Where can I get cool violin sheet music?
July 15, 2007 11:25 PM   Subscribe

I've taken up the violin. Where can I find the coolest sheet music?

1. I've been searching for Andrew Bird sheet music, or artists that sound like him.
2. Where do the best violinists hang out on the net? Are there any good net databases of sheet music?
3. What books do you use?
*Bonus points for simple music. Bonus points for free music.
posted by theiconoclast31 to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Ooh. Back when I was still actively playing the violin, I'd trawl teh internets all the time for solo violin sheet music.

The Mutopia project's violin page. Off the top of my head, a simple one was Bach's Concerto in D minor for two violins and strings. Playing just the first violin part on your own should sound fine.

Virtualsheetmusic has a section of free violin page. There's other pay-to-download pieces, too. I recommend Concerto in A minor (Vivaldi), The Entertainer (easy) by Scott Joplin.

More sheet music links at violinist.com
posted by Xere at 12:18 AM on July 16, 2007

Most of the Andrew Bird stuff is pretty simple, since, as you know if you've seen him live, it's all looped. Granted, some of the licks may be a bit hard to transcribe (such as the opening riff from "Skin Is, My"), but I think that you'd do yourself a big favor by just learning them off the CD. This is easier than you'd think, and really, really good for your violin (/music) chops.
posted by rossination at 12:28 AM on July 16, 2007

Andrew Bird's playing isn't any simpler because he uses a loop pedal live. But you probably aren't going to find sheet music for his songs. The closest will be guitar tabs, but those are spotty, too, so I agree that you should use your ears.

Speaking of loop-pedalling violinists, though, check out Owen Pallett, aka Final Fantasy.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:40 AM on July 16, 2007

Great hobby! When I started, to practice I used the lesson books "All For Strings". I still play from these books when I have a chance, because it doesn't sound like practice music, it's actually fun. Occasionally I'll break out the Suzukis though. Typically you can find these used in bookstores.

I've gotten some stuff from The Violin Site but I don't think it has exactly what you're looking for.

The 'good' music, for the most part, is copyrighted and you'll have a hard time finding it online. I've used Everynote for this and haven't had a problem.
posted by sephira at 5:42 AM on July 16, 2007

I'm also a victim of adult onset violin. I have some advice.

First, Cd Sheet Music sells CDs of music for a lot of instruments. It's not free, but it's really cheap. The violin method books have more than you will be able to play in a lifetime. The Concerto and Sonata CDs would be ok, but they are pretty hard for a beginner.

I also second the virtual sheet music site. For $30 or so a year you can get a ton of music, for all kinds of instruments. My son plays alto saxophone and my other son plays flute, so I use it a lot.

I found it enormously useful to play the Schraedieck exercises on the first page of the School of Velocity. They are not very interesting, but they will make you fingers strong and even.

Finally, fast is not as important as slow. My teacher tells me that he spends the first six weeks with any student saying "you might want to practice that more slowly" and I think that's the best advice you will get. Auer, I think, said "Slow practice is powerful" and it's right.

Good luck, and hang with it. It's not easy. When I told my fiddler friend I was taking up the violin he said "Do you hate your neighbors?" You'll get there, bit by bit.
posted by vilcxjo_BLANKA at 7:15 AM on July 16, 2007

Ugh, this is always a problem. Good sheet music is hard to find, and usually costs money. The problem is not that the music is copyrighted (simply because they're mostly long-dead), but the edited editions are still in copyright. So you may be able to find copies of certain pieces online, but they won't have the same markup that a good edition would. And don't expect a cadenza.

I'd say spend the money on a good book of music. My absolute favorite is a book of Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin. They are all are absolutely amazing. Some of them are moderately easy, and some rank in the most difficult solo violin works (Seriously, how many people can play the Ciaccona?)

And yes, I too wish I could play like andrew bird. But I've never found any sheet music. I've just had to mess around and stumble on the right notes.
posted by kiltedtaco at 7:57 AM on July 16, 2007

Yeah, Andrew Bird (#1 fan, whoohoo), I think, doesn't have sheet music. But I've tabbed out a few of his songs for guitar and ukulele, so I might be able to transpose (back to) violin. By looking at and listening to his Fabchannel.com performance you can learn those songs much more quickly.
posted by tmcw at 9:15 AM on July 16, 2007

Oh, and that includes "Skin Is, My"
posted by tmcw at 9:16 AM on July 16, 2007

Although you'd need a partner for full effect, I'd recommend "Mozart's Mirror Duet." It is a bit cliche for violin, but having one person play the music right side up, and another person play the music upside down is just a cool parlor trick in my book. I was fascinated the first time I saw it done.
posted by JibberJabber at 9:16 AM on July 16, 2007

Oh, I just remembered this site, which has lots of public domain sheet music and lets you download 2 pieces a day for free.

But I've tabbed out a few of his songs for guitar and ukulele, so I might be able to transpose (back to) violin.

You'd be transcribing back to violin, not transposing, as none of the above are transposing instruments.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:11 PM on July 16, 2007

Best answer: Touche, ludwig_van. Well, here are the tabs. They're even more minimal than I thought, but these are, actually, most of what he loops for that show.
posted by tmcw at 6:11 AM on July 17, 2007

Oh, I can also tab out some of the glockenspiel parts, now that I have (found) a glockenspiel.

Glockenspiel is a fun word. Glockenspiel, glockenspiel, glockenspiel.
posted by tmcw at 12:57 PM on July 24, 2007

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