I've been playing guitar and piano for years as a songwriter and have a solid grasp of music theory, at least insomuch as it applies to pop music (I don't play classical and I don't sight read, nor do I plan to).
The challenge and subtly of the violin, however, appeals to me after so many years of rigid frets and keys. I'm thinking about getting a Stentor Student II and taking some basic introductory lessons. Before I do, however, I'm curious about the violin overall.
I'd like to get an overview of the general technique behind playing the violin as it compares to the instruments I already know. For example, when playing guitar or piano, a beginner should expect to spend a long time focusing on chords, inversions, scales, arpeggios and other fundamentals. Whether one knows the theory behind these shapes or not, it's not feasible to play music at speed without memorization and conditioning of the shapes themselves. That's just part of learning to play, in my experience.
What might a similar list or curriculum look like for the violin? I'm still mostly ignorant to how this instrument is played, but in my limited experience it seems like:
- Chords are rare, with double-stops/dyads being more common.
- Violins are often used to play single note melodies, and harmony is often achieved with multiple players.
- As a fretless instrument, scales, arpeggios and melodies are presumably played and learned more by ear than the "patterns" one would find in a piano or guitar textbook.
In other words, it sounds like learning violin entails far less rote memorization than piano or guitar, but the actual act of playing it is far more subtle and challenging. So the trade-off is that a guitar, for instance, is much easier to play, but requires far more "information" to be retained (chord shapes, scale patterns, etc.). The violin requires less of this memorization, but even basic playing is much more delicate.
Anyway, I'm just trying to understand what to expect if I were to try learning this instrument. And again, I'm more interested in violin as it could be applied to pop music, so learning a classical repertoire isn't on my list of goals and sight reading (which I've never applied to any instrument I play) isn't a requirement either. I mostly want to have a basic ability to play the violin by ear within my own compositions.
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