Spring is the season known for the return of the sun and the giver of new life. Those themes are especially inspiring after a winter of social distancing and increased shutdowns.
To honor this energetic vibration of spring, we’ve put together a list of five songs, from multiple music genres, you can learn to play on your violin, viola, or cello.
Beyond the Rites of Spring: From Sacred to Folk
Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” and Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons: Spring,” are certainly go-to pieces for string musicians interested in celebrating spring. However, we wanted to go beyond those quintessential pieces, to help our followers branch out.
Whether you’re gearing up for a virtual spring concert, or you are interested in learning to play traditional springtime music for string instruments, these five suggestions offer a place to start.
1. The Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross (Haydn)
The score we’re presenting for this famous and traditional spring score by Joseph Hadyn is arranged for a string quartet. In fact, Joseph Haydn is considered to be “The Father of the String Quartets” and you can read more about Haydn here.
This score, The Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross, is a traditional work performed in spring honoring the Christian liturgy and the story of Christ on the cross and is known for being both beautiful and dramatic.
2. The Moon’s Reflection on the Second Spring (Yànjun)
The Buddhists also have a sacred spring tradition, that of honoring the birth, enlightenment, and passing of the Buddha. These ceremonies take place during the full moon of the Indian month, Vaishaka.
Chinese composer, Huà Yànjun, composed The Moon’s Reflection on the Second Spring for traditional Chinese instruments. Click here to learn more about those. Even so, learning this piece is a good way for creative string players to improvise on their instruments, adapting them to the piece and seeing what sounds you can elicit using a variety of playing techniques.
If you are inspired to learn more about sacred spring music from around the world, read our post, Sacred Music for the Spring Holidays.
3. Honor J.S. Bach in Mid-May
Did you know Johann Sebastian (J.S.)Bach was born on the first day of spring, March 21st? What better way to celebrate Spring than to perform your favorite Bach piece? Or, keep practicing and hold out for the Bach Festival, which takes place worldwide in late Spring (Bach Festival 2021 kicks off the weekend of May 14 and 15).
You don’t have to participate in a Bach Festival to play Bach music. There is an abundance of sheet music available online. One of our favorite pieces to play in the spring is Bach’s, The Art of Fugue, arranged for string quartet.
4. Swing for Spring
We promised some springtime music for alternative genres. The first on our list are these swing-jazz classics featuring “Avalon,” and “Dark Eyes,” for violin, viola, and cello. You can find these pieces arranged for solo instrumentalists if you prefer, or get together with some friends to form an ensemble. Click here to listen to famous jazz violinist, Stéphane Grappelli, performing “Avalon,” a song that is bound to put some “spring” in your step.
If you’re inspired to learn more about playing jazz on your string instrument and the pros who’ve paved the way, read our post highlighting, The Life and Career of Jazz Violin Great Stéphane Grappelli.
5. Music for Dancing Around the Maypole
There’s hardly a culture in the world that doesn’t honour Spring with social gatherings and traditional dances. The Maypole dances from Celtic and pagan traditions are no exception. If you love folk music and fiddle tunes, this is a great time to begin practicing the jigs and tunes used to get audiences on their feet and dancing whether there’s a Maypole or not.
Here is the four-part sheet music to the traditional folk song, Come Lasses and Lads. You can Click Here to listen to the song and anchor the melody in your head.
Whether you prefer to honour your classical roots or branch out into other musical genres, this list of songs will help you celebrate springtime whether you play the viola, violin, or cello. Let the festive revelry begin!