Harmonia Early Music

Wanna play baroque violin?

A Strings Magazine article on learning to play the baroque violin for the modern violinist.

three violinists

Photo: Anonymous

Three baroque violinists (Margaret Faultless, Anton Steck, and Richard Gwilt).

A recent article in Strings Magazine is a great “first stop” for the modern violinist who wants to explore period performance. Although intended for violinists, the information is easily applied to the viola, cello, and bass. Author James Reel makes a encouraging point early on about the value of string players taking up baroque instruments.

“Today’s wise young string player should at least become familiar with the basic tenets of historical-performance practice, and perhaps experiment with gut strings and Baroque bows. The pursuit is becoming so common that going Baroque is almost the mainstream thing to do.”

The article goes on to suggest approaches for both the “do-it-yourself” type and the person looking for a guided approach. Violinists Monica Huggett and Marilyn McDonald, as well as harpsichordist Hank Knox—all well-known and respected musicians in early music—give some terrific and practical advice on the many aspects that make up period performance on the baroque violin, including equipment, style guides (sound, ornamenting, what to do with vibrato), and further resources.

So, do you wanna play the baroque violin?

Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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