How to Read a Violin Songsheet

The violin is the highest string instrument in the string family. There are special techniques for string instruments that all violinists must learn. Certain symbols within a songsheet will provide the violinists with important instructions on where to place and how to use the bow. Learning these symbols is a part of every violinist's program of study. By studying these symbols it will be possible to understand how to read violin sheet music.

Step 1

Start by learning the names of the notes each main violin string plays. The lowest string is G and the rest of the strings are tuned in fifths. The complete set of strings play G, D, A and E from lowest to highest. Other notes can be obtained by dividing the string proportionally with the finger.

Step 2

Learn the name of the notes on the violin staff. There are four spaces and five lines. The spaces spell the word FACE from bottom to top. The lines are E - G - B - D - F from bottom to top.

Step 3

Learn about up-bows and down-bows in violin music. The down-bow looks like a small bracket that is placed sideways on top of a note. This indication means the violinist should pull the bow from right to left. The up-bow looks like an upside-down V and requires the player to push the bow from left to right starting at the tip of the bow. These are the basic articulations. Violinists alternate between down-bow and up-bow when the articulations are not present.

Step 4

Learn about the most common violin techniques. If the violinist is asked to play legato, he will use a single bow to play an entire phrase. This enables all of the notes to be connected smoothly. If there is a col legno indication, it means the violinist is to play with the wooden back of the bow. Pizzicato means to pluck the strings and is similar to a staccato in regular instrumental music.


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