The violin: Technique and style

David Douglass*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The seventeenth century was a period in which profound changes in style bridged the musical aesthetics of the Renaissance and the Baroque. As a result, seventeenthcentury styles include elements of both periods. The complex nature of seventeenthcentury music offers a wealth of musical expression to violinists who attempt to understand it. Since an in-depth analysis of the numerous musical styles that developed during the seventeenth century is beyond the scope of this paper, my intention is to identify the major stylistic trends which motivated the musicians of the era, and to explain how these trends affected both the violin and the violinist. Any discussion of style will eventually address issues of technique. Inasmuch as the seventeenth century was a volatile period of stylistic change, techniques had to adapt rapidly in order to communicate those changes more effectively. I shall explain the stylistic connection to those changes in technique. Throughout this chapter I shall refer to the violin and violinists, but it should be understood that my intention is to include (in the Renaissance sense) all sizes of violin and viola, just as the terms "recorder" or "viola da gamba" can imply all sizes of those instruments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Performers Guide to Seventeenth-Century Music
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherIndiana University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780253357069
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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