One of my favorite things about the great Detroit DJs of the past is their use of many different genres of music. Yes, we all know they spun house music, but what records did they use to spin that music? The answer is, they used anything and everything they could get their hands on.
They were obviously heavily influenced by some of the German techno groups and a lot of the music coming out of Europe at the time. They use a lot of that in their music. They also use a lot of R&B and blues and early hip-hop and jazz and anything else you would expect. They used some classical music too. You might not expect that, but they did and it worked well.
Obviously, a lot of instruments made an appearance in their music. Some, like the trumpet, featured very heavily. The saxophone was another one you would hear a lot. But one you might not have heard much is the violin.
Yes, there’s definitely some violin music in some of the tracks. I’ve always been a huge fan of the violin and I have read every review Violin Spy has ever written, so I love when it pops up in electronic music. People don’t use it enough, but there are a lot of DJs that do use it. It is much more common these days, but even the early pioneers made use of the beautiful violin sound.
The Detroit DJs did not use it heavily, but they definitely sampled some classical music pieces with the violin. They also use a lot of jazz pieces and folk pieces with the violin and I believe I’ve even heard the fiddle in some of their music.
For those of you who don’t know: the fiddle is basically the same thing as the violin. Actually, it is exactly the same thing. A fiddle is a violin and a violin is a fiddle. They are the same instrument. So why are there two different names? Well it’s basically about the style in which the instrument is played.
A fiddler is someone who plays the violin with much more fanfare. It is more exciting. It is more energetic. Fiddle music is used in country and bluegrass. It is the kind of music you hear in the old movies when you see people, especially cowboys, dancing while someone is playing the violin very fast. That’s fiddle music.
Violin music is music played in the classical style. Classical music obviously counts as this, but also the way the violin is used in jazz and pop and similar styles of music. This is also called violin music and not fiddle music.
Whatever you call it, the instrument is the same and the sound it makes is wonderful. I love that my favorite Detroit DJs like Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson and Derek May used my favorite instrument. I do wish they had used it more, but that’s pushing it, isn’t it? I should be thrilled with what they did already. And I am.
These guys are the pioneers and they did everything right. Just because they didn’t use one instrument as much as I might have liked, that does not in any way affect my opinion of them. And they did use it, just like they used so many other instruments. They set the stage for everyone else who uses those instruments much more heavily today. What they did led to some of my favorite modern music. And I love them for it.