Why aren't their more violins in Modern pop music? -

mindlessobserver

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This is always something I have found curious. The lack of Violins in pop music, which happily brings in electric bass, electric guitars, and electric pianos. But very rarely does a band or singer whip out the electric violin. Which IMO is a crying shame because the Violin has almost as much "range" as a vocalist, and when combined really can make some awesome stuff. From what I have listened too, it tends to be more popular in Asian pop music then western pop music, with the gold standard (again IMO) being Yuki Kaijura.


My first thought is it has to be difficulty. The violin is a notoriously temperamental instrument to learn, and has severe has physical limitation thresholds put on it. If you cannot conform your body to the proper posture, from your torso position, head position, arms and all the way down to the formation of your finger tips, you simply cannot play it. It also takes forever to get even the basics down. 3 years minimum, and a full on decade to get to advanced competency. No joke, learning to play the violin is often treated like a marshal art at the higher levels. If you don't start young, its not worth starting at all.

Even so, there are so many people who do put in that decade and reach advanced competency. Many who don't even start as children it should be noted. So why not put one of those players in your band? Is it a cultural reason? Do western bands view the violin as an "outside genre" instrument for snooty stuck up people who want to go to the opera in a suit rather then a basement dive bar to rage against "the man"? Is the barrier not difficulty but cultural?

Or is it actually systemic? Does "the man" think violins don't sell for whatever reason? And this then percolates down from on high?
 

oldTireWater

Incompetent as fuck
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Listen to bluegrass. The fiddles overwhelm all the other instruments. I think it's difficult to have a violin in a piece without having it take over.
 
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My first thought is it has to be difficulty. The violin is a notoriously temperamental instrument to learn, and has severe has physical limitation thresholds put on it. If you cannot conform your body to the proper posture, from your torso position, head position, arms and all the way down to the formation of your finger tips, you simply cannot play it. It also takes forever to get even the basics down. 3 years minimum, and a full on decade to get to advanced competency. No joke, learning to play the violin is often treated like a marshal art at the higher levels. If you don't start young, its not worth starting at all.

You're either a Violinist or someone who has never played a stringed instrument. It's neither harder nor easier than any other stringed instrument. 3 years for the basics? Jesus Christ.
t. All-Rounder Stringed Orchestra

EDIT : To expand upon this, as it does answer your question; it's both cultural and practical. Violins are only found in either extremely high brow or extremely low brow forms, because both forms typically have a larger ensemble. Violins are not very versatile; you can't effectively play nice sounding chords on them and they're exclusively located on the Treble clef, meaning they rely on other instruments to really push them forward. Guitars are insanely popular because they bridge the gap between "high brow" virtuousity and "low brow" breadth. They scale from bass to treble and can create multiple, fuller sounding chords. Playing a violin, or any bowed instrument quite frankly, by itself ends up being more somber than playing a guitar by itself. Because of this innate shortcoming, it's almost always found in ensembles, and ensembles are almost always very formal or very traditional, not very pop-like. Violins don't lend themselves well to the persona of a pop idol. That having been said, there are a lot of instances of violins and bowed instruments seeping into pop music of days gone, but I wouldn't know where they are in modern pop music as it's more "dance hip-hop", and "dance hip-hop" doesn't mix well with Violins. Lo-fi on the other hand...

Apologies for the rambling, I hope there is something coherent in it.
 
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mindlessobserver

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You're either a Violinist or someone who has never played a stringed instrument. It's neither harder nor easier than any other stringed instrument. 3 years for the basics? Jesus Christ.
t. All-Rounder Stringed Orchestra

EDIT : To expand upon this, as it does answer your question; it's both cultural and practical. Violins are only found in either extremely high brow or extremely low brow forms, because both forms typically have a larger ensemble. Violins are not very versatile; you can't effectively play nice sounding chords on them and they're exclusively located on the Treble clef, meaning they rely on other instruments to really push them forward. Guitars are insanely popular because they bridge the gap between "high brow" virtuousity and "low brow" breadth. They scale from bass to treble and can create multiple, fuller sounding chords. Playing a violin, or any bowed instrument quite frankly, by itself ends up being more somber than playing a guitar by itself. Because of this innate shortcoming, it's almost always found in ensembles, and ensembles are almost always very formal or very traditional, not very pop-like. Violins don't lend themselves well to the persona of a pop idol. That having been said, there are a lot of instances of violins and bowed instruments seeping into pop music of days gone, but I wouldn't know where they are in modern pop music as it's more "dance hip-hop", and "dance hip-hop" doesn't mix well with Violins. Lo-fi on the other hand...

Apologies for the rambling, I hope there is something coherent in it.

Yeah, I do play it. My bias is clearly showing lol.
 

Some Manajerk

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Aurelio Voltaire incorporates them into his music a lot.

I've always found violin music to be more, well, emotional is the word for it i guess. Pop just doesn't seem like a genre it fits in really.
 

verissimus

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Call me old fashion, but when I think violin in music, I think of classical music (or something akin to it), or something medieval or orchestral/epic. I certainly don't think rap, hip hop, heavy metal, reggae, etc.
 
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William Tell Underpass

#ApplesForHobos
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Violins in modern music generally seem have a similar place to harmonicas, where they either take the place of vocals or just get a cameo or a solo. (referencing either country or classical).

The violin seems to be a bit of an attention whore as in instrument, i guess because of the high pitch it's always the most in your face, particularly in contemporary music when there are only 2 - 5 instruments playing at once it is a bit more obvious.
 

Stoneheart

Well hung, and snow white tan
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Sure, but not in the music that gets the most play. Not saying its not there entirely, but its definitely not as common as you would think it would be.
pop music is made in a meeting room by money people and pedos. Paying a skilled musician to play the violin is much to expensive.



I certainly don't think rap, hip hop, heavy metal, reggae, etc.
metal uses it from time to time.

Yeah, I do play it. My bias is clearly showing lol.
so you are looking for a band? there are a couple of metal genres open for violins, and its the best way to make money with music.
 

General Disarray

In the dark of the day or the black of the sun
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"No Leaf Clover" by Metallica was performed with an orchestra, it has violins in it. Also various folksy bands that have come in vogue over the last three to five years as well like Mumford and Sons. Of course there's also this, one of my favorite drinking songs:

sigh - they don't make men like they used to.
 
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