The Development of the Violin in American Popular Music

Published: 2021-06-29 07:07:04
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Category: Music and Movies

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The Development of the Violin in American Popular Music
The use of classical string instruments like the violin have become increasingly prevalent in contemporary hip hop and rock, as seen in bands like Owl City and Yellow Card and in the accompaniment of artists like Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, P-Diddy, and Kanye West. The violin is a four stringed instrument that is tuned in perfect fifths and finds its earliest originations dating back to the 16th century. Violins are believed to have been first seen in Central Asia. Their popularity then spread to the Middle East, India and eventually Europe. The violin, also known as the fiddle, accompanied colonization and first found its place in the New World in fiddle tunes. Western Swing, Folk, Latin American, Cajun, Zydeco and other styles of music continued to use the violin as a leading instrument. The violin didn't lose its popularity in popular music until the emergence of dance styles like swing in the late 1930s. The violin in the highest pitched instrument in the violin string family and is one of the very few instruments that can mimic the human voice, yet the importance of the violin in popular music has fluctuated over the years.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Baroque music emphasized the importance of elaborate musical compositions. New instrumental techniques were formed and the violin and other string instruments became very important to classical music. This period of artistic sophistication introduced the violin as a leading instrument. The sound of a violin resounds over other instruments and therefore, is often used as the melody. The construction of a violin includes strings spaced closely together, which allow violinists to execute precise, diverse notes quickly. Advanced instrumentation has amazed audiences since the 17th century and continues to be popular entertainment incorporated into popular music. Because the violin is tuned in perfect fifths and is the highest pitched string instrument bowed, techniques articulated like vibrato and sliding allow the violin to mimic sounds much like the human voice. These terms classify the violin as an expressive instrument. Though orchestras vary in composition and size, violinist make up an important part and are usually divided into two sections, first and second violins. The first section usually articulates the melody and includes more technically difficult instrumentation, while the second section acts as the harmony or as lower ranged melodies. Classical orchestras in early America played an important role in opera, concert songs, civil war songs, tin-pan alley, and Broadway.

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