Do you prefer to play first or second violin?

March 20, 2022, 7:21 p.m. · In the last few weeks, I had the chance to return to play in an orchestra, and for a concert I played in the second violins, and the other in the first.

So after all this “off” time, which was better, the former or the latter? What was the most fun? What was more difficult or easier?

They both definitely have their own personalities.

On the second violins, you are surrounded by the orchestra – which is a comfortable feeling, if a bit noisy. There is less positional play, but arguably more difficult to count and fumble, providing that “backdrop” harmony. We must cultivate a taste for harmony. For example, while playing “Firebird” on the second violins last week, we found an error in the score (every time I play this thing, it comes back) – one bar before 10, in the lower part, it should be a natural E, not an F. Correcting that was downright triumphant – it changes the whole mood, moving on to the final movement! This is the level of harmonic geek and pride that I have developed, playing within seconds.

But playing the first violins requires a certain courage. You often have to play the melody, often far into the stratosphere. And the melody, by its nature, is an outgoing beast, there is no hiding place. The first are also positioned right next to the public, without a buffer. No way out of the spotlight here! All of this can serve as a reminder: the projector is actually a nice place for an artist.

So which do you prefer to play, first or second violin? And if your answer is “both”, let us know what you’re in the mood for today, like if you were to sit in a foursome and someone says “first or second today?” which? Or if someone offered you a choice of orchestra, which one would you choose? And if you prefer to play the viola, let us know and tell us why!

You might also like:


This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.