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-   -   What is this violin player doing in this video? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=892408)

dstarfire 03-23-2020 03:58 PM

What is this violin player doing in this video?
 
In this piece (https://youtu.be/Nzo3atXtm54?t=20) the red-headed violin player seated in front of the conductor is moving her bow unlike any of the other players, and I can't pick out any melodies that seem to match the movements she's making. So, what is she doing?

Note: I know very little about stringed instruments so that may not be an actual violin. I'm also not that experienced at listening to classical music so it's very likely I'm missing the melody she's playing.

scr4 03-23-2020 04:08 PM

Looks to me like she's in sync with the violinist on her left, and the ones behind them. That's the 2nd violin section. The 1st violin section mostly plays the main melody, the 2nd violin plays a more supportive role.

pulykamell 03-23-2020 05:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dstarfire (Post 22206101)
In this piece (https://youtu.be/Nzo3atXtm54?t=20) the red-headed violin player seated in front of the conductor is moving her bow unlike any of the other players, and I can't pick out any melodies that seem to match the movements she's making. So, what is she doing?

Note: I know very little about stringed instruments so that may not be an actual violin. I'm also not that experienced at listening to classical music so it's very likely I'm missing the melody she's playing.

She's playing detached, staccato sounding notes, though I believe this technique may be called spiccatto by violinists. (I have never played violin, but I know there's various names for various articulation techniques, and looking them up, I think this may be the one). It's the "bouncing" percussive string sound that is under the main string melody.

Musicat 03-23-2020 06:26 PM

At the beginning, at least, she is playing a backbeat, which is a secondary part to the more legato melody. She stands out a trifle due to her exaggerated head and arm movements, but there are others playing the same part.

Believe me, if she were making up her own part and going her own way, the conductor would the first to notice.

RealityChuck 03-23-2020 08:08 PM

She's sitting the the viola section, not the violin section. That means she's not playing the melody at the start (she does so later). The viola is often used the play counterpoint or the like.

You can hear the difference if you listen closely to the music. There is a "dit-dah, dit-dah, dit-dat" sound as the main melody sounds.

Ukulele Ike 03-23-2020 08:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RealityChuck (Post 22206552)
She's sitting the the viola section, not the violin section...

On behalf of the other respondents, OUCH.

dstarfire 03-23-2020 10:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RealityChuck (Post 22206552)
She's sitting the the viola section, not the violin section. That means she's not playing the melody at the start (she does so later). The viola is often used the play counterpoint or the like.

You can hear the difference if you listen closely to the music. There is a "dit-dah, dit-dah, dit-dat" sound as the main melody sounds.

Okay. I THINK I hear what you're talking about. It blends in REALLY well with the oompah-like melody done by the brass. I had to tinker with the equalizer just to notice it, and I'm still not sure that's the strings and not just remnants of the brass.

Also, thanks for pointing out the other players following the same pattern. Seeing them with the same rhythm makes her actions a lot more understandable.

GuanoLad 03-23-2020 10:50 PM

She looks like she's having fun, though. You can tell which bits are her favourite.

RivkahChaya 03-24-2020 12:12 AM

She is much more animate than the player to her left, who almost looks like he's having trouble seeing the music. Although, there is one part, just before they go into the final section where she makes eye contact with him, and they both smile, then it looks like their section crescendos.

I know some professional musicians who say a lot of the movement, and the "being into it" is for the audience, but still, they don't look happy at parts that aren't happy, they just exaggerate what's really going on.

panache45 03-24-2020 01:53 AM

As a former violist I can attest to the fact that you often don't hear the viola section. But if you heard the same piece without them, their absence would make a big difference.

I don't like the way that particular orchestra is laid out, 1st violins, 2nd violins, violas and cellos. I prefer 1st violins, 2nd violins, cellos, violas. I think it has better balance. Some orchestras even have the 2nd violins on the right, which is also good.

MDfive21 03-24-2020 11:04 AM

She is sitting in the first chair position in the viola section. First chair is the leader of the section, so in addition to being the best violist, she is also responsible for making sure her section is producing a tight cohesive sound and her exaggerated movements may be done in order to cue the rest of the section and keep them in time.


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