How does a violin make sound?
The body of the violin is a large hollow chamber that functions as a speaker or amplifier for vibration. The strings are suspended above the body of the instrument by a bridge, a small maple piece of wood secured to the top of the instrument by the tension of the strings. The vibration from the strings is transferred through the bridge to the body of the instrument where the sound is then amplified.
Vibration of the strings can be achieved through two methods:
1. Plucking the strings (known as pizzicato).
2. Bowed playing (drawing a bow across the strings).
The bow is generally made from wood (usually Brazilwood or Pernambuco), but many modern bows are also made from a variety of man-made materials such as fiberglass and carbon fiber. The bow is strung with a ribbon of finely combed horsehair.
Rosin (made from tree sap) is applied to the hair to make it sticky and to create friction between the bow and the strings. As the bow grips the strings and is drawn across it, they vibrate and produce sound.
Click here to learn about the string family!
Click here to go back to String Department's main page!