What would the orchestra be without the violin, the main instrument of the symphonies?
The violin is in charge of carrying the melody of the orchestra and of various modern songs, therefore, its importance in the traditional and current music scene is incredible. Without the need for cables, it produces good music and, knowing the elements that make it up, you will be able to get closer to this great instrument.
The violin is an instrument whose origin can be traced back more than 5 centuries ago. Although this product, as we know it today, was made known for the first time in the 16th century, its history is directly linked to other instruments from the Middle Ages, such as the rebec and the lute, who were the predecessors. of the modern violin.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Claudio Monteverdi and Antonio Vivaldi are just some of the names that can be found among the groups of great violinists in history. These musicians, together with their violin, managed to revolutionize the musical world and their influence is still present in the 21st century. This makes it easier to understand the great importance of the violin in the music scene, because, in addition to its beautiful melodies, it was an instrument that helped pave the way for orchestras, being the protagonist of legendary works and sonatas.
Which is the better violin: first or second?
Actually, there is no physical difference between a first and a second violin, the distinction is only noticeable at the moment the melody begins.
The violin is, without a doubt, the leading instrument of the orchestra. This is not only due to historical reasons, when, in the absence of a conductor, it was the violinists who set the tone, but also to the sonatas and musical works that are still played today.
The string section in an orchestra is the main section and the first violins are in charge of leading the sonata. Among these, it is possible that there is the first violin, who is the one who has the closest relationship with the conductor and the one who guides the rest of the violinists during the musical piece.
The second violins, for their part, are in charge of making the first ones stand out. Instead of carrying the melody, these act as backups and usually sound an octave lower than the first ones. Both violins are of great importance, since the harmony between the two and the combined musical details are responsible for the orchestra having an impeccable sound.
The parts of the violin
Before you can play the violin excellently, you need to become familiar with it, so knowing its parts is just as important as learning the best playing technique.
- The scroll: This is the top of the violin, also called the head. This differs between models, because, usually, it is a piece where the artisans leave their personal mark. Most of the time it’s spiral, but a lot of the time it’s not. There is the pegbox, where the pegs will enter to make the tuning of the strings
- Fingerboard and neck : the neck is the wooden structure where the fingerboard is attached, where the violinist will mark each musical note with his fingers, pressing the strings that remain on it.
- Strings: The violin is a 4-string instrument. From the left the G string begins, followed by the D, A and Mi strings, the first being the lowest and the last the highest. These are made of resistant materials to withstand the friction of the bow and the pressure of the fingers on the upper part.
- Box: the resonance box is responsible for the sound to occur and is made up of two boards. The harmonic table, that is, the upper top, and the bottom. The top cover is the one that shows the fs, also known as ears or eses. These are the little curved pieces at the bottom front of the violin, resonance openings that take care of the oscillation of the soundboard. This box, most of the time, is made of maple and spruce.
- Bridge and soul: the bridge has various functions. The first one is to keep the strings separated from each other and at the right height to sound correctly. The second function is to transmit the vibrations from the strings to the top of the violin. The soul is the cylindrical piece that is between the bottom and the table, in the internal part of the violin. The vibrations of the strings are carried throughout the body of the violin due to the soul and for that reason, without it, it is impossible to produce the sound.
- Tailpiece: the tailpiece is the piece that keeps the strings in place, as it keeps them anchored to the body of the violin. It is made of wood or aluminum. On some occasions, it may also contain micro tuners to keep the strings in tune.
- Curb and pad: Maintaining the correct position when playing the violin is quite difficult and can cause pain throughout the body, after spending a long time playing the instrument. To make it easier, the violin comes with two pieces designed exclusively for the comfort of the violinist. This makes playing the instrument easier and has fewer negative effects on the body, such as strain on the muscles. The curb, usually made of wood, serves as a support for the violinist’s chin, which, in addition to providing comfort, prevents the instrument’s varnish from wearing away due to direct contact with the skin. The pad, for its part, provides rest to another area of the body, in this case, the shoulder. This piece is not compulsory, but many musicians prefer it so as not to overexert themselves. By raising the violin a little, the tilt of the head will not be so marked either. Most often the pad is made of metal, but for softness it is covered with rubber.
- Bow: this piece, although it is not part of the body of the violin itself, is necessary to be able to play it. It is made of wood and a rod with bristles, responsible for rubbing the strings. Do some stretches, take the violin out of the case and start practicing until you become the first violin, the absolute leader of the orchestra.