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String Music Appreciation

Explore the history, construction and techniques of different string instruments, and analyse the famous Butterfly Lovers Concerto

1,883 enrolled on this course

Woman playing violin

String Music Appreciation

1,883 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Unlimited subscription

    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn more

Discover the fascinating stories behind stringed instruments

From Haydn and Bach in the West to Chen Gang in China, string instruments have inspired some of the world’s most powerful music and gifted composers.

On this course, you’ll examine the history of string instruments. You’ll go on to explore famous composers, and the most-celebrated Chinese classical string composition of all: the Butterfly Lovers Concerto.

Discover how violins and other instruments are made.

Learning via videos and articles, you’ll delve into individual string instruments – including their origin, history and development. You’ll explore the structure of the instrument and the impact that its shape has on the sound created.

You’ll discover the story behind Chinese instruments such as the Guzheng, Pipa, and Erhu, and learn about the history of the violin, and how it’s made.

Study the history of classical music and famous string composers

You’ll get a comprehensive introduction to the history of classical string music, and learn about legendary string composers, including Haydn, Bach, Dvořák, Vivaldi, and Kabalevsky.

You’ll be able to define the string and chamber music repertoire, including the string trio, quartet, and quintet, as well as learning about string music virtuosos.

Explore the beloved Butterfly Lovers Concerto

The Butterfly Lovers Concerto is perhaps the most well-known and influential piece of Chinese classical string music. You’ll undertake a case study on the Concerto, exploring its history and discovering what makes it so popular.

Finally, you’ll examine plucked string instruments, including the guitar, the bass, and electric string instruments, giving you a rounded and comprehensive overview of string music, advancing your critical faculties and your appreciation of these spellbinding instruments.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds Hello, everyone. Welcome to String Music Appreciation. 弓與弦的午茶時光 My name is Shan-ken Chien. This is one of massive open online courses (MOOCs) in Chung Yuan Chirstian University. One specialty of this course is that I invited my friends of musicians from Manhattan Chamber Music Society to perform some live music in the show.

Skip to 0 minutes and 35 seconds Chamber music is a group of people working together and create* something special that cannot be done individually. Just like any other team work. As musicians our job is to understand the meaning of each note each symbol, and each phrase on the written music. To do that, we must have understanding of the musical time period and the style of that time period. I think music is about connecting people. MOOCs can help us connect with the world and they share our music and experience. Through MOOCs, we can show people how we create our music How we learn to understand the composers and their ideas. We could share them how each instrument work And what kinds of sound they provided.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 seconds We throw out our ideas to each other And discuss the possibilities to make our music better. I believe this is very important as a human being– To make the world better.


  • Week 1

    History and Construction of the Violin

    • Welcome to String Music Appreciation

      This week's topic is the violin. Through watching videos and reading articles, you will get a basic knowledge of the history and construction of the violin. A quiz at the end will help you check how much you have learned.

    • The History of Violin

      Here we look at the emergence of the violin through history and how it became the instrument we know today.

    • The Construction of Violin

      The name of Violin's body parts are mentioned here.

    • The Violin's Bow

      Besides violin body, violin bow is part of bowed string instruments. Introducing two types of the violin bows.

    • Violin’s Technique

      Violin’s left hand technique is demonstrated in this activity.

  • Week 2

    Bowed String Instruments

    • The Viola

      The Viola

    • The Cello

      The Cello

    • Violin Family and Viol Family

      Violin Family and Viol Family

    • The Double Bass

      The Double Bass

  • Week 3

    Special Topic: The Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto

    • Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto - Introduction

      Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto - Introduction

    • Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto - I. Falling in Love

      Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto- I. Falling in Love

    • Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto - II. Refusing to Marry

      Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto - II. Refusing to Marry

    • Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto - III. Transformation to Butterfly

      Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto - III. Transformation to Butterfly

  • Week 4

    Plucked String Instruments

    • The Classical Guitar

      The Classical Guitar

    • The Electric Guitar

      The Electric Guitar

    • The Electric Bass

      The Electric Bass

    • Other Plucked String Instruments: Lute Family

      Other Plucked String Instruments: Lute Family

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Exploring and understanding string instruments, composers, virtuoso, and repertoire
  • Developing knowledge of the history and background of classical string music
  • Developing appreciation of classical string music scales and compositions
  • Describe the differences and construction of all common western string instruments

Who is the course for?

This course would appeal to anyone about to take up a string instrument or early in their journey of learning one, as well as people studying music theory or global music. It would also appeal to learners interested in history and music in general.

Who will you learn with?

This is Shan-Ken Chien. I am a violinist and an associate professor at Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan.

Hi, I am the course’s assistant Verna Chang.
I’m a student in Chung Yuan Christian University.

Who developed the course?

Chung Yuan Christian University (CYCU)

Chung Yuan Christian University is a private university in Zhongli District, Taoyuan City, Taiwan. The university was established as Chung Yuan Christian College of Science and Engineering in 1955 by a group of Taiwanese and American Christian educators to train science and engineering talent in the Christian spirit.

  • Established

  • Location

    Zhongli, Taoyuan City, Taiwan
  • World ranking

    Top 1000Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 20 Mar 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 4 March 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 4 March 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

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