About the Instruments

6Here you will learn a little bit about each of the instruments in the String family. There are links for each instrument connecting to different performers’ pages so you can hear samples of the sounds of each instrument. Keep in mind that each instrument comes in a variety of sizes, so no matter the instrument your child wishes to learn, there is a size that will fit him or her. For the larger instruments, cello and bass, we have school instruments available to rent for a one time low fee. These instruments can be kept at school so each student has a home and school instrument, eliminating the need to transport the larger instruments to and from school. If you have any further questions about the instruments, please feel free to e-mail caitlin_bartholic@hboe.org.

VIOLIN: The violin is the smallest and highest pitched instrument in the string family.  It is played by supporting the instrument on the left shoulder under the chin. The violin is also referred to as a “fiddle” when played with a fiddle style. Some famous violinists include: Jascha Heifetz Itzhak PerlmanJoshua Bell, and Midori

VIOLA:  The viola looks very similar to the violin, and is in fact played the same way. The viola, however, has a lower, richer sound, and is just a little bit bigger than the violin. Some famous violists include: Evan WilsonPinchas ZukermanPatricia McCarty, and Yuri Bashmet

CELLO: The cello is the only instrument in the orchestra that is always played while sitting. Much larger than the violin and viola, the cello is supported by an end pin that is extended to meet the ground while the instrument is supported by the player’s legs. Some famous cellists include: Mstislav Rostropovich Jacqueline DupreYo-Yo Ma, and Mischa Maisky

BASS: The bass is the largest and lowest sounding instrument in the orchestra. Bassists usually stand to play the bass which, like the cello, is supported by an extendable end pin that meets the ground.  Some famous bassists include:  Edgar MeyerFrancois Rabbath, Gary Karr, and Charles Mingus