What is Hip-Hop Violin?

Hip-hop violin is a form of hip-hop that employs violin as an instrument. This unique style of music combines old and new forms of music in an interesting contrast. This relatively new type of music appeals to many people who are interested in both hip-hop styles and music theory for stringed instruments.

Many forms of hip-hop violin rely on something widely used in most forms of hip-hop, an activity called sampling. Rap and hip-hop artists usually try other works, take small pieces of sound from existing recorded material and incorporate it into their own recorded “tracks” or songs. Sampling has been a popular technique in rap and hip-hop since these genres first began in the late 20th century.

When hip-hop violins include samples of violins, these are usually looped and played over and over. Usually they are played on top of extremely rhythmic Backbeats or other percussion tracks, in strict rhythmic synchrony. This allows for the unique contrast of string sounds and hip-hop percussion mixes well.

In other forms of hip-hop violin, violins are not sampled but played live across the track. In these cases, the violin traces tend to be less repetitive. It can be a whole score written for violin, where hip-hop percussion and other elements are added separately. The notes may be part of the composition for this type of project.

Often, hip-hop violin is done through collaboration. Artists known for hip-hop percussion and the tracks are usually skilled in kind and related music. Violinists can also bring their own special skills to a project. In finished examples of hip-hop styles with violin, it is not uncommon to see the two different musicians, violinist and beat maker, billed separately on albums or song credits.

New artists are developing hip-hop styles with violin for a more mainstream audience. This type of complex music is on its way into the larger music industry, with more awareness of how rap and hip-hop break out of strictly defined styles, and appeal to a wider audience. Hip-hop violin is one example of how these genres of music can become more melodic, and cross genres to reach more diverse listeners.

  • Some hip-hop music includes violin music performed live during song recording.
  • Hip-hop violin employs violin as an instrument.

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