Which violin CD (vol 1) to use?


said: May 3, 2007
 1 posts

My son is going to take violin lesson in Sept. The teacher is not a Suzuki teacher but we may be able to use some Suzuki materials. My daughter started with Suzuki piano so I’m pretty familiar with Suzuki philosophy. I also know the power of listening for younger students.

I like to start my son listening some Suzuki violin cd. I found there are several versions of the CD. I think I’ve seen Nadien, Cerone, and even Dr. Suzuki himself CD. There are also MIDI and CD for piano accompaniment. So I’m quite confused. I read review on Amazon the other day and some reviewers feel one version of CD is too sharp and someone explained that the CD may have used a different standard for tuning. Well, it sounds more complicated than piano. :( But I can’t find those reviews any more and don’t remember which CD was that.

I’m wondering if you could give me some suggestions on which CD to choose. Does the CD include both violin part and piano accompaniment part?

Also, I’m wondering if there is any special Suzuki violin teaching aids used on beginners (5 yrs old)? If so can I buy them online?

Thanks so much.


Jennifer Visick said: May 6, 2007
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

I’m partial to Cerone, but you should probably decide based on the tone and musical style you like best. See if you can borrow one of each version and compare a couple of songs from each. Remember you’ll be listening to this CD every day for quite a long time, and your child will eventually start to sound like the CD, so pick the one that leaves you with the most pleasant impression!

All of the CDs available for violin book 1 have violin playing along with piano accompaniment, as you would hear in a solo recital of this repertoire. Students can and do play along with these tracks, where they can hear the sound of the recorded violin playing “with” them.

For special accompaniment recordings:

~ The Nadien version has extra “accompaniment” tracks at the end. These tracks are the same as the ‘normal’ ones, except that the violin’s volume is greatly reduced, so that you can turn up the CD player’s volume and ‘play along’ hearing only yourself with the piano part. There is a tuning note given on the CD, so that you can tune your violin to the “A” of the recorded piano. This “A” may or may not be the same as they “A” you normally tune to. I believe it is near 440Hz (which is pretty standard in the USA), but it may not be exactly that.

~ The MIDI accompaniment CD will play the “normal” Nadien tracks if you put it into a normal CD player. It will not play the Nadien “accompaniment” tracks described above. It’s designed to be used in a Disklavier, or a keyboard, or a computer with good speakers and a good sound card. If you place it in a Disklavier or a Korg or other keyboard with a MIDI disc slot, the piano or keyboard will play the accompaniment parts—as interpreted by a different pianist (not Nadien’s accompanist). No violin part will play at all. You can change the speed and the key, depending on the capabilities of the instrument you use. The “A” will be the “A” your disklavier/keyboard is already tuned to/set at. If you place it in your home computer (PC—I don’t know about Macs), it will give you a program to download and some options to play the accompaniment through your computer’s speakers, again allowing you to choose the speed and the key at which it is played. The tone of the “piano” you hear through your computer (or on a Disklavier) is the tone quality that your instrument or your keyboard or your computer is capable of, so if you don’t have a Disklavier (most people don’t!) or a keyboard with a slot that accepts MIDI disks (again, most people don’t), or a high quality sound card and good speakers hooked up to your PC, this option may not be for you. I believe you can also see the sheet music as it’s being played if you play the disc on the computer.

~ The Cerone does not have any “extras” for accompaniment. I don’t know what the Suzuki version has, does anyone own it?

As for other differences…. I can run down a comparison of Nadien and Cerone Book 1 (below). My only comment on the Suzuki recording is that these recordings were made a long time ago (as far as recording technology is concerned), and the sound quality is not as good as you can get with the newer recordings. I don’t recommend getting the Suzuki version.

  1. Cerone has each Twinkle Variation as a seperate track, (while Nadien has all 4 variations and the theme on track one). For specific work on a single variation, Cerone’s seperate tracks are easier to work with. The one (small) advantage to Nadien’s is that each track number corresponds to the number of the song in the book. Neither Cerone, nor Nadien, (nor Suzuki,) has recorded the triplet variation (found in the revised Book 1).

  2. Tempos (overall speed of a song) are somewhat different in each recording. You will (probably) be asked to play each song “at recording speed” when you know it well.

  3. Reverb is greater on the Cerone cd than on the Nadien. Some people like this better.

  4. Cerone has piano introductions before each piece starts, making it easier to play with the recording. Nadien does not have introductions after Twinkle; however in the accompaniement tracks Nadien has a “click” to give a starting tempo, which (sort of) serves the same function as a piano introduction. In groups and at lessons you’ll (probably) be asked to play after a piano introduction; those who have Cerone will be used to this. However it will not be difficult for those who listen to Nadien to learn to play with an introduction.

  5. May Song: Nadien repeats, Cerone does not. If your teacher likes it to repeat, those who have Cerone will probably need reminding of this more often than those who listen to Nadien. However, this is a (very) small hurdle.

  6. Nadien is more emphatic (louder) on the strong beats than Cerone (especially noticeable in a comparison of the last Twinkle Variation of 16th notes, aka “Alligator alligator”—The strong beat happens on the first and 5th notes, which are the first syllables of each “alligator”). This exageration of the strong beat can make it easier to play without getting lost, however some teachers may ask you not to imitate this as you become more comfortable with the piece.

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