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Violin music question
#2934419 01/15/20 09:19 PM
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I know it's a piano forum smile BUT I also know that we musicians are a diverse bunch! I have a guitar/drummer friend that is interested in learning violin, tending towards "fiddle". Is there anyone here that can suggest a forum or book for him to use? He's not interested in a formal education or a teacher. Thank you so much!


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Re: Violin music question
Ebony and Ivory #2934430 01/15/20 09:50 PM
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The violin/fiddle is not an easy instrument to learn to play. Ask me how I know that... smile

But I do have a suggestion, in lieu of finding a "fiddle teacher" (but the teacher would be better).

There are major similarities between a mandolin and a violin/fiddle, in terms of tuning, specific notes and chord fingerings. A mandolin is a fretted stringed instrument, and can be playing similar to a guitar (which is also a fretted instrument). If your friend can learn some notes, chords on the mandolin, that info can be directly transferred to the violin/fiddle, although the fiddle has no frets. Some beginner violin/fiddle players will put a narrow strand of tape on the fingerboard of the violin/fiddle, to act as fret/note locations for reference.

A violin/fiddle is tuned the same as the mandolin, from the bottom string up, E, A, D, G. However, the mandolin is a double stringed instrument, similar to a 12 string guitar, except both strings of the mandolin are tuned to the same octave.

I can play the mandolin and the fiddle a little. Your friend can start with playing single notes on the violin/fiddle and then start with the double notes. Also, there is a certain skill that needs to be learned in using the bow, which is not necessary on the mandolin; the biggest problem I always had with the violin bow, was trying to keep it from bouncing while playing. Adding some weight to the tail of the bow helped a little. From there, it was pure technique and reducing the nervousness and tension as much as possible to keep bow from bouncing while playing. Also, the bow horsehair can be loosened or tightened, which can help prevent the bouncing.

But learning to play the mandolin was easier than learning to play the violin/fiddle, and the similarities made it more convenient than it would have been otherwise, at least in my own opinion.

Once I learned how to play the "Orange blossom special" on the fiddle, I kind of reached my goal and didn't pursue honing my fiddle playing skills much further. I get my violin/fiddle out on occasion and try to play a tune or two; I loaned my mandolin to my nephew, and he has never returned it. smile

Good luck!

Rick


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Re: Violin music question
Ebony and Ivory #2934443 01/15/20 10:17 PM
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I played violin through school and picked it up again in the last few years. I like this book a lot:

https://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Fiddl...c+fiddling&qid=1579140821&sr=8-1

And this is an excellent series, there are several books to work through:

https://www.amazon.com/Essential-El...ing+violin&qid=1579140961&sr=8-5


Lisa

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Re: Violin music question
Rickster #2934447 01/15/20 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Rickster


A violin/fiddle is tuned the same as the mandolin, from the bottom string up, E, A, D, G.

Also, there is a certain skill that needs to be learned in using the bow, which is not necessary on the mandolin; the biggest problem I always had with the violin bow, was trying to keep it from bouncing while playing. Adding some weight to the tail of the bow helped a little. From there, it was pure technique and reducing the nervousness and tension as much as possible to keep bow from bouncing while playing. Also, the bow horsehair can be loosened or tightened, which can help prevent the bouncing.



E is actually the high string on the violin, G is the lowest string. πŸ‘

Bowing is the most difficult technique because everything depends upon it: tone, speed, dynamics, articulation, etc. Fingering is obviously important, but without good bowing technique, getting anywhere with the instrument will be impossible. It's a very difficult instrument to play well, or to even get a decent sound out of. It takes most students years before they can get a nice, even tone without scratching sqeaks and headache-inducing sounds, lol. Piano is easier to get a nice sound immediately, but reading the music is hard. Reading music for violin is super easy, but it's WAY challenging to make it sound good.

To keep the bow from bouncing, you literally have to practice long even strokes, pressing the bow firmly but smoothly against the strings, for weeks on end if not months. I'm not kidding, it takes a lot of willpower to continue without giving up, just because it sounds so horrible for so long. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


Lisa

Playing RCM 7 & 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Violin music question
ebonykawai #2934469 01/16/20 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
it takes a lot of willpower to continue without giving up, just because it sounds so horrible for so long. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Pretty sure the only thing that sounds worse than someone learning to play a violin is someone learning to play bagpipes! πŸ‘Ώ


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Re: Violin music question
Ebony and Ivory #2934471 01/16/20 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Ebony and Ivory
I know it's a piano forum smile BUT I also know that we musicians are a diverse bunch! I have a guitar/drummer friend that is interested in learning violin, tending towards "fiddle". Is there anyone here that can suggest a forum or book for him to use? He's not interested in a formal education or a teacher. Thank you so much!

I already answered this in the teacher forum.

I am registered in ArtistWorks with Darol Anger, in the fiddle section. I am familiar with him as a musician, fiddler, and also teacher: excellent teacher. Anyone who knows me from my posts over the years knows I don't say such things lightly. Also see my answer in the teacher forum.

What your friend will get there is an array of prerecorded lessons at three levels plus a fourth section on Bluegrass, plus written material and backing tracks. While registered you get to see videos submitted by other students, organized either from "recent to less recent" (a few hundred), or by lesson (If you submitted a video for lesson X, we can see all student submissions for lesson X) - these are always followed up by teacher feedback. That feedback always looks geared to the student. It is organized but not "formal" - not stiff like classical often can be.

link to site

I actually started out with lessons in classical violin. Things went wrong. I'm starting again. The relative looseness, especially in bowing, makes this a good choice for me where I'm at. You will also see things about chords, modes, rhythms which your friend will probably be at home in.

Re: Violin music question
ebonykawai #2934473 01/16/20 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai

Bowing is the most difficult technique because everything depends upon it: tone, speed, dynamics, articulation, etc.

Here's something that I really liked in that course when I first went on the site a few years ago (I was way too busy with piano and building my business to be able to continue then). When I did classical, there was the average "pressure", average speed, average sounding point, everything to make an average, acceptable student sound. In fact, I didn't even know that there was such a thing as sounding point in terms of choices. The fact of trying to make everything average-perfect is already an anxiety-producing pressure. ..... The lesson that impressed me was where students, still at the beginner level, were told to experiment. Try every combination of pressure, speed, sounding point, and find out what kinds of sounds you end up with .... silly sounds, squeaky sounds, scary growly sounds, unearthly sounds, beautiful sounds. For me this was a whole psychological shift. You can't do anything wrong. You can discover. Through the discovery ultimately you get more and more control. .......... Which you will never really get when you follow a single "safe" instruction.

Re: Violin music question
Ebony and Ivory #2934475 01/16/20 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai,
E is actually the high string on the violin, G is the lowest string. πŸ‘

Hi ebonykawai,

When I said the mandolin and violin is tuned the same from the bottom up, E, A, D, G, that is the same as top down, G, D, A, E. What I said is the same as what you said, except I guess I didn't say it right... bottom string, E, is the high note, and the top string, G, is the low note. At least that is what I meant to say. smile

And, you are right, the violin/fiddle is not at all easy to learn to play. It takes a lot of practice to be decent at it, and a lot more to be good at it.

Here is a pic of me and my two sons playing some bluegrass music a few years ago at the technical college where I used to work. The next pic is me and my two sons about 30 years ago, when we had a family bluegrass gospel group. My youngest son was holding my violin in the pic because his bass guitar (same one he is playing at the tech college) was bigger than he was... my how time flies. smile
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Re: Violin music question
Rickster #2934689 01/16/20 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by ebonykawai,
E is actually the high string on the violin, G is the lowest string. πŸ‘

Hi ebonykawai,

When I said the mandolin and violin is tuned the same from the bottom up, E, A, D, G, that is the same as top down, G, D, A, E. What I said is the same as what you said, except I guess I didn't say it right... bottom string, E, is the high note, and the top string, G, is the low note. At least that is what I meant to say. smile

And, you are right, the violin/fiddle is not at all easy to learn to play. It takes a lot of practice to be decent at it, and a lot more to be good at it.

Here is a pic of me and my two sons playing some bluegrass music a few years ago at the technical college where I used to work. The next pic is me and my two sons about 30 years ago, when we had a family bluegrass gospel group. My youngest son was holding my violin in the pic because his bass guitar (same one he is playing at the tech college) was bigger than he was... my how time flies. smile
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Rick, what you say is correct for plucked string instruments, but it drives me batty that plucked string players call the it the "bottom" string simply because it's the one closest to the floor! You will never hear a bowed instrument player call their highest-pitched string the "bottom" string, partially because there isn't the same physical relationship with the instrument and strings being oriented perpendicular to the floor, and partially because it doesn't make any sense musically in any context.

If you ask a recording engineer, even, what the "bottom" refers to, they will say lower, or bass, notes. This is true across musical genres as well.

Re: Violin music question
Tyrone Slothrop #2934693 01/16/20 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
it takes a lot of willpower to continue without giving up, just because it sounds so horrible for so long. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Pretty sure the only thing that sounds worse than someone learning to play a violin is someone learning to play bagpipes! πŸ‘Ώ


That's probably a very accurate representation, LOL!


Lisa

Playing RCM 7 & 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Violin music question
keystring #2934704 01/16/20 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
The lesson that impressed me was where students, still at the beginner level, were told to experiment. Try every combination of pressure, speed, sounding point, and find out what kinds of sounds you end up with .... silly sounds, squeaky sounds, scary growly sounds, unearthly sounds, beautiful sounds. For me this was a whole psychological shift. You can't do anything wrong. You can discover. Through the discovery ultimately you get more and more control. .......... Which you will never really get when you follow a single "safe" instruction.


Exactly, it takes a huge amount of experimenting, and then every violin is different, too! They just aren't like pianos, which can sound extremely similar by manufacturer. Violins are totally different, so while the student is also discovering their own ability to make a good sound, they are also dealing with the violin, which may or may not have limitations of its own due to how it was made. A lot of times students are just playing cheap, horribly made violins that wouldn't sound good even when played by a virtuoso. It took me years to find and be able to afford a good violin, and there's still a model just above it that would sound better, but for now, I'm good, LOL.


Lisa

Playing RCM 7 & 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Violin music question
Ebony and Ivory #2934711 01/16/20 10:44 AM
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Great pics, Rick! Yes, sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying, I'm not familiar with guitars and such so top and bottom string didn't register, LOL.


Lisa

Playing RCM 7 & 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Violin music question
Ebony and Ivory #2934758 01/16/20 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Great pics, Rick! Yes, sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying, I'm not familiar with guitars and such so top and bottom string didn't register, LOL.

Thanks, ebonykawai!

Seems like I get a lot wrong here when it comes to music terminology, or even playing music. Not sure why I hang around here since I'm so out of place and out of touch with what's right and proper.

I've played my musical instruments for recording sessions in a recording studio in Nashville Tennessee when I was younger, and the recording engineers understood my music terminology just fine. But I guess I still don't know what string is what...

I was only trying to help in this thread, but next time I'll leave it to experts who know it all.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Violin music question
Ebony and Ivory #2934791 01/16/20 01:13 PM
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But...if you replace a tuning peg on a Stradivarius, is it still a Stradivarius?


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Re: Violin music question
guyl #2934804 01/16/20 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by guyl
But...if you replace a tuning peg on a Stradivarius, is it still a Stradivarius?


Yes, it certainly is, but if you replace the top or the back then it is a composite violin. No sane owner of a Strad would replace the top. The tops are all patched numerous times and the luthiers have x-rays on file of all the work.

Most Strads, and other fine violins, have been changed over the centuries in order to make them louder so that they could be heard better in large concert halls. I believe that the fingerboards were changed and the string tension was increased to make them louder.

I spent ten years studying the violin with a wonderful Russian teacher. He was a taskmaster. If I had started studying with him as a child perhaps I could have become something. Oh, well, I don’t really miss that sound under my year and I take pleasure in playing the classical guitar, an instrument that whispers and does not shriek.

I believe they recorded the violin a lot in the early days because the sound of it could be picked up easily by the crude recording equipment they were using.

Last edited by LarryK; 01/16/20 01:29 PM.

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Re: Violin music question
Ebony and Ivory #2934817 01/16/20 01:38 PM
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LOL, that should be β€œear” and not β€œyear.” Oh, for a longer editing period.


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Re: Violin music question
Rickster #2935074 01/17/20 12:07 AM
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Actually the strings question intrigued me and Rick, you shouldn't go out in a huff. wink We are, in fact, used to looking at "high notes" and "low notes" pitch-wise, and as such E should be the high string, and G should be the low string. I had to learn that G is the "top" one, E the "bottom" one so I got used to it, but I don't know if it's actually better. Maybe if you imagine what you're reaching toward, and if you go for what is up near your ear (classical violin position) then you like to think of G as the high string. But if the think is lying in its case, it's no higher than any other string. wink

Yesterday in review I was watching Darol carefully explain "upbow", "downbow", the upper and lower and middle part of the bow. Those things were not at all straightforward to me when I was a beginner. For one thing, when you do a downbow, you are bringing the violin strings ever closer to the top of the bow. I have the direction-problems that cause dyslexia and though I've been spared that, it came pretty darn close. This whole top bottom left right thing made me batty. Maybe E should be called the highest string, for its sound.


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