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What kind of music do you love? Hip hop, rock and roll, jazz, country, pop, classical? Humans have been making music for thousands of years. Every culture has its special music. To make those unique sounds there are hundreds, if not thousands, of musical instruments in the world.

I started learning the piano when I was a young child and studied it through college. I still play. I also played the violin when I was in junior high school. (Yes, it was called junior high school, not middle school.) The violin, also known as a fiddle, (the instrument Ayumi plays in my award-winning novel Ayumi’s Violin) has four strings and is in a category called the string instruments. It is made of wood and can produce the sweetest or the most violent sounds depending on which string is played and how and where the bow is drawn. The white and gray hair of the bow have always come from the tail of a gray male horse, but cheaper bows are now made with synthetic fiber.

The violin is tucked under the chin. The fingers of the left hand press down on the strings to create the pitch. The right hand moves the bow over the strings. Older violins make the best sound because the varnish and the wood improve with age. Precious instruments made by famous violin makers like Stradivari, Guarneri, Amati and Stainer can cost millions of dollars. Some are priceless and are lent to top musicians during their lifetime.

A violinist used to only play classical music, but today violins are heard in all genres such as jazz, country, bluegrass, rock and roll, pop, folk, and fusion.

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