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Once we can play with good tone and intonation, and we’ve mastered the most basic tunes in the repertoire - Twinkle, Hot Cross Buns, etc., it’s time to add color and interest with dynamics - volume changes in performed music. Among these are the F’s (Forte), mF’s (mezzo Forte) and p’s (piano) you see under the staff in printed music. Even simple songs like Long Long Ago and French Folk Song can come alive with dynamic contrasts.

But how do we achieve these changes? Well, the answer is just a click away! This month (September 2011) I have a new article in Strings magazine detailing the four factors that contribute to volume changes on a violin family instrument. Learn how pressure, bow speed, sounding point, and bow tilt collaborate to give you the presence and nuance you desire.

Check it out in the print version or through this link:

Please email me at if you have a violin, viola, fiddle, music biz, or practice related question you’d like answered in the blog or on a podcast, have a story or insight to share, or if you’d like to inquire about violin, viola, or fiddle lessons with me, in-person or online via Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom.

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Laurel Thomsen

Violin, Viola, Vocals
Performance, Instruction, Recording

Based in Santa Cruz, California

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Photography by Michelle Magdalena
Skype: laurelthomsen

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