Should I add chords to Violins in a Piano Violin Duet of a song?

• Jun 18, 2019 - 10:40

I just realized after arranging my 3rd Piano Violin Duet arrangement.

As for my Love Live! arrangements, I didn't include any chords for the violin :

Should I rearrange them? I normally add more notes or make chords for the violin if adding the Back Vocals or any other instrumentals if necessary.


If you don't play violin, or play violin well enough to know the answer to that question, the answer is "no". While violins can indeed play chords, violin music that has chords is considered very advanced, and it is not possible to write chords such that they can be played unless the composer his or herself is a skilled violinist. By "Add chords" I assume you mean write chord markings as with a folk guitar part. Those are not of any use to a violinist. The answer is "no".

In reply to by Haoto 2

Violins can play chords of up to 4 voices, but not "quietly"; a chord played on a violin is a very attention-grabbing gesture; it is not something that is done outside of complex violin solos such as Paganini, Bach, Ysaye, etc., and it requires advanced technique, and only certain chords can be played, and you must be a skilled violinist to understand and understand how to execute such chords (I am not a violinist, but I know the repertoire). For "what do violin chords mean and sound like?" you should find a violinist, or at very least, a YouTube performance of a great polyphonic violin masterpiece, e.g., the greatest of all, Bach's Chaconne: this is what playing chords on violin sounds like and looks like: . It is utterly different from playing chords on a guitar or piano. As you can see and hear on that performance, chordal violin playing is an extremely dramatic and unusual gesture, not an accompanimental gesture. If you are not a skilled violinist, do not attempt to write chords for violin. Total understanding of the technique of the violin is necessary to know what chords can be constructed and what they will sound like (Bach was a violinist, too).

In reply to by Haoto 2

You need a violin teacher, and to learn to play the violin to an advanced level of accomplishment. That's what you are asking. As MikeN said, if you write polyphonic violin parts (which is what it would be), no one except an advanced player will be able to play your parts. Playing a chord on guitar is something you learn the first day. Playing a chord on a keyboard is something you might learn the first week. Playing fully voiced chords on violin is something one doesn't learn until years. Without knowledge of the violin, meaning you actually can play it, and its repertoire, including the Bach suites whose excerpt I sent you, no one can write chordal violin parts that are playable. The only way to acquire advanced violin technique is years playing the violin. People post music here all the time that no human can play, for all instruments. You are free to do that. But if you expect people to play your music with real instuments. don't write chords for violin.

I agree with you in general, BSG. If Haoto 2 just adds notes to make nice-sounding chords, it will be unplayable.

But maybe he was thinking of playback alone, of some anime tunes, and had no intention that any human should play it, and was asking for feedback on his arrangement. May be a suitable question for the "Made with Musescore" forum.

Also, it is often done to add chord symbols to non-classical violin parts. This is to help the fiddlers throw in a double stop at their discretion, etc. I have several gypsy music books with chords above pure violin parts. In this case, the violinist can throw in a double stop, or a second violinist should choose a couple of notes of the chord and accompany. I don't think this applies to the context of the OP, but it's just a comment on chord symbols and violins, which I'm sure you know actually.

In reply to by MikeN

Thank you very much for this very appropriate and knowledgeable comment! I'm thinking Bach/Ysaye violin sonatas, and you're thinking nonclassical scores you've actually seen. I hope both remarks are useful to the OP! I've learned something! "That's not Paganini, stupid, that's Page Nine!" (-3 stooges).

Violinist here. Treat the violin as a single singer. Music in which the violin plays more than one note (even if just two notes) is technically challenging and probably shouldn't be written by a non-violinist composer. A violinist's fingers can only reach so many notes at the same time and there are only so many possible pairing. If you don't know how to play, you may make a violin part that is literally impossible to play.

If you write the violin as one voice, one note at a time, it should be safe.

But, the piano has a possiblity of 10 notes at the same time, if you want a harmony to the violin, use the other instrument in the duet.

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