Violin 🎻

The violin is played either seated or standing up. Solo players (whether playing alone, with a piano or with an orchestra) play mostly standing up. In contrast, in the orchestra and in chamber music it is usually played seated. In the 2000s and 2010s, some orchestras performing Baroque music have had all of their violins and violas, solo and ensemble, perform standing up.

The standard way of holding the violin is with the left side of the jaw resting on the chinrest of the violin, and supported by the left shoulder, often assisted by a shoulder rest (or a sponge and an elastic band for younger players who struggle with shoulder rests). The jaw and the shoulder must hold the violin firmly enough to allow it to remain stable when the left hand goes from a high position (a high pitched note far up on the fingerboard) to a low one (nearer to the pegbox). In the Indian posture, the stability of the violin is guaranteed by its scroll resting on the side of the foot.

While teachers point out the vital importance of good posture both for the sake of the quality of the playing and to reduce the chance of repetitive strain injury, advice as to what good posture is and how to achieve it differs in details. However, all insist on the importance of a natural relaxed position without tension or rigidity. Things which are almost universally recommended are keeping the left wrist straight (or very nearly so) to allow the fingers of the left hand to move freely and to reduce the chance of injury and keeping either shoulder in a natural relaxed position and avoiding raising either of them in an exaggerated manner. This, like any other unwarranted tension, would limit freedom of motion, and increase the risk of injury.

Hunching can hamper good playing because it throws the body off balance and makes the shoulders rise. Another sign that comes from unhealthy tension is pain in the left hand, which indicates too much pressure when holding the violin.

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