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The development of the violin-like instruments could be traced to the 9th and 10th centuries when string instruments were used in music performance.

String instruments are referred to as instruments that are bowed. For example, Lira (lyre) and Fiddle (3 strings). These string instruments had their origin in Central Asia- part of Mongolia, and were subsequently modified in Europe by the Europeans using various crafting method and technique.

History of the Violin

One of the inventors of the violin was Andréa Amati, an Italian and an apprentice under a Lira maker. He was from Cremona in Milan, Italy. He made a violin in the 16th century (1555). Other inventors include the families of Guarneri and Ruggeri; and Antonio Stradivari. The oldest serving was named Charles 1X, after the king of France in 1564.

‘Lira da braccios’ was the name given to those instruments that are placed in between legs and bowed to play them, for example, cello and double bass.

The Strings family

  1. Violin (smallest)
  2. Viola
  3. Cello
  4. Double bass(biggest)

All of them have four strings, similar but of different shapes.



The violin sound is close to human voice-singing. It exists in various sizes: ¼, ½, ¾, 4/4, inches length. We play the violin with a bow. A bow is a slightly curved stick with hair attached to it.

Features of the Violin

  1. The wooden body
  2. Bridge
  3. Fingerboard/fret board
  4. Neck
  5. Scroll
  6. Pegs
  7. F-hole
  8. Tail piece
  9. Fine-tuner adjuster
  10. Strings(4)

Violin Strings

History of the Violin


The strings are tuned by tightening or loosening the pegs as indicated above.



The person who plays the violin is called the violinist. He/she plays some notes on the violin to produce music.

Performing music on the violin requires good skill and concentration. Most of the time, the violinist does not see the fingerboard (which isn’t divided with short iron lines) like the guitar. The player has to use his/her sense of tonality and understanding of notes, scales to being out the tunes.


Violin music genres

The violin can be used in different music genres:

  1. Traditional songs in Celtic-folk songs from Scotland using fiddle.
  2. Irish music
  3. Hungarian music
  4. Country-Western
  5. Blues and Jazz
  6. Classical music
  7. Worship

Learn to play the Violin

Learning to play the violin can be a smooth journey for children and adults alike. Tonality Music School provides you with ‘an easy to learn approach’ to master the violin and play the instrument which sounds very close to human voice.

Overview of a Basic violin course at Tonality Music School

  1. Introduction to music and sound
  2. Parts of a violin
  3. Tuning the violin
  4. Playing the violin: holding the violin and bow, placement of fingers
  5. Fingering charts
  6. Notes reading
  7. Short pieces- leading to a scale
  8. Major scales of A, D and G
  9. Playing songs and other music pieces
  10. Violin performance

 Learn to tune the violin

There are different instruments that can be used to tune the violin

  1. the piano/ keyboard
  2. electronic tuner
  3. the pitch pipes or tuning folk

The name of the violin strings from string four to one are: G-4, D-3, A-3, E-1.

String D should be adjusted, to match the pitch (D) – the note in front of the middle C on the piano. Therefore, play D on the piano and adjust string 3, to be at the same pitch with the piano. Do the same for other strings, as shown in the diagram above.

Note G, is below the middle C. The pegs are used to tighten the strings and make big changes while the fine tuners achieve the closer tuning.

The names of the strings are different for Viola, Cello and Double bass.

Tips to help as you start to play your violin                                                                                                 

  • Make sure you rosin your brand new bow before playing; otherwise it wouldn’t be smooth and would have a little friction on the string, therefore makes a fussy noise.
  • When you tighten the bow, pay attention to create a space of 1 to1.2cm between the hair and the stick.
  • With the shoulder rest, it is easier to hold the violin between the chin and the shoulder. Your hand could as well support or hold the instrument.
  • Make sure your violin is in tune.
  • Be careful, your violin may be distuned or broken, if you drop it on the floor.

Fingering chart

Measure the distance between the notes.  T – Tone (a tone equals two semitones), on the fingerboard.

S- Semitone spacing (semitone is the distance between two adjacent notes), that is, B-C; E-F; G#-A; C#-D; F#-G, etc.

You can use a marker to write on the board and try your finger positions on 1, 2, 3 and 4. Bow or pluck the string (pizzicato)-1 at positions 1, 2, 3 and 4. Do this on all the other strings A, D and G. You would have played part of the notes of the three common scales of A, D and G.

1) Learn to place each finger and play on positions 1, 2, and 3, as shown below:


A Major scale

A B C# D E F# G# A


D Major scale

D E F# G A B

C# D

G Major scale


F# G


Playing the major scales

There are common scales that are easier to start with. We have keys A, D and G major scales.

A Major scale

A             B             C#          D             E             F#          G#          A

1             2             3             4             5             6             7             8

To play two octaves on A major, start from the fourth string as shown above. You can as well play from open string-2 (A).


D Major scale

D                     E             F#          G             A             B             C#          D

1                     2             3             4             5             6             7             8

D major –Start from the 3rd open string, play one and a fifth above the tonic, and a fifth below the tonic key D.

G Major scale

G             A             B             C             D             E             F#          G

1             2             3             4             5             6             7             8

g major violin

G major scale– You can play one or two octaves from string 4 (open string G). It has an easy fingering pattern to remember (see the spacing of the notes above). For the G major scale, the student would avoid F natural on the E-1 string.

The movement of the bow and arm should be regular along with the upstroke and downstroke playing on the strings.

Performance dynamics include:

  1. Double stopping: when two strings are played together to produce harmony.
  2. Vibrato – the use of finger tip, arm or wrist to produce a throbbing (sound) effect
  3. Legato- playing the notes with smoothness, skillfully joining the notes on the strings.

The right arm, hand and bow play significant part in articulation and dynamics, rhythm and the quality of sound.

Bowing techniques

Holding the bow: with the thumb bent underneath the frog, to support the fingers.

  • You need to add pressure with your left fingers; more pressure would make the sound audible, otherwise the tone would be scratchy.
  • Place the bow directly on the string near the f-hole, and play long notes and short notes on all the four strings, in an upstroke and downstroke manner.

Like the guitar, the violin has its challenges. You will need to add finger pressure on the string-fingerboard. A simple method for beginners to play the notes would be either by using a marker for the position of the notes or by pitch method (student already have the ability to recognize the notes-sounds of a scale).

If you intend to play in an orchestra, a music band or involved in directing music, an experience of playing the violin, and other string family (viola, cello, and double bass) would be an added advantage.

Grab the opportunity to study violin at Tonality Music School.

Call today to book your place.

For enquiries, call: 08055972777 or Email: musicolu@gmail.com