Considered the queen of instruments right next to the king of instruments, the piano, the violin is one of the most elegant and well-known instruments. When getting children to be invested in music and the like, most parents would look to the piano or violin. But where did this instrument come from and how did it come about?
Most historians agree that the modern violin was originally “founded” in the early 16th century in northern Italy. It is here that the violin-making tradition would soon be sustained in the coming centuries.
The violin’s wood was mostly made of maple and spruce - both of which were readily available in the Lombardy region. While the city of Brescia, which was located at the foot of the Alps, was the earliest region to excel in the creation and craftsmanship of violins, Cremona soon became home to the world’s most famous and iconic luthiers. Giuseppe Guarneri, Antonio Stradivari and the Amati family were quickly synonymous with the art of violin making.
The violin expanded and transcended time as it became a favourite amongst fiddlers and virtuosos. It was around the 17th century that it became a significant part of orchestras. Famed composers and musicians like Vivaldi, Haydn and Paganini continued to hone the sounds of the violin and brought it to greater prominence within orchestras.
It was also around 1786 when François Tourte created the modern bow, standardizing its length and weight. The chin rest was then invented around 1820 in order to make the instrument easier to hold and while increasing its range of play. The neck and fingerboard were also modified, with the both lengthened and tilted in the 19th century, allowing the violinist to play the highest note. The bass bar was made heavier to produce a more brilliant sound.
With its rich history and rich music, the violin has certainly become a great instrument to play with throughout its musical history.