Second Violins Role in Chamber Music and Orchestral Music!

Each instrument in a group has a certain role, each equally important. Most people make the mistake of thinking that because first violin’s usually have the melody, they are always the most important. The first violins melody should be heard above the other parts, but audiences should understand that the melody wouldn’t sound the same if the other voices or counter-melodies weren’t  there.

The second violin has many different roles in both chamber music and orchesral music, one of which is playing the melody. The first violin doesn’t always get the melody. This type of writing is less common in classical era music where the first violin dominates, but in more contemporary music, the second violin takes the melody quite often.

Sometimes, the second violin imitates what the first violin or any other instrument has just played. Sometimes the imitation is just the same rhythym with different notes, and sometimes the second violins imitate the exact same line.

When the second violin has any kind of steady continuing rhythym, their job is to keep the melody in line rhythmically. This is boring to play, but so important to the whole group.

Often times the second violin will be in octaves with the first violin and then the second violin should play much louder. This helps to support the first violin as he/she climbs higher on the violin.

It is important to remember that the second violin part is important to the piece and you can have fun playing it! Think of playing second violin like a service to the group. You may rather play first violin, but the group needs a second violin! Remember to play loud and confidantly and have fun listening the group.

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