#1
I'll soon be playing guitar in a new band at my college. I'll be writing most of the music, but one of us will be playing electric violin, which I've never written music for.

How, essentially, does the violin function in music - Classical and otherwise? What kind of considerations should I take when composing? Also, the violinist tells me that he'll be able to play chords with his electric violin, would this be something of a likeness or a substitute to the ensemble strings on a keyboard, or an entirely different animal altogether?

Thanks in advance.
#2
Primarily melodic and typically more facilitative for 'chopsy' kind of playing. Just look up Jascha Heifitz on youtube. I mean, for simplicities sake, it can function identical to some sort of lead guitar or whatever.

It wont sound like the string ensemble thing though, it's going to be quite a bit more squeely, and not really have the big warm ballady feel.

I mean, to wonder it's function, just think about the instrument.


Large range in a physically small space - Ok, it can probably do a whole lot with someone who knows a bit about what they are doing, where as a double bass has the same sort of range over a HUGE space, making even basic scales something to strive for.

High pitched - Ok, probably not going to cover the basslines

Can play chords - Ok, with 4 string chords at the MOST (really quite hard to do properly) , is this going to be a great way for it to accompany?
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Last edited by nightwind at Sep 3, 2010,
#3
Right, the violin is one octave above guitar in pitch and is tuned to concert pitch, which means that when a middle C is played on piano, this will also play as middle C on a violin (I think).

It is tuned the opposite way to a bass: GDAE, with the G being a high bass G (three keys to the left of the middle C on a piano).

Violin chords are relatively rare outside of classical, but function much the same as a classical guitar chord will.

When writing for a violin take into consideration several techniques which can be used: detache bowing (sharp, seperate bow strokes instead of continuous bowing) is always good. Then there's pizzicato technique (which is basically playing a violin with the fingers). This gives a muted but fairly distinctive sound to the playing.

With an electric violin you can also use effects much like you can use them on a guitar. There's an electric violin version of Adagio For Strings which does this.


If you are playing rock music, then there are a number of videos on YouTube for rock music using viola, but these can also be used to compose rock violin too.