History of Instrument
For thousands of years musicians have used many different kinds of instruments which are strings, such as harps and lyres. Around the 1500s, the first violins and viols emerged in Italy. They evolved from earlier bowed instruments. For many years, violins and viols developed side by side, each helping each other grow. By the late 1600s, musicians favored the violin family, and viols dropped out of use. This was the time when in the small Italian town of Cremona, three famous families made violins.They were the Amati family, the Guarneri family, and the Stradivari family. Antonio Stradivari was trained by the Amati family, and he perfected the art of violin making. Today, violins made by Guarneri or Stradivari are worth millions of dollars.
From the 1600s to the early 1800s, many excellent violinists were the main composers for the violin. Its tone became more lively and penetrating, and attracted many composers.
The violin plays an extremely important part in the orchestra, but is the smallest of the string family. It plays the main melody in most orchestral music. The violin has lots of parts.They consist of the peg box, tuning pegs, neck, fingerboard, bridge, chin rest, tailpiece, belly, bass bar, soundpost, sound holes, and back. The violin is strong for its size since it weighs less than a 1 pound but resists 65+ pounds. While the piano has 88 sets of strings, the violin has four. The strings travel from the tuning pegs (the top) down the neck over the fingerboard, and past the sound holes, elevating to the bridge and diving down where they connect to the tailpiece, finally stopping.
The violin isnt very useful without the bow. The bow is drawn back and forth across the strings, just like a singer learns to take and hold his breath. The violin may also be plucked, or played pizzicato.The violin has a greater range than any other stringed instrument, except for the harp.
Violin music is written so that each player will move his or her bow up and down at the same time as the other string players. Can you imagine what would happen if they didnt? Leopold Stokowski thought it would be better if each musician moved his bow up or down whenever he pleased. They ended up hitting each other with the tip of their bows, but the music was smooth and gracefulcompletely slurred together. This is now called "free bowing".
Do you know what a "second fiddle" is? The violinists who sit to the left of the conductor are called the first violinists, and play most of the melody. Second violinists sit to the right and play the accompaniment. It has become a joke (or perhaps sore point) that they dont play as well, but this is not true!
Range of the Violin:
Violin: From G below middle C to G four octaves above middle C.
Music for the Violin
© Copyright 1999 ERCHA.