​​​​​Featured Composers:

Jules Massenet

Mark O’Connor

Pablo de Sarasate

Sons of Mystro

Welcome to our Lifelong Listening Center! 

When most people think of violin music, they think of stuffy concert halls or fancy restaurants. However, the smooth, singing violin sound that we all know so well is only one of many sound and style possibilities for this versatile instrument. This season we will study different violin playing styles and meet some creative artists who are pushing the boundaries of traditional violin sound.

​​Violinists have played in string quartets for hundreds of years, but the Kronos quartet is unique.  Instead of playing Mozart or Beethoven, this quartet likes to play works by modern composers and collaborate with other artists to produce their creative sound.  This piece is traditional music from Iran, and it uses lots of sound effects.  Notice how the first violinist uses a scratchy, cold sound and slides his hand.  If you listen carefully, you can hear also hear some pizzicato in the background.  Did you expect a lullaby played on the violin and other stringed-instruments to sound like this?

(Use worksheet 1 & worksheet 2)

The beautiful, smooth sounds heard in this piece are what most people think of when they picture violin music.  They imagine sitting in a fancy restaurant, maybe even on a romantic date while drinking in these lush, emotional sounds which remind us a bit of the human voice.  The violin is very good at making smooth (legato) sounds because it uses a bow to pull sound out of the instrument.  Did you know that violin bows actually are made with the hair from horse’s tails?

(Use worksheet 1worksheet 2)

Singing beautiful melodies isn’t the only thing the violin is good at.  Listen to the second section of this piece of Spanish music.  The violin imitates guitar sounds when the player plucks the strings.  Plucking the violin strings instead of using the bow is called pizzicato.  The pizzicato sounds are short and direct, making them very different from the long, smooth sounds made with the bow.

(Use worksheet 1 & worksheet 2)



Download & Print 

Listening Worksheets

#1  Listen & Write

#2  Listen & Draw!

#3  Composer or Artist Facts

#4  Link Facts

#5  Free Page!

How to earn 
Listening Points...

Using the content in the Listening Center, complete the Listening Worksheets and

discuss your work with 

your instructor.  

Hand in your completed worksheets to the front desk.  

Each worksheet is worth 
10 points.   


Students will get 

completed worksheets 
back and achievements 
will be recognized at 
the annual recital.

Which worksheets should

I be using?


use worksheets #1 and #2


use with worksheet #3

Jules Massenet

Mark O’Connor

Pablo de Sarasate

Sons of Mystro

Other Links:

use with worksheet #4

Violin Sound Effects​

Research on your own!

use with worksheet #5


Composer: Pharrell Williams

(arranged by Sons of Mystro)

Performers: The Sons of Mystro

​​​​People who play folk music on the violin are called fiddle players. The fiddle is the same instrument as the violin, but it is played in a very different style. Fiddle players use their bows to make shorter, faster sounds and they often slide into the notes they play. Notice how Mark O’Connor uses mostly the middle of his bow to play fast notes while his wife Maggie uses short bows to make percussive sounds like a drummer.  

(Use worksheet 1 & worksheet 2)

Meditation from Thais
Jules Massenet

Performers: Rusanda Panfili (violin)

and Donka Angatscheva (piano)

Composer: Pablo de Sarasate​

Performer: Ann Fontanella

Composer: Traditional,

arranged by Kronos Quartet and Jacob Garchik

Performer: Kronos Quartet

​​​​Violinists today are more creative than ever when it comes to exploring the possibilities of sound on their instruments.  There are rock bands that include violins, and here we have two brothers who play their own arrangements of popular songs.  Notice the violins they play on are electric!  Notice also that they often will move their bows very fast.  That fast bowing is called tremolo and it helps their music to sound very energetic.  They even use their voices as part of the music to build up the energy of the crowd.  Here they play a jazzy version of a song you might recognize.

(Use worksheet 1 & worksheet 2)

Music 101

Jerusalem’s Ridge
Composer: Traditional

Performers: Mark and Maggie O’Connor