"forbidden riffs" in a violin store?

August 2, 2023, 1:54 AM · Hi all, it's been raining here for weeks already, so just for fun a question I was thinking about. Last week we read again the list with "forbidden riffs" for guitar players. This are very famous riffs that you are not supposed to play in a guitar store, because these riffs are driving the store employees crazy. Like Smoke on the water, and Seven Nation Army. When we read the list I was wondering if there were any of these pieces of music for violin and I could not think about anything. For piano I thought it would be Für Elise or some piece we call 'de vlooienmars' (Flohwalzer) For violin perhaps the beginning of Schindlers List? What is your "forbidden riff" for violin?

Replies (26)

August 2, 2023, 7:07 AM · There must be so many.
August 2, 2023, 7:49 AM · twinkle twinkle?
August 2, 2023, 9:27 AM · Adagio from BWV 1001 :)
August 2, 2023, 9:45 AM · Gordon, et al,

Twinkle, Twinkle? "Oh Mother I Can Tell You..."

Wondering which set of lyrics you have in your head...

Edited: August 2, 2023, 10:02 AM · For those interested, Ben Comeau, a British composer, did a brilliant fugue on Seven Nation Army, for chorus and baroque orchestra. The words should probably not be repeated here, but they are easily discoverable on YouTube.
August 2, 2023, 10:11 AM · Although this is a joke thread, Marco has hit the nail on the head, I think.
August 2, 2023, 11:09 AM · That and the opening to the Bruch No 1. My guess is you hear a few Tchaik and Sibelius, not to mention Zigeunerweisen, but that is probably less irritating.
August 2, 2023, 12:38 PM · -Anything from the early Suzuki books
-Pop or rock song covers that are poorly transcribed or arranged
-The Devil Went Down to Georgia
-Orange Blossom Special
-Turkey in the Straw
-Vivaldi A minor concerto
-Pachelbel Canon
-Orchestra audition excerpts—these get especially old around audition times as a whole lot of players show up in shops playing them as they prepare.

Honestly, though, if the player is good enough, most of these are fine. It’s the butchering of tunes that makes it intolerable.

August 2, 2023, 12:48 PM · Rich has a few good ones. I'd add:

Irish Washerwoman
Swallowtail Jig
Danny Boy
Si Bheag, Si Mhor

Edited: August 5, 2023, 2:10 PM · I would say you should be able to play whatever you know and want. If they don't have that list there intended as a joke only, just go to another store haha
The employees are getting paid to listen to what the costumers play.
But anyway, probably Mendelssohn E Minor, Bach E Major Prelude/Gigue and D minor allemande/chaconne.
August 5, 2023, 5:34 PM · Stephen - but the opening to the Bruch is perfect for testing violins, going as it does from the low G to the high E.

Of course, you can achieve the same thing playing a scale or an arpeggio!

August 5, 2023, 5:52 PM · How about our National Anthem?
Edited: August 6, 2023, 6:26 AM · @ Elise - but what fun would that be?
August 5, 2023, 8:34 PM ·

.........It’s the butchering of tunes that makes it intolerable.....

I Guess I better stay away from your shop...

August 6, 2023, 9:16 AM · The funny thing about the opening of Bruch is that players have mostly stopped using it for trying violins. It was the passage of choice for a while, but then players started to feel like it was overplayed and decided that they needed to come up with something else that wasn’t just the same passage everybody used.

It is true that that selection does cover all the strings nicely in a short amount of time while not just sounding like a scale, and that was why it became the top choice in the past. It
never bothered me, and I wouldn’t mind hearing it more often.

August 6, 2023, 11:47 AM · The first solo of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherezade" will use all strings: high to low then back.
August 15, 2023, 11:47 PM · There is a shop in New York called Salchow which specializes in bows. I haven’t been there in quite a long time but at least in the past they actually had a sign forbidding the Mendelssohn Scherzo! I don’t know if they were serious or not.

As to the idea of using the opening of the Brunch no. 1 as a preliminary test of a violin’s sound and response, I admit that it is a go-to of mine as well. But actually, if one has them in one’s fingers, the opening solos of the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky are more thorough, starting on the G, going up to the E, then back down to the G. In the Bruch opening the poor G only gets two notes! But do whatever is comfortable.

August 16, 2023, 12:54 AM · Did Paganini made some of the forbidden riffs?
August 16, 2023, 1:59 AM · A cellist sliding around looking for a wolf note, as if there was any good-sounding cello which doesn't have one.
August 16, 2023, 11:42 PM · Massenet's Meditation?
August 17, 2023, 6:43 AM · EA, AD, DG ;-)
August 17, 2023, 7:53 AM · Jean and back - endlessly. Oh and then double stopped ... .... :D
August 17, 2023, 1:00 PM · The opening of the Gigue from the Bach D Minor suite is probably the riff I've heard most often.
Edited: August 17, 2023, 8:22 PM ·


August 18, 2023, 9:18 AM · I agree with Stephen Symchych about Sibelius and Tchaikovsky.
August 19, 2023, 6:46 PM · The story about the sign at Salchow's is really funny. Makes sense that a bow shop would hear a lot of Mendelssohn scherzo, and maybe Schumann scherzo too.

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