You know you are a string quartet violinist when....

December 16, 2010 at 04:14 PM ·

When three violins really IS a crowd...

Replies (63)

December 16, 2010 at 04:44 PM ·

OMG, not again????

......when you name the 4 quarters in your pocket as V1, V2, Vi, and C.

December 16, 2010 at 08:42 PM ·

......when you always order a table for 4 at a restaurant, no matter how may people you are with.

December 16, 2010 at 08:44 PM ·

......when you can spell "Razzamuffskee" correctly.

December 16, 2010 at 08:47 PM ·

......when you signal every downbeat by dipping your violin, even when you're playing in an orchestra.

December 16, 2010 at 09:13 PM ·

A Soviet orchestra back in homeland after a very long tour of Canada,U.S.A., England, Germany and France...

Well,it was funny 30 years ago...

December 16, 2010 at 10:35 PM ·

sorry Marc, you lost me...

when you automatically adjust your conversations so that you are in harmony with the people to your left and right

December 16, 2010 at 11:21 PM ·

Well, you lost me either... I thought that these were jokes about string quartets...

December 16, 2010 at 11:59 PM ·

...your favorite SQ joke goes like this:

The definition of a String Quartet is

  1. A good violinist.
  2. A bad violinist.
  3. An ex violinist.
  4. A violin hater.

(I get Marc's joke.  LOL for the day!)

December 17, 2010 at 12:02 AM ·


December 17, 2010 at 12:13 AM ·

oh I GET it... sheesh, and I lived through that era too..

when second violins have solo parts... ;)

December 17, 2010 at 12:16 AM ·

Marc, I got the joke.  LOL!

December 17, 2010 at 12:30 AM ·

... when you've had a member of the ensemble quit a month before carnegie hall


Thanks cellist!

December 17, 2010 at 01:46 AM ·

when there's two of you and you still have any other kind out numbered

December 17, 2010 at 02:40 AM ·

 [plaintively] But I play cello in a string quartet ...

[Thinks ... where would the rest of the quartet be without the cello holding up what can sometimes be a shaky edifice:-)]

December 17, 2010 at 09:44 AM ·

Trevor: like a baloon without a child holding the string!


December 17, 2010 at 04:23 PM ·

 ..when you eat Tost for breakfast.

December 17, 2010 at 05:09 PM ·

......when you're scheduled to play in a performance of the Brahms Piano Quintet, and the pianist doesn't show up because he was arrested for drunk driving.

December 17, 2010 at 05:46 PM ·

Sanders :)

when asked to suggest a piece for your next quartet gathering - you intoxicated with the music - and get delusional about your own abilities  (er, I just picked 1st violin in the Mozart Hunt.... :o ) 

December 17, 2010 at 08:42 PM ·

... when you sight read from a mini score.

December 17, 2010 at 09:22 PM ·

When you are having an affair with another violinist who is involved with a cellist being passionately in love with a violist...

December 17, 2010 at 10:18 PM ·

. . . when the other two people in the room keep repeating, "You're sharp!  You're rushing!  Quit dragging, we're trying to play steady eighth notes here!"

December 18, 2010 at 01:05 AM ·

...when you are scare stiff to play alone on stage and want to cover your mistakes with the others    ; ) 

just joking...

December 18, 2010 at 01:07 AM ·

...when you don't know how to do vibrato and want to play in concert.  Wonderful, the 3 others will do the vibrato job!



December 18, 2010 at 01:12 AM ·

...when you wiggle to much to be a soloist.  Afterall, body cues are welcome and useful in quartets (from what I've heard...) 

December 18, 2010 at 03:46 AM ·

when its your sure way to play first desk...

December 18, 2010 at 04:01 PM ·

When you have no motivation to learn all the solo repertoire, you hate being in an orchestra and you dislike the company of pianists...

December 18, 2010 at 04:25 PM ·

-when you feel cramped in a violin section consisting of 2 people (true story, aka my current gig)

December 18, 2010 at 04:26 PM ·

-when you start a thread like this.  ;-p


ps- Elise- enjoy the 'Hunt'- good choice!

December 18, 2010 at 04:39 PM ·

... when you can't relax while listening to recordings of any of the quartets you've played because you're worrying if the violist will miss their cue... ;o)

December 18, 2010 at 06:31 PM ·

Marc lol!!!  I hadn't seen your post about the Soviet orchestra hanging long ennough in America and West Europe!  

I had to laugh!!!!!!!!!!!!!


...when not accepted in an orchestra nor as a soloist

(just joking of course ; )

December 18, 2010 at 06:42 PM ·

.....When you realize that a string quartet consists of 2 violinists, 1 cellist, and someone who looks lost.

December 18, 2010 at 11:59 PM ·

...when you learn about the existence of cellists and violists!  (yes, world is full of other beautiful instruments too!)

December 19, 2010 at 12:03 AM ·

... when you start to arrange scores and scratch your head to find them

December 19, 2010 at 12:07 AM ·

.... when you are mature ennough to understand that the goal is not to play louder than your partner(s) 

December 19, 2010 at 03:20 AM ·

when you discover that chords, as written, are a myth

December 19, 2010 at 11:11 AM ·

When you breath audibly through your nostrils at the end of each phrase. . .even when you're in the audience! : - ) 

December 19, 2010 at 01:14 PM ·

[I'm actually learning rather  a lot from this- breathe audibly! ]

When you love to play with others but really, really can't stand conductors... 

December 19, 2010 at 06:13 PM ·

... when someone in the quartet gets lost, and you can sing their part while continuing to play yours.

December 20, 2010 at 12:43 PM ·

when you know what beethoven actually did to the quartet

December 20, 2010 at 03:18 PM ·

Elise, that is so true, and the last ones are so unbelievable...the most original writing...

December 20, 2010 at 04:21 PM ·

 When you request/instruct the violist and cellist to tune their C strings up a fraction so that the fourth harmonic E of the C string matches the open E of the violins.  That is true. I've heard of at least one professional quartet that does just that. 

December 20, 2010 at 08:26 PM ·

Marc, I should probably rewrite mine -

when you THINK you know wheat beethoven did to the quartet :D

[make it a four-nstrument piece instead of a solo with accompaniement?  Though I am sure there is lots more...]

December 20, 2010 at 09:47 PM ·

 When you can squeeze into almost any small place and still play well (no matter how uncomfortable). The odd poking in the eye may occur with this one!

December 20, 2010 at 11:38 PM ·

...when you are good at playing musical chairs (be sure there is always a chair before sitting!)

December 21, 2010 at 01:35 AM ·

when you can switch between first and second violin desks between movements :)

December 21, 2010 at 04:32 AM ·

When it's more fun to complain about your part than learn it (guilty as charged!)...

December 21, 2010 at 02:59 PM ·

... the viola player leaves, and you "take one for the team" -- switching from violin to viola.

December 21, 2010 at 05:38 PM ·

 Obscure number sequences like 18/5, 59/2, 131 are deeply meaningful.

December 21, 2010 at 06:41 PM ·

when all your music storage boxes have four divisions... :)

January 14, 2011 at 09:53 PM ·

when people mention james and you think of the ehnes before bond

January 15, 2011 at 04:07 AM ·

When you're out on a gig, and you think you have finally found a brilliant way to stuff four people, stands, instruments, and music into a small car...and your cellist backs over the stand you forgot outside.  At which point all you can do is crumble in a laughing heap in the backseat.  True story. :)

January 15, 2011 at 06:34 AM ·

 @ Nicole--better a stand than a (full) case...

January 16, 2011 at 02:51 AM ·

You make an excellent point!

Amazingly, there ended up being no damage to the stand or the car (it was one of the heavy orchestral Manhassets). 

January 16, 2011 at 04:32 AM ·

when the repeated notes and/or drone is considered the 'important' part.

January 16, 2011 at 12:01 PM ·

when your quartet music somehow always ends up on the top of your practise pile...

January 16, 2011 at 01:02 PM ·

 When you spend more time chatting and laughing than actually playing during rehersal but still manage to get the job done.

Oh and I recently got the news that my sweet little quartet will be performing in my friend´s senior recital next December. I´m very excited!

January 17, 2011 at 11:29 AM ·

When practice sessions include a tea and treats break!

January 17, 2011 at 12:15 PM ·

I thought of the "you know you are a violinist when...." thread yesterday when I bruised a finger. 

So you know you are a violinist when..... you start referring to your fingers as the first, second or third instead of index, middle or ring.  Really, it just makes more sense. 

January 17, 2011 at 02:36 PM ·

Along those lines.....    c-a-n-'-t  r-e-s-i-s-t....

you know you are a violinist when third position does not evoke an erotic thought

OK Laurie you can kick me off now...

January 17, 2011 at 03:38 PM ·

@ Elise: for us more naive: what can the third position otherwise mean? (I don't understand.) :)

January 17, 2011 at 03:59 PM ·

sweetie.  I never thought I would say this but you are actually spending too much time practising.

Perhaps we should have a 'You know you are a violin duetist when..."  ... it takes 'two to tango' evokes a double music stand with the La Cumparsita score....

January 20, 2011 at 11:13 PM ·

@ Elise: I am still not getting it, but I this morning (before seeing this post) saw that there are wonderful transcriptions of "History of Tango" by Piazzolla. i would love to play it with my pianist!!

(instead of the guitar)

January 21, 2011 at 01:38 AM ·

[I'd like to find that too - connect my two passions (ballroom and violin) - maybe thats a natural direction for me...]

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Business Directory Business Directory Guide to Online Learning Guide to Online Learning

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine