How to use violinplot() method in seaborn

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by gayathrimohan dot icon Updated: Aug 17, 2023

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The Seaborn library in Python provides a violin plot. It is a type of data visualization that combines aspects of a box plot and a kernel density plot. It displays the distribution of a numeric variable for different categories or groups. Mirroring a kernel density plot creates the "violin" shape. Stack these shapes for each category along the vertical axis. Violin plots are particularly useful for comparing the distribution of data. They are effective in cases where box plots might not reveal enough information.   

Seaborn uses a violin plot to visualize the distribution of continuous data. Different categories do it. At the same time, it's not used for time series, text, or spatial data. 


Let's discuss how you could adapt or combine these data types for visualization:  

  • Time Series: Violin plots are more suited for displaying distributions of data. Time series is more suitable.   
  • Text Data: Violin plots are not used to visualize text data. But if you're interested in showing some statistical distribution related to text data. You might preprocess the text data into numerical values. Then create a violin plot to show the distribution of those values.  
  • Spatial Data: Violin plots aren't suitable for spatial data. Spatial data is better visualized using techniques. Such as choropleth maps and scatter plots on maps to represent patterns. Also, it represents relationships across geographic locations.  

Some of its features include:  

  • Distribution Comparison: Violinplots display the distribution of data across different categories. It helps with an easy comparison between them.  
  • Vertical and Horizontal Orientations: Violinplots can be oriented. You can do this depending on your preference and the nature of the data.  
  • Hue Parameter: You can use the 'hue' parameter to categorize the data further. Within each category, it helps to visualize more dimensions.  
  • Width Control: This parameter lets you adjust the width of each violin. Aiding in controlling the level of detail displayed accomplishes it.  
  • Split Violins: You can split violins for each category. This makes comparing distributions side by side easier.  
  • Inner and Outer Plots: Customize the inner and outer aspects using parameters. They are 'inner' and 'outer' to display individual data points and quartile values.  
  • Annotations: You can add annotations to highlight specific data points on the plot. Text or lines do it.  
  • Customizable Colors and Palettes: Seaborn offers a range of color palettes. You can use those to suit your visual preferences and make the plot more informative.  
  • Kernel Density Estimation: Violinplots use kernel density estimation. We use that to visualize the underlying data distribution. This provides insights into the density of data points at different values.  
  • Overlay with Other Plots: You can overlay other types of plots. Such as swarm plots or scatter plots, on top of violinplots to add more information.  
  • Mean, Median, and Quartiles: You can change how it shows summary statistics in the violin plot. You can display the mean, median, and quartiles.  
  • Statistical Information: Seaborn allows you to add statistical annotations. Annotations like confidence intervals or bootstrapped values highlight significant differences between categories.  

Here are some tips for using violin plots:  

  • Choose the Right Data: They are great for comparing. The distribution of a continuous variable across different categories does it.   
  • Select Relevant Categories: Decide which categorical variables you want to compare. This could be different groups, classes, or categories in your dataset.  
  • Consider Data Distribution: Violin plots display the distribution of data. So, it is important to think about the type of distribution your data exhibits. This can help you choose the appropriate visualization style.  
  • Choose Visualization Style:  
  • Single Violin: Use a single violin plot. When comparing the distribution of a single numeric variable, people use it. They do it across different categories.  
  • Grouped Violin: Use grouped violin plots. It compares many numeric variables. The same set of categories does it.  
  • Split Violin: Useful when comparing the distribution of a single numeric variable. The process occurs across two different levels of a binary categorical variable.  
  • Color and Aesthetics: Choose colors that make the plot easy to read. You can use different colors for different categories to enhance visual distinction. Consider customizing the plot aesthetics to suit your needs.  
  • Annotations: Use annotations to add relevant information. Such as mean or median lines, quartiles, or any other statistics you want to highlight.  
  • Pair with Other Visualizations: Violin plots can be powerful. It is powerful when combined with other visualizations. It is like scatter plots or box plots to provide a comprehensive view of your data.  
  • Labels and Titles: Always include clear labels for the axes. Also, include a title that explains the purpose of the visualization.  
  • Interpretation: Remember that violin plots show the distribution of data. It does not show the summary statistics like means or medians. Interpret the plot.  
  • Consider Audience: Tailor the visualization to your audience. You might include more detailed information if it's for a technical audience.   


Seaborn's violinplot is a useful tool for exploring data patterns. Especially when analyzing seasonal trends, people do this. Also, it would help if you were understanding how data changes over time.   

Here's a general process you can follow:  

  • Import Libraries: Import the necessary libraries. It includes Seaborn and Matplotlib. To create the violin plot and customize its appearance, use these.  
  • Load and Prepare Data: Load your dataset and ensure it's structured with columns. Those columns represent time-related information, like dates or seasons.  
  • Data Aggregation: You should total your data to a suitable level.  
  • Create the Violin Plot: Use Seaborn's violinplot function to create the plot. Pass the appropriate data, x-axis, and y-axis.  
  • Customize the Plot: Customize the appearance of the plot. You can do it by using various options provided by Seaborn and Matplotlib.   
  • Interpret the Plot: Analyze the violin plot. It will be useful to understand the distribution of your data. Across different periods, people do it.  
  • Compare Many Groups: You can create many violin plots on the same axis. Different groups or categories use it to compare.   
  • Identify Patterns and Anomalies: Look for patterns, trends, and anomalies.   
  • Communication: Present your findings and insights to your audience.   


To summarize, you can use a violinplot from Seaborn to visualize data. We use box plots and kernel density estimation to understand data better. Violinplots provide a comprehensive view of the distribution of your data. They use it to showcase key features. Such as central tendency, spread, and multimodality. Thus, it will incorporate violinplots into your data analysis toolkit. You can use it to enhance your ability to extract meaningful information. Also, people use it to make informed decisions and communicate findings.