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Missing Violin

A couple of years ago, Minnesota Orchestra violinist Chouhei Min had her Guadagnini violin (price tag: over $500,000) stolen from the Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Let’s see what made this missing violin so precious and special.

Min said ‘This really is every musician’s nightmare who owns such a fine instrument’, and she added: ‘It sounded just like something that belongs to me, my personality sounded in it, the instrument responded to the way how I worked on it. It’s just like raising your child, and when you are a decent parent, you will raise a decent child.’

Wouldn’t you think that a church could be the safest place to keep such a treasure while you’re having a coffee with members of the audience after a recital? Well, apparently not, as Min’s 231-year-old valuable violin was stolen from Minneapolis’ Mount Olive Lutheran Church on Sunday night, May 16th.

It is a violin by J B Guadagnini, Turin, bearing his label dated 1778, and is a good example of violins of that period. The varnish has a red-brown color, and the instrument’s belly is spruce with open grain. The back is a one-piece maple, and the maker added some pieces in the lower flanks. The violin was originally from a George Hart collection and is listed in the Guadagnini book by Doring (The Ex-Hart).

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The World’s Most Expensive Violins

Do you want to know which are the most expensive violins? Well, all listed violins come with their own great stories. These instruments are famous for their amazing resonance, rarity, great value, and of course their unique quality of sound. These violins are legendary and their prices make them so famous that they are even are included in a few Math practice tests to help students develop their number sense. No wonder, that many wealthy people choose them as an investment, so let’s check them out.

  • The Titanic Violin (Arthur Catton Lancaster) $1.700.000

This violin was discovered in 2006 in a pretty damaged condition in a British home. After a few years of research, it appeared this was the violin used by Wallace Hartley at the Titanic’s very last moments

  • The Lady Tennant (Antonio Stradivari – 1699) $2.032.000
    This antique violin was made in 1699 by Antonio Stradivari of Cremona, the Italian famous luthier. The violin was actually built 1 year before his so-called ‘golden’ years began. In 2005, this violin was auctioned at Christie’s in New York for the record sum of $2,032,000.

Can You Learn To Play Violin Online? Yes, Very Well!

Do your friends and family members say that it is impossible to learn to play violin online? Well, then they are merely discouraging you. The fact is you can easily learn to play the violin online if you take online classes seriously and if you practice a lot.

There are lots of people that are keen to learn an instrument (even in their older age) and they are able to learn the instrument well by taking online classes. Online classes give you the opportunity to learn an instrument easily from your home and you don’t have to go miles away to attend coaching class to learn to play violin online.

Of course, online coaching is different as compared to a regular coaching class in your area with music teachers for individual students or for a group of students. Therefore there are some advantages and some disadvantages to learning to play the violin online. These are as follows.

Playing Violin for Beginners

In order to start learning to play the violin, you will need a few things. These are just the very basics of what you need, of course. First, we’ll discuss how to evaluate your first violin. First of all, you’ll need…a violin! Hopefully, this isn’t a surprise. There is a wide variety of violins out there. So let’s check out all about playing violin for beginners!

Take also a look at the following video about a 24-year old beginner from Norway learned to play the violin. This violin was the first instrument she learned to play and the video includes footage since she started to record since she first began playing the violin.

If you have a used violin sitting in front of you that you are considering, check the following: Make sure that it has a bridge that is installed and upright under the strings. Make sure that the front, side, and back panels are not separating from each other.

The image below shows you the areas to especially check for this problem. If you find this problem, you should consult a violin repair shop if you are still interested in using the violin.

How to Tune Your Violin Without an Electronic Tuner

The first important thing to remember when you are tuning your violin is to listen to the sound you are tuning to first! Don’t just start playing the strings first. You need to hear the correct pitch before you can adjust your strings. So let’s check out how to tune your violin without an electronic tuner.

Basically, the idea is to listen to the note and to adjust the string until it matches. This can be harder than expected if you have never tuned an instrument before. However, if you have tuned before or if you have had ear training before, you should be able to get the hang of it.

So first, we talk about tuning your violin WITHOUT an electronic tuner and in the second part of this post, we’ll look at how to tune your violin WITH and electronic tuning device.

How to Tune Your Violin

Tuning your violin is usually something you leave to your instructor or another more experienced player, because of the possibility of breaking strings. However, sometimes, you don’t have that luxury! Because of that, we will cover how to tune your violin all by yourself on this page.

Note: There is always the possibility of breaking strings when you are tuning. Most of the time, when a string breaks, it doesn’t damage anything or anyone. However, be very careful when tuning. There is always the slim chance that a string will break and strike you. Beginners are more at risk of breaking strings, usually by changing the pitch of a string upwards too fast or too far.

The two parts of the violin that are used when tuning are the pegs and the fine tuners. It’s very common to accidentally try to tune using the wrong peg or tuner, so pay attention to what peg/fine tuner you’re turning!

Learning to Play the Violin

Learning to play the violin can be very well possible if you keep five things in mind. Whenever you learn anything you have to follow basic guidelines, whether you are experienced or a beginner, you have to follow the basics well.

If you will ignore the basics, you will never able to learn the violin with proper technique. Learning to play the violin involves both mental and physical activity. Mentally it involves strategy, solid determination, and true commitment.

Physically it involves dexterity, muscle activity, and involvement of your eyes and hands. Here are five important things that you can not ignore to learn to play the violin in a perfect way. These are as follows.

How to Maintain Your Violin

First of all, remember that taking care of your violin is very important. You cannot skip wiping off the strings or be loosening the bow very much at all. Your violin is fairly delicate and does not tolerate much abuse. There are a few simple routines to follow that will keep your instrument in excellent health! So let’s take a closer look at how to maintain your violin.

Violin Bow Maintenance – Tighten your Bow Properly

Most bows only require two or three full turns of the screw, which is the metal (usually) octagonal piece on the non-pointy end of the bow. Turning the screw makes the bow hair more or less taut.

To make sure the hair on the bow is at about the correct tautness, look at the space between the hair and the stick in the middle of the bow. The width of that space should be about the width of a standard pencil. The hair should not be much further from the stick than that. If it is, the bow is over tightened and this stresses where the hair is fastened on the bow, causing hair to fall out eventually.

How to Choose the Right Rosin

What is Violin Rosin? Well, violin rosin is a hard block of specially prepared sap from specific kinds of trees. You put it on the hair of the violin bow, so the bow’s hair will be rough and sticky enough to make the strings vibrate when you bow on the strings. If you get a bow that has never had rosin put on the bow hair, the bow makes no sound at all when you try to play on the violin with it! So here we’ll talk about how to choose the right rosin.

If you use a lighter rosin (for example an amber rosin) then it will be less sticky. This means that the bow hair will glide more on the strings, rather than stick and grab on them. This is usually better for the beginning violinist because you’re still learning how to best control the bow on the string. However, it can mean that you can’t get the full range of volume from the violin.

If you use a dark, soft rosin, then you will notice that your bow hair will stick to the strings more as you play. By “stick to the strings”, I don’t mean that the bow won’t move! I mean that the bow hair will be just a little harder to move when it touches the strings. The sound may be a little harsher, especially for beginners. This can mean that you’ll be able to draw more sound (volume) from your instrument, but you’ll have to control the harshness while you’re playing.

Best Violin Bow

What is the bow and how to get the best violin bow?

Your bow is a wooden or fiberglass stick that has horsehair stretched on it, kept tautly. If your bow’s stick is made of wood, it is usually one of the following woods:

  • Cherrywood
  • Brazilwood
  • Pernambuco

Typically, the black parts of the bow are plastic or ebony wood. The screw is metal. Sometimes there is mother-of-pearl on the frog (the dot on the frog) and sometimes that’s plastic. Take also a look at this video about relatively cheap and expensive bows:

The bow hair, which is white horsehair, has rosin applied to it that makes the normally smooth horsehair sticky. Rosin’s stickiness is what makes the hair create the violin’s characteristic sound when it is drawn across the strings.

Violin for Kids

There are a lot of great benefits for teens who practice and play the violin! Most of these benefits remain the same no matter what age your young adult is and no matter when they started playing. Playing the violin for kids is just a great experience!

Young adults often get experiences from the violin that will impact positively while going through some of the toughest parts of their lives.

Violin in School, a Social Experience
Most teens learn to play violin in school, so most of this page focuses on that. However, some are homeschooled while learning to play, but most homeschoolers simply go to a local public school to participate in the orchestra class there.

Teenagers, you may generally continue to learn violin skills in school, continuing your orchestral journey from elementary school. Generally, you may identify not only with being part of the musical group but also with your instrument!

Violin vs Viola

Violin vs Viola – the differences

We often are asked what’s the difference between a violin and a viola. Well, the shape of the instruments is identical, the number of strings is identical, and the sounds these instruments produce is similar, or at times, almost identical.

At orchestral performances, violins and violas are usually adjacent, strengthening the perplexity about the instruments. This makes the distinction between a violin and a viola all the more challenging. The fact of the matter is also that some parts of viola solos are speaking and sounding much like cadenzas on a violin, which raises the question “What are then the real differences between a violin and a viola?”

Well, first of all, the strings used on the instruments are tuned differently. The four strings of a violin are tuned (from low to high) G-D-A-E. The thinnest string, the E-string, can produce thin, bright, birdlike sounds. Through this string, the musician can produce unusual, very high pitches, the perfect tunes for songs that are meant to pierce lasting impressions into your heart.