Sound character of the violin - Philipp Dangas

Register table of the violin

The violin register table graphic can be enlarged. It is Link-Sensitive [Clickable].

Notenbild zur Registertabelle der Violine in kleiner Darstellung

The tonal properties of the strings of bowed instruments are of the utmost importance for the instrumentation and should be carefully studied in order to make the right choice when instrumenting. The violin scale can be described as homogeneous. But every single string has its own special characteristics. As part of the „symphonic world music“The violin is another instrument intended to create a gentle color contrast. By using it at very specific solo passages as an example.

Enchanting sound file for the violin [“24 Capricci” by Nicoló Paganini ]
Download size: 249 kilobytes
The strings of the violin and their timbres
name of the string Sound character
E-string (1st string) Brilliant, powerful, penetrating and luminous in the piano.
A String (2nd String) Very similar to the D String but with greater intimacy and mellowness.
D String (3rd String) Least powerful, but with a smooth color that increases in the higher registers.
G-string (4th string) Full and noble, but a bit harsh and often dark in the lower registers.

Dynamic effect of the violin/viola

Violin dynamic table graphic can be enlarged. It is Link-Sensitive [Clickable].

Sheet music for the dynamic table of the violin/viola

The levels of musical dynamics are indicated by the representation of the dynamic table. In addition to the sound pressure scale measured in decibels [dB], the degrees of strength of musical dynamics are given on the left, which can be understood as "objective" degrees.

A diagram is drawn next to the dB scale, to the right of it. It shows the estimated dynamic effect over the entire tonal range of the instrument. The dynamic effect (volume) as judged (perceived) by the listener.

The following example illustrates this: In the low register of the trumpet, the dynamic range between pianissimo [pp] 46 decibels [dB] and fortissimo [ff] 82 decibels [dB] = 36 decibels [dB]. In the high register, the range is 8 decibels [dB]. The estimated values can deviate more or less from the "objective" ones.

It can be seen that the deviations vary from instrument to instrument. The mentioned "objective" levels of intensity piano pianissimo [ppp]= 40 decibels [dB], p=60 decibels [dB] etc. enable the composer to predict the dynamic effects of different instruments that are sounding simultaneously.

The achievable dynamic range of the violin/viola 22-30 decibels [dB]
Strength level High position Low position
Fortissimo [ff] 68 72
Pianissimo [pp] 46 42