The Fragility Of The Violin Conveys A Deeper Message

Nothing sounds quite as heart-wrenching as a sad melody played on the violin. It makes no doubt that John Williams’s theme from Schindler’s List would not have been as powerful if it had been rendered through another cord instrument. In the hands of violinist Itzhak Perlman, the piece delivers a unique intensity and passion, so eloquent of the theme of the film.

Anybody familiar with Tchaikovsky’s work understands as well the crucial role of the violin to express the torturous depression that pledged his life. His Violin Concerto in 1878 was created as the result of a broken marriage and a bout of depression. The violin echoes the dual lightness and darkness of these moments in Tchaikovsky’s life magnificently.

Beyond creative genius and musical talent, there is a universal truth about the sadness of the violin. No other instrument can convey the depth of human darkness and pain as powerfully as the violin. As the Ted’s List infographic below explains, playing the violin requires practice to master the dexterity, posture, and technique of this inimitable instrument. It goes without saying that a talented musician can convey sadness through the instrument of their choice.

However, the violin is the only instrument that can closely match the slow, quiet, and darker timbre of sorrow in human speech. Many instruments can approach the human characteristics of sadness. But only the violin is capable of reflecting the evolution of human emotional speech, combining a darker timber and low pitch for deep sorrow with brief moments of high pitch emotionality, a deep sadness punctuated by frenetic emotional energy.

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