Quick, which instrument first pops into your head when you hear the term classical music?
The violin, right?
That’s definitely the instrument I think of first. And I am pretty sure most people would be the same.
Why is that?
This, I don’t know. But I do know that the violin is inextricably linked with classical music. Those two just go together. And most of the greatest composers wrote heavily for the violin.
Part of it may be that the violin is not really used for other types of music. Of course, it is used in bluegrass music and similar genres, as a fiddle. As we all know, a fiddle is just a violin. Apart from that, it isn’t really used much. I guess it’s used in mariachi music and some other Latin styles, but that’s about it. Apart, of course, from it’s resurgence in EDM.
Also, when we think of the greatest classical instrumentalists in the world, it’s usually a violinist, right? Sure, there are a few famous cellists and famous players of other instruments, but it seems that being able to play the violin makes you more famous than any other instrument.
When we think of ridiculously expensive instruments, we also think of the violin. Now obviously, if you’re just buying a beginner’s violin, then it will be cheaper than the beginner’s versions of other instruments, like the piano or the drums or a keyboard, etc. But when you think of the most expensive instruments in the world, those are violins, aren’t they?
In fact, most of my friends whose parents put them into music classes, were learning to play the violin. The piano was number two, but the violin always seemed to be number one.
In movies, when you have a musical prodigy, what instrument does he or she play? You guessed it, the violin. Something about this instrument just makes it seem more refined, more difficult to play, more beautiful sounding when played right. Is any of this true?
Truthfully, I’m not sure. Personally, I prefer the sound of many other instruments to that of the violin. That said, few instruments add as much mood to a great classical piece. In fact, without the violin, I don’t think classical music could exist. That said, you could say the same for the piano.
This is the reason I called the violin the ultimate instrument. It’s not really, but it does have that image in our society, doesn’t it? It kind of makes you wonder where that started. How did the violin gain such a reputation?
Is it really that much more difficult to learn than other instruments? I would say it isn’t. It definitely requires a delicate touch, but there are other instruments that are just as difficult, right? I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong about that.
Again, imagine yourself as a musical prodigy on stage playing for a huge crowd of worshipers. Which instrument are you playing? Almost certainly, it is the violin. That’s because of the words I used above: “musical prodigy.” If I had use the words “rock God”, you would have pictured yourself with a guitar. Perhaps the violin is to classical music what the guitar is to rock music.
If you’re just starting out and looking to get into classical music, you’re probably thinking of getting one of those beginners violins, but is this the best solution? Sure, the violin is more prestigious, but making a name for yourself is much more difficult, since you’re competing with all of the world’s musical prodigies. If you choose a less popular instrument, the competition is much less intimidating and you have a much better chance of rising to the top.
That’s something to consider.
While the violin seems like the coolest classical instrument to play, if you are looking to advance your career, it may not be the best choice. Getting a seat in an orchestra is much more difficult for a violinist than it would be for a flutist or anyone who doesn’t play the violin, really. It is this last fact, more than anything else, that really illustrates my point. The violin is the ultimate instrument for classical music.