Music Performance

Lindsey Stirling's Top 13: Unleashing the Power of Music

From Arcangelo Corelli in the 17th century to David Oistrakh in the 20th, the violin has undoubtedly helped virtuosos make waves in the music scene for centuries. 

But we know you've heard a lot about violin music in the early centuries. So we'll not spend too much time looking at artists you've probably read about and listened to hundreds of times. 

Instead, we'll focus on a modern artist, showcasing 13 of Lindsey Stirling's best genre-blending songs that take the violin to a whole new level. 

Who is Lindsey Stirling?

Lindsey Stirling is no stranger to anyone interested in playing the violin. She's an American composer, dancer, and violinist with a massive fanbase — as evident from her millions of YouTube subscribers, four Billboard chart-topping albums, and two Billboard Music Awards.  

California-born and raised in Arizona, Lindsey started violin classes at age five and became famous at 23 when she appeared on "America's Got Talent." Stirling impressed judges by blending a medley of pop, hip-hop, and classical music on her violin and, even more exceptionally, incorporating dance in her performance.

After appearing on the show, Lindsey produced numerous albums, including "Shatter Me," "Artemis," the Christmas albums "Warmer in the Winter" and "Snow Waltz," and her self-titled debut album. She also produced "Brave Enough," a documentary concert film that explores her life during the "Brave Enough" tour.

Exploring Lindsey Stirling's musical stylings

Lindsey Stirling stands out from other musicians because of her ability to bring different music genres together. She blends classical, electronic, and pop genres, proving that traditional rules no longer apply to modern music.

While each song is unique in its message and sound, Lindsey applies many of the same techniques. Some of her favorite techniques include pizzicato, staccato, legato, and spiccato. She also incorporates double-stops to add layers to her tracks.

13 outstanding songs by Lindsey Stirling on violin

Lindsey Stirling's top songs are an innovative blend of electronic dance beats and classical violin music. She showcases the violin's versatility and tells stories through her music. 

Here are 13 of her most popular songs. 

1. "Crystallize"

"Crystalize" is one of Lindsey's top tracks because it combines dubstep and classical violin, two completely different genres. She plays the violin and uses dubstep's mechanical sounds as backup, presenting an unexpected musical experience. 

Violin skills showcased

Lindsey uses various violin techniques in the song, including staccato, pizzicato, and legato. These techniques contribute to the song's popularity by facilitating a seamless blend between Lindsey's violin play and the mechanical sounds in the background. 

Staccato boosts clarity and sharpness throughout the piece, pizzicato adds a lively feel, and legato ties different notes together to create a flowing masterpiece. 

2. "Elements"

As its name suggests, "Elements" focuses predominantly on nature. In the music video, Lindsey performs in natural settings, highlighting the four elements of nature: wind, water, earth, and fire. 

Her choice of nature complements the song's uplifting and powerful tone. It also allows her to showcase her versatility, as she dances and plays the violin simultaneously. 

Violin skills showcased

Lindsey incorporates fast-paced runs during the intense portions of the song to evoke listeners' excitement. She also employs pizzicato and layering in upbeat and climatic sections of the song to add rhythm and complexity to the piece. 

3. "Shatter Me"

"Shatter Me" is the title track on an album that includes several other songs on this list, as well as masterpieces like “Beyond the Veil” and “Take Flight.” It represents a blend of music and storytelling by featuring Lindsey's signature violin play and Lzzy Hale's powerful vocals. It touches on themes of fear and anxiety, encouraging listeners to break free from their limitations. 

Violin skills showcased 

There's a powerful interplay between vocals and violin, as Lindsey mirrors Lzzy's lyrics throughout the song. The violin plays an emotive role as Lzzy sings sad lyrics and an intense role as the vocals become more empowering. 

Lindsey Stirling's technical precision is evident in her violin solo, as she continuously incorporates double stops and fast-paced runs. She also uses pizzicato, enhancing the piece's rhythmic element. 

4. "Long Way Home"

"Long Way Home" is the optimal fusion between pop and classical music. The track features the popular indie pop band Walk off the Earth and our violin virtuoso, Lindsey Stirling. It's significant to Lindsey's discography because it represents her commitment to bringing multiple genres together. Love, freedom, and spontaneity are prominent themes throughout the song.

Violin skills showcased 

As with many of Lindsey's collaborations, there's a sort of call and response between the vocals and violin play. She shifts her note intensity to complement the lyrics, creating a harmonious piece. 

5. "Roundtable Rival"

The Wild West influence is prominent in the "Roundtable Rival" music video. The video features a showdown between Lindsey and a rival violinist outside a saloon. This scene is exactly what you'd expect in a Wild West film, the only difference being that they use violins instead of guns.

There's also a cinematic feel to the music itself. You can hear dramatic changes in intensity, with some scenes carrying high-energy notes and others more subdued notes. 

Violin skills showcased

Lindsey incorporates rapid spiccato and staccato techniques to create a series of short, sharp, and controlled notes and includes a foot-tapping rhythm to give the song a lively feel. 

There's a sense of musical storytelling through the dynamic shifts in note intensity and the accompanying music video. Stirling further creates reverb effects using her electric violin to add depth to the song. 

6. "Shadows"

"Shadows" can be interpreted as a symbolic song. At the beginning of the song, Lindsey's shadow mirrors her actions, dancing when she dances and playing the violin when she does. But, as the music continues, the shadow deviates from her actions, focusing on dancing as Lindsey plays the violin. One can interpret this as a call to embrace the aspects of themselves they may keep hidden in the shadows. 

Violin skills showcased 

Lindsey incorporates double-stops into this song to enhance its depth and complexity. She also plucks the strings with her fingers at various points in the song to add a percussive quality to the piece.

7. "The Phoenix"

The song's title and musical elements highlight the themes of rebirth, empowerment, and resilience. The title, "The Phoenix," symbolizes a mythical creature that rises from its ashes, highlighting themes of renewal and empowerment. Its energetic and dynamic composition evokes a sense of power and resilience. 

Violin skills showcased

Lindsey uses ascending motifs to create soaring melodies that emulate the upward flight of a phoenix. Performing this piece can be challenging, as it requires precise fingerwork and seamless transitions between delicate and intense sections. Lindsey's ability to perform the track highlights her skill and agility. 

8. "The Arena"

"The Arena" is inspired by Theodore Roosevelt's "The Man in the Arena" speech. In the speech, Roosevelt points out that the only person who matters is the one in the arena, not the critics pointing fingers. 

Similarly, Lindsey's track reiterates that the only thing that matters is combating one's own criticism of themselves. Like many of the songs in her repertoire, this track is profoundly personal and explores the theme of personal growth. 

Violin skills showcased

The song features fast-paced runs that highlight Lindsey’s technical agility. She also uses pizzicato to enhance the piece's overall texture. 

9. "Prism"

Like many songs in her "Brave Enough" album, "Prism" is about self-reflection. The title is symbolic of personal transformation. Like a prism changes light to create a beautiful display, a person can grow into their true potential. 

Violin skills showcased 

Pizzicato, fast-paced runs, and double-stops are apparent in this piece. They enhance the track's rhythm and overall texture. 

10. "Hold My Heart"

"Hold My Heart" is an emotional song that combines ZZ Ward's heartfelt vocals with Lindsey's emotive violin melodies. The collaboration adds a depth of emotion, as Ward's soulful vocal style effectively conveys the song's intended poignant message. 

Violin skills showcased 

Lindsey's violin play serves as an extension of the song's emotional expression. There's a musical dialogue wherein Ward communicates with her vocals, and Lindsey responds with her violin. 

As with many of Lindsey's songs, there's a blend between pop and classical music. Her use of strings brings classical elegance to the track, whereas electronic beats allow her to maintain a modern pop sensibility. 

11. "Master of Tides"

"Master of Tides" is an energetic track that combines the spirit of the sea with Lindsey Stirling's signature electronic-classical fusion. The song's use of live elements and public performance brings the song's narrative to life. 

As Lindsey performs, the water rises in the background, literally presenting her as a "Master of Tides" and figuratively presenting her as a master of rhythm. 

Violin skills showcased 

Lindsey uses maritime-inspired violin riffs to mimic the repetitiveness of waves in the ocean. She uses staccato to represent waves hitting the shore and legato to create a flowing sensation, much like you'd experience at sea. 

Playing this track requires technical agility, as you must highlight the unpredictable nature of the ocean. Lindsey displays exceptional fingerboard mastery, rapid bowing, and nimble fingerwork. 

12. "Lost Girls"

"Lost Girls" is a continuation of Lindsey's earlier track, "Shatter Me." Like the earlier track, it carries themes of struggle and liberation, encouraging the listener to move toward self-discovery and healing. The music video complements these themes by showing Lindsey in a dark, eerie forest, running to liberate herself. 

Violin skills showcased 

Lindsey uses expressive melodic lines to convey struggle and ultimate renewal. The haunting nature of the melodies captures the listener's attention on a deep level, making it seem like they're moving through the journey together. 

Lindsey also uses an intricate layering of violin sounds, alternating between delicate and energetic harmonies to reflect the complexity of the song's primary themes. 

13. "Activate"

"Activate" is a Barnes & Noble Vinyl Exclusive song by Lindsey Stirling. Like many others in her "Brave Enough" repertoire, the song is associated with positivity and empowerment. She has infused the song with the sense of optimism we've all come to expect from her over the years. 

Violin skills showcased

The song features various fast and intricate runs, which have become synonymous with many of Lindsey's songs. She also uses double stops frequently to create harmonies throughout the song. 

Start your journey to violin expertise with Trala today

Lindsey Stirling proves that the violin isn't confined to classical music. Her music transcends traditional genres by seamlessly blending classical, electronic, and pop music to create transformative listening experiences. 

But, like you, Lindsey was once a beginner, and growing from beginner to virtuoso takes time, practice, and lessons with an expert teacher.

With Trala, you can easily access teachers across all different genres, ready to instruct you at your own pace and convenience. You'll learn everything from bowing techniques to finger placement to put you on the path toward violin mastery. 

Want to learn one of the Lindsey Stirling songs we mentioned above? Start now and take your first lesson with Trala today!

Editor's note: The image of Lindsey Stirling used was adapted for this blog and is attributed to "Lindsey Stirling" by Gage Skidmore (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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