Sunday, August 12, 2007

Violin in Rock:

I always wondered why the violin didn't make more of an impact in rock music. Maybe it's because it's too fancy of an instrument. Still, played right, it fits perfectly in rock. The fanciness, might, though make the violin more suited for fusion and progressive rock, the few notable places it has made an impact in rock oriented music.

What brings this to mind is Andrew Sullivan's guest blogger's posting a novice violinist's playing Van Halen's Eruption:



Some notable examples of heavy jamin' violin. Country House Shuffle by the Dixie Dregs, a great jazz fusion band. Steve Morse on guitar, Jerry Goodman on violin.



Goodman originally played with John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra in the 70s. Here is Noonward Race:



For progressive rock, Kansas had the violin market cornered. Steve Morse, of Dixie Dregs fame, actually played with Kansas in the 80s, but alas, attempted to produce more commercial hit oriented tunes (they dropped the violin!), leaving me wondering what could have been. Here is Point of Know Return, played recently, featuring violinist David Ragsdale, not the original violinist, but better:



Walsh's voice sounds a bit worn, but he gives it his all. Here is what they sounded like in the 70s with their original violinist Robby Steinhardt, before Steve Walsh lost tone from his hauntingly smooth voice. This tune, Hopelessly Human, from the album Point of Know Return, is one of Kerry Livgren's largely unknown progressive rock gems, and perfectly encapsulates an electronic chamber music feel. I love how the violin is played through a flanger:



I never got into the Dave Matthews Band, but someone will kill me if I don't feature this as authentic violin rock:



Finally, just to show you what the violin can sound like played real loud, virtuosically, with distortion, Mark Wood:



Let's here more violin in rock!

1 comment:

Palmer said...

As prog goes, don't forget Eddie Jobson in Curved Air, UK, Jethro Tull, etc. David Cross in King Crimson springs to mind too. Darryl Way...