The violin has a history composed of centuries
Historically speaking, the violin has been around for roughly 500 years. It’s said it was designed in the 1500s by Andrea Amati.
But it is also believed the instrument was used to make music way before it shot to fame during the 15th and 16th centuries, in which Andrea Amati and Antonio Stradivari are known for taking the violin to the stature where it stands today.
And how can an instrument like that be around for so many years? The steady and complex evolution is rooted in other stringed instruments like the pear-shaped lira, the two-stringed rabab, and the three-stringed rebec. The modern violin reflects signs of these instruments.
Violins used to be a little bit different than they are today
Another fact is that the violin is the smallest and highest-pitched soprano instrument in the family that is still in regular use.
Many stringed instruments had a long path in folk music before becoming recognized as classical instruments, while the violin gained recognition after going mainstream.
The violin bow hair can be made out of a variety of materials, but the most common one used is horsehair, normally the bow contains 150 to 200 hairs.
During the 19th century, the violin bow was shaped like a hunting bow.
At the beginning of violin making, dried animal guts were used to create the strings. Only after world war II were the materials changed to aluminum, steel, silver and chrome.
When a child starts to learn the instrument, it usually begins with smaller sizes as 1/16 or 1/8 size violin. As the student ages, they will graduate up to a full-sized violin.
The most expensive one
You can find violins at a wide variety of prices, but the most expensive violin in the world was rated with a value exceeding $16 million, known as the Vieuxtemps made by the great master maker Giuseppe Guarneri in 1741.
The word “violin” originates from the Medieval Latin Vitula, which means stringed instrument.
The region Lombardy, located in northern Italy, used to be famous for growing lots of Maple and Spruce, two types of wood that were chosen to be used and preferred by most violin makers until today.
Cremona emerged as the city of the violin and home to the most famous violin makers including the Amati family, Giuseppe Guarneri, and Antonio Stradivari. But some reports quote the city of Brescia as a pioneer in the art of making violins.
Andre Amati from Cremona and Gasparo di Bertolotti from Salon made the earliest violins that still exist today. And the oldest still in existence was built in 1565 by Andre Amati.
Playing the violin has benefits
Curious fun fact: playing the violin is not only an artistic activity, you can actually burn about 170 calories per hour by playing it.
Like many other instruments, playing the violin can benefit the brain and concentration, especially for kids.
Did you like all these curious facts? If you did, we recommend you read our blog about The Different Violin Models to understand a little bit more about violin making.