Musical Instruments / Violin

Violin

A Brief History of Violin

Violin is a string instrument with four strings which are played with a bow. The smallest member of the violin family traces its history to the 9th century Byzantine Empire but the modern violin was developed in the early 16th century Italy, most notably North Italian cities such as Venice and Genoa.

It is thought that the renowned Italian violin makers (luthiers) such as Stradivari, Amati and Guarneri families were inspired by several string instruments from the Byzantine Empire and the Middle East as well as the Renaissance fiddle known as vielle that was used in the Middle Ages and was very similar to the modern violin. With the exception of the 18th and 19th century modifications, violin remained virtually unchanged since the 16th century.

Etymology

The word violin originates from “vitula” which means stringed instrument. “Vitula” is also thought to be the origin of German “fiddle”.

Types and Usage

As mentioned earlier, violin hasn’t changed a lot since the 16th century with the exception of modifications in the 18th and 19th centuries. The most desirable instruments among both collectors and violinists are thus the early masterpieces by Stradivari, Guarneri and other luthiers from the so-called Golden Age of violin making. In the 2011 online auction, Stradivari’s Lady Blunt was sold to the Nippon Music Foundation for nearly £10 million.

Since the Baroque era, the violin is one of the central instruments in classical music. Today, it is used in a variety of music genres including popular music. In the 1920s, violin got its electric equivalent but it didn’t achieve the success of electric guitar.

Prominent Violinists