Compendium of Fiddle Styles/Rock
Rock music and rock and roll bands typically utilize electric guitar for the higher pitched melody part and thus seldom deploy violin. Nevertheless some rock musicians have experimented with violin in a rock setting as either part of the backup (such as Paul McCartney's Eleanor Rigby) or as a dual lead instrument sharing the spotlight, or alternating, with lead guitar.Violin as the featured lead instrument in the rock genre is a rarity and is more frequently associated regional bands.
Rock fiddle is played on solid body electric violins or on violins fitted with electric pickups. These are mounted on the bridge, on the sound post or stuck onto the body much as is done with acoustic guitar. Sizzling effects are achievable using aggressive bowing technique and runs high up the neck up to the limits of human hearing range. Due to the typical accompaniment of electric guitar, bass and rock drums, playing into the microphone may lead to impossibly high levels of feedback.
Videographic and audio documentation[edit | edit source]
Technically this is original research or synthesis, which is discouraged at Wikipedia, so enjoy WikiBook's liberality and dig these awesome rock covers:
- Must listen! Kashmir Ian Anderson Lucia Micarelli on violin
- Lonely Day by System of a Down covered by Vitamin String Quartet
Early history[edit | edit source]
The emergence of rock music in the 1950's and 1960's is rooted in the basic instrumentation of drum kit, electric bass guitar and lead electric guitar; all of this instrumentation was fed into tube amplifiers until the emergence of the transistor. Building on this basic setup, other instruments were added as transistor technology advanced, typically the electric keyboard which became popular after the introduction of the Moog synthesizer. Rock violin emerged in the art rock movement which had experimented with classical instruments and musical influences associated with early music. Examples include Jethro Tull, King Crimson and Velvet Underground. In the same era that Ian Anderson popularized the use of flute in rock, others added violin to their line up. These bands included Jefferson Airplane,Fairport Convention, Mahavishnu Orchestra and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.
Technical basis[edit | edit source]
Rock violin is played on solid body electric violins or on violins fitted with electric pickups. These are mounted on the bridge, on the sound post or stuck onto the body much as is done with acoustic guitar. Sizzling effects are achievable using aggressive bowing technique and runs high up the neck up to the limits of human hearing range. Due to the typical accompaniment of electric guitar, bass and rock drums, playing into the microphone may lead to impossibly high levels of feedback.==History and development==
Rock fiddle, like rock music in general, owes much to blues. Incorporation of violin into rock, as with jazz, has been a slow process, resisted by some critics as an"unlikeliest and perverse misuse of an instrument".Categorization is more appropriately conducted using the flexible methodology of fuzzy logic insofar as the categories tend to overlap and ambiguity. However, rock has roots in folk music particularly the American folk revival of the 1960's, and thus as a matter of usage some writers refer to "rock fiddle" when discussing playing by classically trained musicians who join rock bands and thus import classical style rather than fiddle style into their playing. Rock is itself highly varied and violin is used in some forms more than others, notably art rock, electric folk rock such as Fairport Convention, Southern rock, in a different manner more reminiscent of American fiddle styles.
Instrumentation[edit | edit source]
Rock violinists often use solid body electric violins to reduce feedback. Rock is an international phenomenon, and rock violin is consequently influenced by cross fertilizations from rock players such as Ashley MacIsaac Nevertheless American rockers continue to experiment. For instance, eclectic rocker Natalie Stovall, a graduate of Berkelee Conservatory,covers Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Michael Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, The White Stripes, Lynard Skynyrd, Jimmi Hendrix,all the while alternating between standard rock vocals and fiddle/violin riffs.
Violin orchestration in art rock[edit | edit source]
Progressive rock, or art rock, moves beyond established means by experimenting with different instruments, including violin. From the mid-1960s The Left Banke, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys, had pioneered the inclusion of harpsichords, wind and string sections on their recordings to produce a form of Baroque rock and can be heard in singles like Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (1967), with its Bach inspired introduction. The Moody Blues used a full orchestra on their album Days of Future Passed (1967) and subsequently created orchestral sounds with synthesisers. Classical orchestration, keyboards and synthesisers were a frequent edition to the established rock format of guitars, bass and drums in subsequent progressive rock.
Notable proponents[edit | edit source]
Papa John Creach[edit | edit source]
Papa John Creach played with (Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, Hot Tuna) played in a style more closely approaching true fiddle as opposed to violinistic style. He is reputed to have started playing as early as 1935 before joining Chicago's Chocolate Music Bars.
Sugar Cane Harris[edit | edit source]
Sugar Cane Harris played with John Mayall Bluesbreakers, Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention and later fronted Pure Food and Drug Act. Other credits include John Lee Hooker: Folk Blues – 1959 Little Richard: Little Richard is back – 1964 and with Johnny Otis.
Mahavishnu Orchestra 1970[edit | edit source]
Jerry Goodman played violin with jazz-rock fusion pioneer John McLaughlin, first on McLaughlin's third solo album and thereafter with the Mahavishnu Orchestra which included Billy Cobham on drums, Rick Laird on bass guitar, Jan Hammer on electric and acoustic piano and synthesizer. The first major release was 1970 on John McLaughlin's album My Goal's Beyond (1970) followed by Mahavishnu Orchestra's,The Inner Mounting Flame (1971) followed shortly thereafter with Birds of Fire (1973). Jean-Luc Ponty played on subsequent albums Apocalypse and Visions of the Emerald Beyond.
German rock players[edit | edit source]
David Garrett is classically-trained and moved to "rock and roll". He suggests that the Bach's Chaconne lends itself to rock; true to rocker style, in his interview with Rolling Stone he refers to it as "a fucking great peice". His CD Rock Symphoniescovers Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Guns n' Roses' "November Rain," Metallica's "Master of Puppets" and Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir.
Guest appearances in rock ensembles[edit | edit source]
- Byron Berline primarily a bluegrass stylist with extensive rock connections Rolling Stones, Gram Parsons, Flying Burritto Brothers
- Rufus Thibodeaux Cajun fiddler who played with Neil Young
Specialty violin rock ensembles[edit | edit source]
FUSE is a two piece electric violin rock band signed to Edel/Universal records featuring Linzi Stoppard and Ben Lee (Violinist). Anecdotally, it may be that their cover of [[I Love Rock and Roll has inspired a viral phenomenon, as the web is awash with imitators.
.[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- See for instance Mahavishnu Orchestra Birds of Fire where Jerry Goodman performs an ostinato; John Mayall's USA Union album on which Don "Sugarcane" Harris performs a solo on "Crying".
- For example, Geoffery Castle leads his band in appearances at Jazzbones and other venues in the Seattle area, with a highly qualified supporting band with national level rock credentials.
- R. Unterberger, "Progressive Rock", in V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra and S. T. Erlewine, eds, All Music Guide to Rock: the Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul (Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books, 3rd edn., 2002), ISBN 0-87930-653-X, pp. 1330-1.
- J. S. Harrington, Sonic Cool: the Life & Death of Rock 'n' Roll (Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corporation, 2003), ISBN 0-634-02861-8, p. 191.
- E. Macan, Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), ISBN 0-19-509887-0, pp. 34–5.