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The violin

The violin technique


Range, tuning, sound and playing techniques of the violin, for composers and arrangers.
The violin is the most acute instrument of the string quartet, that includes the violin, the viola, the cello and the bass.
It has four strings separated by an interval of perfect fifth, and is written in treble clef at real pitch. The four strings are: G, D, A and E.
The range of the violin goes from the open string G up to the extreme high C note, above the trebble clef.
The violin technique seems simple enough: the right hand holds a bow that rubs the strings of the instrument along the neck, held itself by the left hand of the musician.
The left hand uses four fingers only on the neck of the violin, because the thumb is not used.
There are several hand positions, from the first position in the low register, up to the seventh position in the high register.
When the violinist performs fast or particularly difficult patterns, they will be easier to play within a same position.
We can produce different sounds such as the double, triple and quadruple strings (chords of two, three or four sounds). These chords are easier to obtain if they include intervals of fifth, fourth and sixth, that match the natural tuning of the instrument.
We can also produce "pizzicatos" which are very dry sounds obtained by plucking the strings with the index finger of the right hand, or "overtones", some kind of bright and high sounds obtained by touching slightly the strings with the bow.
There are also different bowing techniques producing varied sounds.
This is the case of the "staccato", a very short and detached sound, the "legato" in which the notes are linked together with or without vibrato, or the "portamento" where the notes are slightly detached and pressed, touching the strings "on the neck", that gives a round and soft sound, the "pizzicatos" produced by pinching the strings, or the "tremolos", a sort of shudder obtained by a short and quick vibration of the bow on the strings.

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