Five-string violin: instrument composition, use, difference from violin and viola

Five-string violin: instrument composition, use, difference from violin and viola

A quinton is a violin equipped with a fifth string that is tuned below the instrument’s normal range. In addition to the standard violin strings “re”, “mi”, “la” and “salt”, a “do” string of the bass register is installed. In fact, a five-string is something between a viola and a violin. The purpose of creating a musical instrument is to expand the range for the sake of stylistic experiments in music.


Compositionally, the 5-string instrument practically does not differ from the standard one. The material for manufacturing is similar. A quinton tuned to standard pitch includes the following strings, using the American method of note notation:

  • E5 (2nd octave – «mi»);
  • A4 (1st octave – “la”);
  • D4 (1st octave – «re»);
  • G3 (small octave – “salt”);
  • C3 (small octave – additional “do”).

The outlines of the five-string violin are also almost similar to the standard one. But during its manufacture, the body is usually slightly expanded and deepened, this allows you to create optimal resonance for the bass string “to”. The neck holding the neck is also slightly expanded for string spacing and ease of playing. The increase also affects the head of the instrument, since it holds not 4, but 5 string pegs.

The 5-string variety is larger than the classical violin but smaller than the viola.


The popularity of the five-string version is growing from year to year, which is associated with interest in musical experiments. Thanks to the increased range of sound, the musician boldly improvises, uses original harmonic combinations.

Today, the five-string is most popular in North America, Great Britain, and in countries that practice the Western European violin system of learning. Quinton is used in classical and swing jazz, it fits into any modern musical style. Rockers and funk rockers prefer to use the electric violin.

A musician who has mastered the quinton can perform compositions for both violin and viola. Many works have already been created specifically for the five-string instrument.

Famed country violinist Bobby Hicks became interested in the quinton in the 1960s. Having modified the instrument on his own, he played it live at one of the concerts in Las Vegas.

The five-string violin is not used to perform classical compositions. Due to the specifics of its sound, the quinton is not suitable for symphony orchestras and solo classical playing.

YAMAHA YEV105 - пятиструнная электроскрипка. Обзор с Людмилой Маховой (группа Дайте Два )

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