Violin : What is it?
Violins are string instruments played by sliding a bow over a set of strings. They are made up of an hourglass-shaped top and a long neck, with four strings stretched vertically along the center. Traditionally, the top of a violin is made of spruce, the neck made of maple, and the strings are made of nylon or metal wire. The bow is usually wood with horsehairs strung over it. Violins are sometimes called fiddles, although this refers to violins specifically used in folk music.
Violins are the smallest member of the string family, and can also reach the highest notes. Their strings are tuned in perfect fifths, an interval equivalent to seven keys on a piano keyboard. They can be played sitting or standing up, usually held with the bottom resting between the shoulder and the chin. A curved chinrest is often provided for this purpose. Violin sizes are indicated in fractions starting from 1/16, usually a children’s model, up to 4/4, the largest size used by adults.
Kinds of Violins include the following:
- Acoustic or non-electric violins use vibrations from the strings and bow strings to produce sound.
- They have hollow bodies that allow the notes to resonate, amplifying the sound with minimum distortion.
- Their sounds are fuller and warmer than electric violins, but have limited range and cannot be corrected for noise and pitch.
- Most new models can be connected to microphones or speakers for amplification, although this can cause distortion and noise.
- They are ideal for beginners because they help develop control for tone, pitch, and volume.
- Electric violins convert the string vibrations into notes using electronic processors.
- Their strings are usually made of steel with metal cores, allowing them to be connected to magnetic or piezoelectric pickups for amplification.
- They usually have solid wood bodies and may deviate from the traditional C-curved shape of acoustic violins.
- They can have up to three extra strings, which can be a low C, high B, F or low F, or B flat.
- They sound sharper and stronger than acoustic violins.
- They can also be connected to electronic processors to produce effects, such as delays, pitch correction and distortion.
- Electric-acoustic violins have resonating bodies similar to acoustic violins, but also have magnetic pickups.
- They can be used as acoustic or electric violins, but do not offer the full advantage of either type.
- They are often made of materials other than wood, such as metal and carbon fiber.
- Their strings are usually designed for acoustic play, but may be replaced with metal strings to convert them to electric violins.
|Wood quality: Choose a violin made of flamed or quilted wood for a more polished look and longer-lasting performance. Older stored woods have better tone than ordinary spruce or maple, although the difference is seldom noticeable and will do for most beginners and amateur players. Choose ebony wood for smaller fittings like the chin rests, endpins, and tuning pegs.|
Size: Choose a violin that is proportionate to your arm length. The length of the neck should be equal to the distance from your neck to the center of your palm. Different manufacturers may have different sizing charts, but generally a 1/8-size violin should suit 16½-inch arm lengths, moving up in two-inch increments. Adult violins are usually full-sized 4/4 models.
Parts replacement: Choose a violin with easily replaceable parts for children and beginners. This will allow you to gradually upgrade the violin as your child progresses, instead of buying an expensive starter violin that they will later outgrow. Look for those with replaceable bridges and strings.
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