Violin Range: What Can It Really Do?

By Richard Pryn •  Updated: 11/22/22 •  5 min read

So you want to know what the Violin range is?

Awesome. 

That’s why I wrote this article for you. I love the Violin because of its wide range of notes, dynamics, and expressions. 

I wanted to give you all the information you need on this beautiful instrument that is the Violin. The smallest instrument in the string family.

Whether you are playing or writing some music for the Violin, understanding what this instrument can do is incredibly useful.

My favourite thing about this instrument is how when a soloist plays over a full string orchestra in a Violin Concerto for example, you can still hear it very clearly. 

This is testament to the amazing design and acoustics of this lovely instrument.

Note Range – What are its lowest and highest notes?

The playable note range of the violin starts on the low G below middle C (G3) all the way up to A7 which is a full two octaves higher than the open E string.

The Violin can actually go even higher than that if the player utilizes artificial harmonics which would allow the Violin to reach up to D8. Blimey.

Playing in these higher octaves on the Violin can be incredibly difficult and often result in tuning issues so when writing parts for the player in this area be mindful of these possible difficulties.

I tend to use this top range for slow soaring melodies that sit on top of the full orchestra playing. They add a sense of “opening up” in the music and gives the sound a lovely shimmer too.

Decibel Range – How loud can it play?

Having played the Violin for years I can attest to the volume of this instrument.

When played at fortissimo (ff) the Violin can reach anywhere between 75-95 Db. 

If you are playing the violin at this volume for extended periods of time I would suggest using some form of ear protection.

To counteract this volume I would often use a mute when practicing to bring those levels down to a more manageable volume. I know my ears appreciated it even if my flat mates did not.

If you do want to go even louder than that then you can of course mic it up or use an electric Violin and plug it into an amplifier.

Parts of the Violin

The Violin is made of wood that has been cut, glued and shaped specifically for its acoustic qualities.

The woods used for making Violins are spruce, willow, maple, rosewood, and ebony. Spruce tends to be used for the front plate whilst maple is used for the back plate, rib, neck and scroll.

The strings are held by the tail piece and stretched across the fingerboard and wound around the pegs within the pegbox. This enables you to tune the Violin by turning the pegs and also to use the fine tuners set in the tail piece.

The Violin’s Frequency Range in Hz

The lowest note a Violin produces is G3 which is a frequency of 196Hz and the highest note of the Violin is A7 which is a frequency of 3520 Hz. If you include the highest artificial harmonic a Violin can play all the way up at D8 4698.63Hz then the frequency range of the Violin is 4502.63Hz.

Violin Range on a staff

What’s The Violin’s Range On Piano

You can see that when placed next to the other members of the string family that the Violin has the biggest range and also produces the highest frequencies.

How Many Notes Are On The Violin?

The Violin is capable of playing 30 notes on each string which if you include e harmonic notes is a total of 120 notes. 

If you are not including enharmonic notes then the Violin can play a total of 50 notes.

How Many Octaves?

The Violins range in octaves is just over 5 octaves (G3-A7). 

This makes the Violin an incredibly versatile instrument that can cover a huge amount of ground.

What Makes The Violin So Great?

When you combine the wide range of notes that the Violin can play and the decibel range with the many textures, timbres, and articulations it can produce you get an incredibly diverse and useful instrument.

The Violin can play fast, slow, loud, quiet, gritty, smooth, wobbly, straight and pretty much every descriptive word under the sun. 

I love the Violin for the simple fact of the matter that it can cover all the emotions without making the listener feel like it’s being taken to a specific time (Victorian England for example) or place (the Scottish Highlands for example). 

In that respect it is very much like the piano – a must have tool for any composer.

Richard Pryn

Hey there. I am an award winning composer for movie trailers, including Bladerunner 2049, Diablo II, WandaVision, and loads more. I am the founder of The Trailer Music School where my aim is to teach everything I know about music composition, production, and generally being a functional human being. I podcast, blog, vlog and jog (sometimes). I also love coffee, nachos and self-improvement. I live with my wife, three kids and numerous pets. I am also known by my pseudonym, Richard Schrieber (it’s a long story).

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