SELECTING AN INSTRUMENT
Learn about each instrument—hear what they sound like—and choose the right one for you!
The violin is the smallest and most popular of all the string instruments. It has a high, bright sound. Because the violin often plays the melody, it is considered the leading instrument in the orchestra. The violin and the fiddle are one in the same instrument! The violin is just referred to as a fiddle when the style of music being performed is folk, bluegrass or country.
Slightly bigger than the violin, the viola's tone is more mellow and deep. Like the violin, the viola is played on the shoulder. This instrument often provides much-needed rich harmonies, but sometimes shares the melody with the violin.
The cello is a bigger string instrument that can play both low and high sounds. Due to its size, the cello must be played sitting down. Cellos provide an important foundation in the orchestra, and cellos often get to play the melody. Although cellos are a large instrument, they come in different sizes. Beginners usually start with a smaller cello, and grow into a larger one!
(Note: The harp player on this first clip is Bridget Kibbey a professional harpist who was a 1997 Findlay High School graduate and played harp and oboe in the FHS orchestra!)
The largest string instrument, the double bass provides the lowest sound in the orchestra. Double basses mainly provide foundation, and really stand out when playing jazz or bluegrass. Like the cello, the double bass comes in different sizes and can grow with the student.