Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to Play Violin in a Metal Band - Headbanging

When I first joined a metal band as a violin player, I had grand illusions of headbanging in the windmill fashion a la Amon Amarth, until I realized that a violin, unlike a guitar, is held up by your chin and hence makes the art of headbanging considerably more difficult. So how does a violinist in a metal band headbang, or move in general, when they are on stage? I think this would be better explained by showing you examples than having you read my writing about it, but here's just a few quick tips before I get on with the videos:

1. Move your body as a whole to give the illusion that you are headbanging instead of actually moving your head separately.
2. As a violinist, you probably won't be playing during every part of every song, so headbang when you're not playing.
3. Beware of long hair getting on your violin strings after you headbang, or else you may try to bow over your own hair and your instrument will not make any noise.
4. Folk metal violinists have the option of "dancey" footwork during upbeat and festive songs, which usually works quite well.
5. Power stance is always a good thing.
6. And then there are the electric violins with shoulder straps, like the Stingray or Flying V types, which will allow for freer head movements.

And without further ado...


Meri from Eluveitie is a good example of points 2 and 4:

Rose Noire, a gothic darkwave duet from Japan has good stage movements and headbanging that would also work in a gothic metal band as well:

And then there's Michael Schulmann, who showcases pretty much all the movement possibilities the shoulder strap violin has to offer:

Comments or suggestions? Please comment below!