Strings – Violin

November 17, 2006


In the 1500s violins were first created.  During this period Cremona, Italy, was the center for violin production.  Antonio Stradivari designed the modern violin, in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s.  The tone can be effected by the type of wood that the violin is made from.  The violin consists of 70 different pieces.  These sections are made exactly to come together when glued.  The chest is the term used for the hollow wooden container.  The violinist moves the bow back and forth over four strings.  With the other hand he or she stops the strings on the fingerboard. 



Strings – Cello

November 17, 2006


During the 1600s the cello was used as common solo instrument.  It is larger than the violin, 4 feet lone and 1.5 feet across.  Producing deep, rich tones, the cello has four strings that create sound that is an octave lower than the viola.  The size causes the cello to be the second largest viol instrument.  The cello is placed on the floor and rests against the players knees.   The first cellos were created in Cremona, Italy in the 1500’s.





Strings – Double Bass

November 17, 2006


The bass is sometimes called a double bass, contrabass, or bass viol.  It is the largest and lowest-pitched viol instrument.  In the first form the bass only had three strings.  As the design of the base developed, it now has four strings.  This instrument is used in orchestras, concert, and jazz bands.  The base stands six feet tall.  Due to this large size the player must stand. 


Strings – Viola

November 17, 2006


The viola is comparable in shape to the violin. This instrument is played by resting the Viola on the left shoulder.  The right hand holds a bow.  The bow is made from horse hair and is longer than the violin. The sound is in the tenor range and violas are occasionally used as a solo instrument. It is larger than the violin, from 14 to 17 inches. The strings used are thicker than the violins.  Music that is written fro the viola is in the alto clef, which is not typically used for many instruments.  Music that contains notable viola parts include: six string quintets by Mozart and Opus 18 by Johanns Brahms.




Percussion – Cymbals

November 17, 2006


In 3000 B.C., cymbals can be found in Indus civilizations.  The name cymbal comes from the Greek word kymbalon, meaning hollow of a cup.  As early as 1680, cymbals can be seen used in the orchestra during the production of Esther, in Hamburg, Germany.  This instrument could be described as having the shape of a broad-brimmed hat.  The boss is located in the center.  Attached to the boss is a piece of leather.  The sound comes from the collision of two cymbals together or hitting one cymbal with a beater.  Cymbals can come in a variety of sizes, but typically are 14 to 15 inches in diameter.