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violin octaves
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jennifer aola

September 16, 2019 - 4:13 pm
Member Since: September 16, 2019
Forum Posts: 6
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firstly .. sorry if i'm posting in the wrong place or wrong part of the forum , actually i'm new here ,, i play violin for 1 year and i have few questions which i hope u help me with ....

1 -i know there 7 octaves in piano  and over 80+ keys ... but which octaves there in violin strings?

my second question is about intervals .. what is the benefit of learning intervals for violinist?


Honorary advisor

September 16, 2019 - 8:04 pm
Member Since: March 25, 2018
Forum Posts: 456
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Welcome @jennifer aola 

To answer your first question, which is pretty straight forward, is the range of the violin extends from G, the lowest open string, upward nearly four octaves.  This is assuming standard practice in the western hemisphere where typically tuning to equal temperament using the standard frequency of A4 = 440Hz.  There are different kinds of tunings but these are much less common.

Your second question is a little more complicated.

If you are just talking about a comparison to the keyboard intervals to violin (and the other orchestral string instruments), learning the intervals is more or less included with your basic scale work.  However, there is quite a lot of theory which can be helpful which you can delve into concepts like the circle of fifths, keys and key signatures, and how music is constructed.  These are not, by the way, concepts that are exclusive to strings.  This is an area of music called music theory which helps to understand all music and how your particular instrument works within that structure.  There are entire music courses which teach theory.

But to help you with how intervals are applied to strings, the idea is really about steps.  I can refer to the piano, because you seem to be familiar with the piano.  The interval steps are the keys on the keyboard.  So for example, playing the natural, or white keys, are whole steps.  When you go from a white key to a black key, which is normally a flat or a sharp, you are playing a half step.  

String instruments also have whole and half steps.  But since there is no keys or frets to use on the orchestral strings (violin, viola, cello, bass), we talk about finger spaces.  Generally, on a single string, whole steps are played by extending a full space from one finger position to another on the string.  The half steps are when you play notes that are together, or touching.  

This is a fairly simplified explanation, but it is helpful to know that all instruments use intervals.  It is part of music structure and not necessarily instrument specific.

I hope this helps.  Please ask any questions.  We are happy to help!

- Pete -

Sacramento, California

September 17, 2019 - 6:41 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 1527
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"Nearly four octaves" is the range of a good amateur violinist. These days college-level violin performance majors are expected to learn 4-octave scales at least up to B-flat, and even some youth orchestras require 4-octave G major and minor scales in auditions, so the professional range is a little more than four octaves.

About the benefits of learning intervals: knowing what different intervals sound like help you tune from note to note or play double-stops in tune, and allows you to check your intonation against open strings.


September 17, 2019 - 7:14 am
Member Since: September 30, 2014
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jennifer aola,

First of all welcome to the forum, if I read your question correct the lowest note on the violin is G3 on the piano/keyboard then going up as pointed out 4 Octaves.

Keep us posted on your journey with the fiddle.



Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

Fort Lauderdale
September 17, 2019 - 7:26 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16268

Welcome to the forum Jennifer.

Intervals are important for intonation on the violin. Also, we play all intervals on the violin. Usually double stops but even chords with as many as 4 notes at the same time.
To get an idea, listen to Paganini's 24 Caprices. :)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

jennifer aola

September 20, 2019 - 5:47 pm
Member Since: September 16, 2019
Forum Posts: 6
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thank you all for these beautiful reply .. its helping me !!

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