another thing that I've always wondered. How do you play long sustained notes, like at the end of symphonies and such. Howcome you don't run out of bow length? What's the trick?
"War does not determine who is right; only who is left."

#655298 - 09/18/02 09:51 AM Re: The Violin
mrenaud Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 1323
Loc: Switzerland
The trick is changing the direction of the bow inaudibly. Or almost inaudibly, depending on the capabilities of the violinist.
I have an ice cream. I cannot mail it, for it will melt.


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