Solo Violin Wedding Music

October 1, 2018, 10:19 AM · I'm playing at two wedding in October. I am completely on my own - no accompaniment. What are some good solo violin pieces to play at weddings? They don't necessarily need to be classical.

Replies (24)

October 1, 2018, 10:43 AM · I've done Pachelbel's Canon in D on my own, as well as standards like Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Bach's Air on the G string and Arioso, and movements of solo Bach (the third movements of the A minor and C Major sonatas, Andante and Largo, work super well). Hope this helps!
October 1, 2018, 11:29 AM · If the setup allows you can get a book and cd accompaniment from Lynn Lathm (sp?). I've done it a couple times and it worked nicely.
October 1, 2018, 11:31 AM · You can arrange the Mendelssohn wedding march for solo violin, but that may be a little too flashy and "look at me!" for a wedding.

I've played at dinners with a cd backing track before. Sometimes, I record my own with bass and guitar. It works alright as long as you stay in time, so it's better for simple ambient music.

Edited: October 1, 2018, 3:03 PM · I have been tempted to play Bach's "I stand with one foot in the grave" for weddings. It's quite beautiful. The middle movement of Vivaldi's Winter is nice and short. Another wicked idea would be the Kreisler version of "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen."
October 1, 2018, 12:17 PM · Broadway tunes, Beatles tunes, classical melodies (there are books of famous classical themes for violin and piano but you don't need the piano...just skip any long rests). This is also a setting where a good fake book can be very useful.
October 1, 2018, 1:12 PM · Ask the bride/groom. If it's a church/religious wedding, hymns. Arranged versions of modern pop songs. Go to a violin shop and browse their selection of books. Search 'violin wedding sheet music' on amazon- they have a good selection of books.

My advice: don't be a hero. Literally, if you have a beautiful tone, pull a face at the right times, and stand with poise, audiences don't know the difference between what's difficult and easy.

October 1, 2018, 1:14 PM · In addition to the previous suggestions (I've also loved doing the Winter slow movement), "Sunrise, Sunset" is a lovely solo during the ceremony.
October 1, 2018, 2:05 PM · Any old show tune with "love" in the title is fair game. "Sunrise Sunset" is a good idea. I agree with Julie that if you sound good and emote well, you can play simple stuff and folks will love you.
October 1, 2018, 2:21 PM · I've done the Meditation from Thais, and I thought it worked pretty well, even though I'm not a huge fan of playing stuff without the accompaniment. You could also check out some of the Telemann solo sonatas - There is definitely some stuff in there that would fit, and it tends to be easier than Bach.
October 1, 2018, 9:12 PM · Thanks everyone for the great suggestions! I LOVE the idea of Sunrise, Sunset! That's great!

I totally agree with you Julie O'Conner. A wedding is not the right time to be flashy.

I've already arranged the Wagner Wedding March with a bunch of double stops and it sounds pretty good. The problem is that both wedding are outdoors so no acoustics. EEEEK!

October 1, 2018, 9:14 PM · Joel Quivey...
You made me laugh! :D
October 2, 2018, 1:32 AM · Once I did the third movement of the Bach C-major Sonata. Not necessarily something to learn overnight, though.
October 2, 2018, 2:07 AM · A couple of friends asked for Enya's "May it be". There was a pause in the ceremony for it.
It was cheesy, but if there's an occasion to be cheesy... It came out very well.
October 2, 2018, 6:56 AM · I know some pretty gorgeous non-classical music: Moon River (Henry Mancini), Evergreen (Barbra Streisand), Rain and tears (Demis Roussos), and You light up my life (Debby Boone). The names in brackets are either composers or singers. You should check out at least some of them, their beautiful violin performances are found in abundance on YouTube.
Edited: October 2, 2018, 7:51 AM · I usually play weddings in a quartet or trio, but I've played solo for a few friends' and family weddings. For those, since I'm close to at least one half of the couple, I pull out some of the brighter or more tranquil movements of solo Bach. I've also done arrangements of pop songs by request, pulling harmony from a piano part or duet book to add a little depth. I've even played some Irish fiddle tunes when the mood was right. Like others have said, don't push yourself too much with wedding music. I would also avoid pieces that spend a significant amount of time up in the pitch range that only dogs can hear.

Also, if you're interested in more baroque works, the Telemann Fantasias for solo violin have some options.

Edited: October 3, 2018, 9:32 AM · I like to have the bride choose at least the processional music because it's almost the only time of quiet and guests being at rapt attention and people will hear that if they don't hear anything else. If the couple doesn't have a specific request (sometimes it will be a popular love tune), I'll prompt for what kind of mood of music (mellow, majestic, etc.) and offer a few classical selections to choose from. For seating of family and procession of bridesmaids, if they don't have a preference, then I'll pick something that goes well with the bridal processional. Some couples want specific recessional music but I try to avoid having to work too hard on something custom because no one will hear it anyway while they are clapping and cheering.

In general, for music before the ceremony (preludes) and cocktail hour, I've asked for any special requests, any particular music/style/artist that they don't want to hear, and otherwise it's classical and contemporary selections at my discretion. You can get away with flashier stuff for cocktail hour too since it's noisy.

I had to look up Joel's reference - did not know that was the title of BWV 156. A few years ago I had learned of Bist du bei mir and thought it was a lovely tune for my wedding collection but after looking up the English translation, decided it couldn't be there. By the same logic, the BWV 156 Arioso will have to be out too!

Edited: October 3, 2018, 6:51 AM · Mengwei, in the past I've warned, in similar threads, that certain churches might get uptight about the words that go with certain songs even if your rendition is purely instrumental. Others with more experience playing weddings said they didn't encounter that problem in reality. Bach pieces can always just be named according to the tempo marking ... adagio or andante or whatever. Or you could write, "I stand with one foot in some grapes" or "I'm standing about a foot away from the gravy."
October 3, 2018, 7:32 AM · I don't know if anyone said this but I would suggest Elgar Salut d'amour.
October 3, 2018, 10:28 AM · I haven't been around to see Paul's past posts. Since I previously cut Bist du bei mir, now that I've been made aware of Arioso, it makes sense to either cut Arioso for the same reason or decide that the reason isn't important to me anymore. It really doesn't matter whether these two are in my wedding collection or not; I'm not going to run out of music or feel more or less complete as an artist/musician...
October 3, 2018, 1:02 PM · Mengwei that's so true -- the great thing about the violin is that the repertoire is basically endless.
October 3, 2018, 8:29 PM · Thanks everyone for the great suggestions! To be safe, I'll think I'll stay away from the mentioned Bach works. LOL! :-)
October 6, 2018, 6:42 AM · I was asked to play at a wedding and paid a friend (violinist) to play with me. There's so much more for two violins.
Edited: October 6, 2018, 7:46 AM · I've never heard anyone complain about Bach pieces for weddings, in churches or elsewhere. I often wondered about the song Imagine, which has atheistic lyrics. People always loved that song on string quartet even in a religious setting. Seems people are listening to the tunes and not getting too caught up in the lyrics.
October 6, 2018, 8:47 AM · Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring is a gigantic NO for a Jewish wedding and yes, people do recognize it. Other Bach pieces drawn from religious cantatas are also inappropriate although perhaps not so widely known, but why take the chance and risk offending someone?

Some officiants care more than others about the music played; if the wedding is religious, it's best to double check any questionable selections ahead of time. Usually there is more leeway in the prelude music as that is not technically part of a religious service.

I don't play Imagine in a religious setting for exactly the reason of the lyrics. Again, why risk giving offense?

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