Viola vs. violin is the age-old battle of the stringed instruments. While the viola sometimes is referred to as a “big violin,” there’s more to their differences than that. Along with the size of the viola, it also has a lower pitch and greater depth of sound than its more famous cousin.
Due to the violin’s popularity, it can commonly be thought that the viola isn’t as important to the orchestra or symphony as whole. … Read more
There comes a time in every musician’s life when they have to decide the type of investment they are willing and able to make in their instrument. If you are a beginner or intermediate cellist who has previously rented a cello, then it might be the right time for you to consider purchasing your next instrument.
Your first time buying a cello is a major event in your musical career, so be sure to take … Read more
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It’s that time of the year when college seniors are looking forward to being handed their diplomas and branching out into their chosen field. For some people, it may be easy to decide what path to follow after college. For others, however, the prospects aren’t as obvious.
If you are going to college to study music, you may find yourself wondering what to do with your music education degree once you graduate. The music industry … Read more
For upright bass players that use a bow, rosin is a necessity, since an un-rosined bow will not create the friction required to produce sound. However, choosing bass rosin can be a complex process. While there are a few standard, reliable rosins that work, there are many new rosins available for string players, so picking the one that’s best for you can get confusing.
First, a little primer about bass rosin: it tends to be … Read more
You have decided to break into the world of stringed instruments, but you are not sure where to start. From violins and violas to guitars and a host of other instruments, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you.
Today we will look at the cello, which offers deep, warm, brilliant tones that are singularly arresting. The cello can access a range of musical emotions, allowing composers to feature it in … Read more
Here are a few articles from our “Caring for Your Instrument” series — everything you need to know about taking care of your instrument and understanding when it may need the help of a professional luthier.
Instrument Care Checklist
Checking Your Bridge for Straightness & Warping
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bow Bugs
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Ask a group of violinists why they have more than one bow, and you’re likely to get a variety of responses. Most will reply that they keep a backup bow in their case in the event that one breaks or if there is a concern that their primary bow may sustain damage at a particular venue, especially at outdoor performances.
Other responses as to why violinists use multiple and/or different types of bows include:
… Read more
If you’re a string player, you’re probably familiar with a variety of famous string quartets. There are classics such as the Busch String Quartet known for its performance of Beethoven quartets, but you can also find more modern groups like the Vitamin String Quartet who play instrumental covers of popular songs. The success of such groups may have inspired you to think about forming your own string quartet. After all, string quartets are one of … Read more
With a rich, emotional sound that has often been described as the closest approximation by an instrument to the human vocal range, the cello is a favorite stringed instrument for many musicians. Known for its versatility, the cello is a worthy addition to any production, from classical and pop to folk, soul, metal — even punk.
Getting the sound you want when recording the cello can be challenging, however, especially when it comes to things … Read more
Many fiddle players have only experienced playing their instruments within the standard tuning format of GDAE. Each tuning is used to achieve a different key, and trying alternative tunings can allow you to coax new and different sounds out of your fiddle, including the open string drone. (A drone is a string above or below the melody that vibrates throughout the piece as you play.)
The great majority of fiddles have friction pegs, the connection … Read more
Have you (or your child) recently decided to take the first step on a musical journey by learning to play a string instrument? If so, congratulations!
Learning something new can seem overwhelming at first — but take comfort in knowing that many others have taken up a string instrument with no prior experience, and while some go on to have careers as musicians and teachers, many others have found ways to incorporate occasional string playing … Read more
When it comes to string instruments, maintenance is key to producing your desired sound. The strings will wear out over time, and may even break in the course of playing. As a result, regular string replacements are necessary. Some string instruments will need updated strings sooner than others, like violins or violas. By contrast, instruments like a cello can go a little longer without replacing the strings.
Most cellists find themselves replacing cello strings roughly … Read more
The benefits of music have long been a subject of intense study and debate. For centuries music has been a well-known form of artistic expression. Musicians and audiences alike often discuss the transformative power of music. But can music really affect human behavior? Can listening to music really make us smarter, affect our moods – both happy and sad – or even help us with sleeping?
Studies do suggest that playing music can help improve … Read more
When new to playing the violin, you are not just learning to read and play music, you are also learning the instrument itself. To start with, you will gain a basic understanding about how to properly hold the bow and violin, how to tune it and what accessories to have on hand. Violins themselves are small and easily portable, but they do require extra gear, like a case to protect the instrument from temperature changes … Read more