Principles of Violin Playing (I)

The present series of training articles, “Principles of Violin Playing”, seek to help students, to appropriately understand this field, by gradually introducing, categorizing, and teaching the myriad relevant points. One of the principles of playing violin, which must be always kept in mind, is that the selection of the most natural position for the body parts while playing is the best and most appropriate solution. As a matter of fact, any unnatural body part position which requires lots of energy or unusual stretching to maintain, is wrong.


Practicing the above-mentioned principles eases violin playing and decreases problems associated with phrases the playing of which is impossible by taking wrong unnatural positions. Moreover, correcting wrong playing styles makes playing less exhausting and more fun.

Pattern 1/1

Holding the Violin

Generally while playing violin three parts of the body are involved: chin, shoulder and the left hand. Each of these parts shoulders a part of the burden of holding the instrument. However, the player should be able to hold the instrument with only the neck and the shoulder without using the left hand.

1/1/1- Shoulder and neck:

The player should not raise the left shoulder in order to hold the violin. On the contrary, his shoulder must remain in its natural position. In case the player’s neck is long, he may bring up his shoulder or bend his neck both of which are wrong.

Because for maintaining the former, the player should waste extra energy to raise his shoulder in vain which not only makes him exhausted but also distract his attention as he must focus on keeping this position. The latter, puts extra pressure on cervical vertebrae and cartilage as they are stretched more than usual.

Two solutions can be applied to solve this problem. Firstly, the player can fold a piece of fabric and put it under the violin. As a second solution, however, the player can buy a shoulder rest. Picking a shoulder rest is very important as it can play a significant role in making violin playing more comfortable.

The desired type of these shoulder rests are those with double adjustable legs so that the violinist can attain the most appropriate fit. Moreover, shoulder rest joints make it possible for the shoulder rest to move so that it would be flexible and help the violinist keep the instrument in proper place.

An important point to consider in regard to shoulder rests is the design of the padding and its bending so that the shoulder rest could be placed both on the shoulder and on the collar bone and the chest. The padding should be covered with foam or thick-enough sponge-like material. Using shoulder rests which are not made of foam or those whose material quality is low is not recommended. Shoulder rests of quality are adjustable in sideways; therefore, they can be used with violins of variable sizes. This characteristic makes it possible to change the position of the rest at the back of the violin to make its holding and controlling easier.

An important advantage of using shoulder rests is that they do not influence the quality of sound and violin volume. Shoulder rests prevent the volume transmitted through the lower block of the violin to be taken away by violinist’s clothing; hence, its pure volume (interestingly enough various fabrics leave various influences on the volume of the violin. The interested players might examine this fact.)

 1/1/2-How high to raise the left hand:

The violinist should raise his left hand so high that the instrument and its neck acquire a horizontal position with the ground. It is preferred to hold the instrument in a way to avoid its being directed downward or upward. In the former position, the spine bends down because of unnecessary stretch causing breathing problems and in the latter the cervical vertebrae are pressurized in the reverse direction.
Viol.ir

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Parviz Meshkatian’s Heart Beat for People (I)

Amidst the popularity of traditionalism in the Iranian music, Parviz Meshkatian (1955- 2009) moved from Neyshabur to Tehran. He learnt to play Santour and became educated in the Radif of Iranian music at the Centre for Preservation and Promotion of Music which was at the forefront of promoting the return to musical traditions. Despite his studies at a centre which promoted the use of the phrase “traditional music” in Iran, Parviz Meshkatian emerged as a creative artist whose innovative and unique ideas attracted the admiration of Iranian artists and people from different walks of life. This article studies the reason behind Meshkatian’s deviation from the wrong approach of traditionalism strongly promoted by the Centre and argues that apart from the issue of theory of Iranian music, he can be considered as Ali Naqi Vaziri’s successor.

Farshad Sanjari, Forgotten Iranian Conductor Met His Tragic End

Farshad Sanjari, one of the most renowned Iranian conductors in the 1970s in Iran died after fire broke in his apartment in Vienna on November 22, 2019. Farshad Sanjari was not involved in politics; however, he was one of the victims of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, his name was never seen as the conductor of any programmes.

From Past Days…

Polyphony in Iranian Music (III)

In heterophonic variant, two performers perform a single melody simultaneously and change it. Performing and changing a single melody simultaneously by two performers leads to the coincidence of different voices.

Developments in Iranian Music Since Qajar Era (I)

At the end of the Qajar era and as Iran entered the power transition period, known as the constitutional era, the Iranian music went through a lot of changes. These changes gained momentum as the students and followers of Ali Naqi Vaziri’s entered the musical scene. These changes greatly influenced designs of instruments, playing methods, singing, composing, etc.

Violin’s inner mold, an essential factor in developing the idea of violin

A part of the secrets of the masterpieces from the golden era lies in the special design of the instruments, as a result of a profound insight to and awareness of the significance of the precise calculation of the various components of the object of arts being created, such as making a violin or a bow.

From the Last Instrumentalist to the First Composer (II)

Rouhollah Khaleghi was the master of composing beautiful melodies. He was the premier of the course of history which was first established by Ali Naghi Vaziri and which improved the Iranian music from simply a gathering music to the classical music of the country. First efforts to compose independent and instrumental music can be also traced in Khaleghi’s works.

Banan: the Artist of the Age

Gholam Hossein Banan was born in 1911 in Tehran. He was born in an affluent art-loving family who were Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (1848-1896)’s relative. The Qajar King was his mother’s uncle on her father’s side. He learnt his first lessons in music while his father sang Iranian avaz (improvised rhythmic-free singing), he then attended classes by the renowned Iranian composer, Morteza Neydavoud (1900-1990) along with his sisters; the composer is, therefore, considered as his first teacher. He then learnt Iranian avaz under the supervision of Mirza Taher Zia Resaee (Zia-o Zakerin) and Naser Seif in an oral manner.

Henry Cowell: “Persian Set”

Persian Set: Four Movements for chamber orchestra: Moderato; Allegretto; Lento; Rondo

Henry Cowell, one of the most innovative American composers of the 20th century, was born in 1897. Cowell and his wife visited Iran in 1956 and stayed there the whole winter, upon the invitation by the Iranian Royal Family, when he composed his album “Persian Set” in four movements for chamber orchestra. His composition is expressive of the characteristic quality of the Persian or the Iranian music.

Polyphony in Iranian Music (V)

In addition to the above-mentioned, polyphony can be also formed when a melody is performed by several singers in different ambiances or different sound registers according to their physiologic abilities. An example of this has been performed in rituals of Khanqah of Ghaderi darawish of Mahabad[i].

New Technique for Playing Classical Guitar (II)

When the author was working on the piece “Playing Love” by Ennio Morricone (from the legend of 1900), he realized a failure of the Lip Technique. Needing to play a chord in the 14th position of the guitar and in order to complete the harmony, it is necessary to play a harmonic note on the 7th or 5th position; it was not possible to touch the string to play this harmonic note, because the Lip Technique is used for getting the notes and not to touch the string and producing harmonic notes. Naturally, the only possible way to touch the string was to use the nose at the required position and playing the note with the right hand, and this was the best option the author found to how to play such harmonic notes, and where the Nose Technique was generated.

Hossein Dehlavi: the Composer

With Dehlavi it is not all about fame but recognition. Hossein Dehlavi is not a popular musician (like pop singers) whom everybody might know when he is walking on streets of Tehran; however, he is recognized by both amateur and distinguished musicians of the country.

“Guitar Memories” Released

The album “Guitar Memories” consists of the performance of baroque to recent era masterpieces, by Mehrdad Mahdavi, and is published by Tanin-e Honar Publication.

In this album there are pieces composed and arranged by artists such as: Sylvius Leopold Weiss, Johann Anton Logy, Fernando Sor, Yuquijiro Yocoh, Leo Brouwer.