I have not always been a music listener and ever since I did start listening to music, I haven’t enjoyed all kinds of music. I kept jumping from genre to genre trying to figure out songs that I could keep listening to. After going through many genres I realized that I don’t really give a particular damn about the lyrics of songs, I always tend to focus on the music, the beats, the instruments; the feel of the song rather than the poem that it sings.
I have already written about how I prefer to listen to music than to songs. One of the ‘genres’ of music that is really endearing to me is string music. While talking about string music in general would be a gargantuan task I’d like to talk about one band of musicians who perform string covers of songs.
A note: I have yet to find answers to the question: What kind of songs can have good violin covers? I have seen songs ranging from rock and alternative rock to EDM and pop being covered elegantly, effectively and entrancingly, using violins and/or other string instruments.
There are a lot of people out there who play the violin, many of them in the most exquisite manner that you can imagine. You have your dancing Lindsey Stirling’s and quick David Garrett’s. You also have people like Two cellos and Piano Guys who give complete performances right up to making videos to go with their auditory artistry.
Among all this, there is the Vitamin String Quartet. The Vitamin String Quartet have for long been a yardstick for me to compare string covers of songs. They have consistently produced brilliant covers of songs ranging from Summertime Sadness to Do I wanna know to Numb to Seven Nation Army. I could just keep listing down brilliant songs of their’s one after the other because their covers have that quality; the quality of actually bringing that song out to the audience. You can really hear the actual song in the cover.
String music to me is a peaceful alternative to lyrically clouded songs. It doesn’t distract like lyrics do but at the same time manage to bring out the same emotions. Vitamin String Quartet is one of the best in the world when it comes to making string covers of songs.
There is some magic that string music has. It is harmonious (not just in the string harmonics that make the music) while at the same time retaining the ability to cover songs like Uptown Funk and Thrift Shop. VSQ can bring out the “sad” feel in songs like My immortal. They can also cover songs like Diary of Jane and I’m not okay (I promise). The VSQ have covered old classics like Stairway to Heaven and even tried their hand at newer songs like Bangarang.
I could go on and keep listing down songs but I should probably stop. I was just trying to illustrate the kind of range that the VSQ covered. They have a wide range of genres that they cover, wide enough that every person who listens to music would find something that they know. They cover with such beauty that one barely notices that these songs all originate from different genres. They all start to seem alike but at the same time those minute differences that you didn’t know about come out. Those subtle things that you catch onto when listening to songs but won’t be able to articulate about. It is those things that really come out and make you realize how each of these songs are. That is probably the beauty of string music.
While they are brilliant in the covers they make, with the cover resembling the original quite closely in many cases, VSQ has just one slight little problem that I have felt many a time. They always tend to give a lesser role to the cellos in the melody. The cellos mostly end up sidelined as back-up instruments with the violins generally raking up all the spotlight. There are some songs where I have felt that the cellos could’ve been used more appropriately. But this sidelining is generally not at the expense of the quality of their music so it isn’t a difficult thing to disregard. But at the same time I’d have liked to hear them produce something that balanced the role of all four string instruments in the quartet.
Ignoring that small bias in their instrument role division, VSQ does a brilliant job whenever they try their hands at something. I’d suggest that everyone give them a listen, you are bound to find at least one cover from their heap that you like.