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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

If you go online, you can find free recordings from a world famous concert violinist, Tasmin Little. It's part of her effort to get classical music to the ears of mainstream listeners, as Rob Gifford reports from London.

ROB GIFFORD: It was clear from almost the first moment she picked up a violin at the age of seven that Tasmin Little had a special flare. Within a year, she was enrolled at the famous Yehudi Menuhin School just outside London, and her dazzling career as a concert violinist took off from there.

But last month, she took the strange step of putting her latest recordings on the Internet for free. Sitting in the front room of her house in West London, cradling her 1708 Stradivarius violin on her lap, she explains why she's doing it.

Ms. TASMIN LITTLE (Violinist): The simple answer is it's about removing barriers. You can reach out to an audience that you could never physically get to. So it was about making something available, opening a door for people for free so that they can be introduced to a whole new world of music.

(Soundbite of Bach's Partita in E major)

GIFFORD: The first piece on the download is the Partita in E major by Johann Sebastian Bach. Tasmin Little says it is among the most challenging works for solo violin. Just the instrument on its own, stripped bare. As such, it epitomizes the feel and, indeed, the name of her whole project, which she has called "The Naked Violin."

But it's not just the classics that she's recorded and is offering up for free. There are pieces by the modern British composer Paul Patterson and by the early 20th century Belgian composer Eugene Ysaye.

(Soundbite of music)

GIFFORD: On the Web site of "The Naked Violin," there's also a spoken introduction to accompany each piece and each composer, as well as some online tutorials for beginners.

(Soundbite of audio)

Ms. LITTLE: The theme is centered around the two notes of A…

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. LITTLE: …and D.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. LITTLE: So the first part of the theme goes something like this.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. LITTLE: Which is something of a question. There then follows a response.

(Soundbite of music)

GIFFORD: The Naked Violin project is more than just a free listen, though. Tasmin Little just wants to get the violin and classical music generally out of the highbrow ghetto. So on her Web site, she lays down a three-step challenge.

(Soundbite of audio)

Ms. LITTLE: The three steps are very simple. The first one is download the CD. The second one is get to know the music, because sometimes you can hear a piece for the first time and you don't really get it. Step three is use this as a means of getting to know more about classical music. Buy a CD or come to a concert. And the final bit of step three is if you don't want to go to a concert, write and tell me why. What's the remaining barrier?

GIFFORD: So far, Little says, she's had lots of feedback and plenty of invitations to play. So this summer, she's taking her missionary zeal out to the places where people do not generally listen to classical music - a women's prison, an oil rig, various shopping malls and lots of schools - all part of trying to start a musical revolution with just one Naked Violin.

Rob Gifford, NPR News, London.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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