Cami Shaskin

Violin Blog


This blog is about all things violin. It is meant to educate, inspire, and provide resources for parents, teachers, and students. The author takes full responsibility for the viewpoints expressed here. In instances where she quotes ideas from others, she pledges to cite her sources as fully, responsibly, and accurately as possible. Topics will include book reviews, technique tips, entertaining anecdotes, quotes, jokes, educational findings, instrument care suggestions, violin in the news, repertoire lists, etc.

Cami J. Shaskin graduated with her master's degree in Music Education in 2008. Violin has always been her primary instrument, since beginning private lessons at age five. See for her music résumé, or click on Spotlights for historical recordings. Cami has enjoyed an array of experiences in writing, from penning award-winning articles as a journalism staff writer in high school, tutoring peers at BYU's Writing Center, earning a Writing Fellows scholarship and a minor in Language and Computers, and later becoming a published author. She recently picked up web programming as a hobby, earning a certificate in Web Programming and Development from the local community college. This blog has been a collaborative effort between her and her husband, who is a Web Developer by profession. Together, they designed and coded this blog and its original content "from scratch."


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Why It's the Frog
05 Nov 2021

I learned this treasure in grad school. I was a graduate assistant for a String Techniques class at the time. The lady who was responsible for teaching the class was a talented musician around my age, and we quickly became friends. The students were studying to become teachers themselves, in some type of K-12 school setting in the future. Most of them had a background in band, not orchestra. They were in our class to learn the ins and outs of working with a string section. One day in class, one of the undergraduate students raised their hand and asked, "Why is the frog called the frog?" I chuckled. It was a question we all wondered, even as experienced string players. But I was surprised when my friend actually had a response instead of a shrug! One of her hobbies was caring for and riding horses. She knew her horse anatomy. She also knew her world history. And she had an educated theory as to an answer to that question. The violin, she explained, dated back hundreds of years, and even nomadic cultures had these instruments. These nomads raised horses on the plains. It's common knowledge that the bow hairs for a violin, viola, cello, or string bass, are made from real horsehair. Well, she said, why would it be a stretch to imagine that these nomads referred to other elements of their musical instruments based on horses, something they knew and understood?

She then told us that the bottom of a horse's hoof is called the "frog." Interesting! As we violinists know, the frog of the bow makes up the base or bottom of the bow (where the hand holds it). The correlation is clear! The bottom of the hoof and the bottom of the bow, both responsible for movement and grounding, in their respective ways, were called by the same name! I felt like a light bulb had just turned on. This experience occurred a while ago. More modern blogs (2013, 2020, etc.) on violin-making also corroborate this fascinating theory as a legitimate one. Click here for an example. (In addition, that particular article explains that the frog of the bow used to be called the "heel," a similar comparison . . . . )

You're welcome.

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