Violin is an instrument most commonly associated with classical music, but it’s not limited to playing in orchestras and quartets. The violin’s versatility and capacity as a melody instrument has helped it establish itself as a staple in many types of music.

Classical Violin Music

The modern violin emerged in the Baroque era of music and has remained a popular instrument for classical music to this day. The violin is probably the best-known instrument of the traditional orchestra, and has been the featured instrument of countless compositions. From orchestras to quartets, violin is a vital instrument for classical music.

Popular Music

As early as the 1920s and 1930s, the violin can be heard in popular music and was commonly used in dance music. Though use of the violin in popular music dropped off for a few decades, it reemerged in the 1960s and was heavily used in disco in the 1970s.

In pop music, the Motown era relied heavily on strings, which became a trademark of their music. Mainstream acts such as Yellowcard, Dave Matthews Band, and U2 have been known to use electric violin in their music.

While the violin has not been utilized much in rock music, indie artists such as Andrew Bird and Arcade Fire are well known for incorporating it into their songs. Andrew Bird is part an indie rock niche that has been dubbed “violindie”.

Lindsey Stirling is a Youtube icon who brought the violin to the world of electronic dance music.

Traditional Music

Violin (or fiddle, in this case) has long been used in the traditional music of Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and Cape Breton, to name a few. Dance bands are almost never seen without a fiddle, and the influence of these traditional fiddling styles can be seen in many genres.

Old-time fiddle, Cajun and bluegrass are a few more styles of music that are undisputably fiddle-centric. One very well known modern fiddle player that is featured below is Mark O’Connor.

Jazz and Violin

In the early 20th century, jazz music used the violin as a solo instrument. One great jazz violinist from this era is Eddie South, who earned the nickname “The Dark Angel of Violin”. In modern jazz, violins are used in the avant-garde style of playing. Leroy Jenkins and Regina Carter are two more modern jazz artists whose music showcases the use of violin.


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2 replies
  1. Dianne Adkins
    Dianne Adkins says:

    No discussion of this topic would be complete without a mention of Jean Luc Ponty. His contribution mainly focused in Jazz and experimental modern, infused with excellent classical training. I think every youtube video of him shows him using a different violin! He was wildly popular in the 80s and still performs today with exceptional instrumentalists and ensembles.

    Check out the Electric Violins available at Superior Violins!

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