One of the best-known violinists today is Joshua Bell, who performs in classical recitals and concerts around the world and regularly works with top artists across all musical genres. His Mozart concertos and Schubert serenades are masterful. But he can flat-out rock as well. Don’t miss his version of The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” his jazz improvisations with Chick Corea and Branford Marsalis, or his bluegrass/Americana work with bassist Edgar Meyer. Really, you can explore a vast musical universe just listening to Joshua Bell.
A family of four
But speaking of bass, the upright or double bass plays an essential role in classical, jazz, and bluegrass. It’s the largest of the stringed instruments. In between bass and violin are the viola, slightly larger than violin but beloved by many for its slightly lower, more resonant sound. Next comes the cello, whose larger size gives it a rich, mellow tone but requires the musician to sit while playing. The bass, lowest in pitch as well as largest, is played either standing or sitting on a fairly high stool.
Practice brings rewards
Stringed instruments aren’t the easiest to play. They require practice and a good ear to play in tune, and with good tone. You’ll use the fingers of your left hand to press the strings to the fingerboard at different points, to get different notes. With the right hand you’ll draw the bow evenly across the strings to get a rich steady tone. When you do, you’ll know the deep satisfaction that only string players achieve.