Stringed instruments such as the violin and its accompanying variations have been used in music for thousands of years. The first officially recorded use of the violin was during medieval European times. The earliest form of the violin was referred to as a Fiddle and the person playing it was termed as a Fiddler. During the 15th century though, the violins began taking on a new shape and began to carve its own history in music. The evolution of the violin continued into the 16th century when it developed what was to become its final look and shape.
It is this artistic representation of a violin that we still recognize and use in our present time. An Italian from Cremona named Andrea Amati, is recognized as the founder of the most famous violin making school. The violin making school is not a structure per se but more of a school of thought and characterization. It was during this time that an explosion in violin making reached as far as Europe even as Cremona remained as the home of the best violin makers in the world.
The most famous of these violin making families are the Amati, Guarneri, Antonio Stradivari, Rugerri, and Bergonzi.
In the music world, the finest musicians openly acknowledge the Stradivari and Guarneri violins to be the best violins ever made over the past 150 years. The Violin is a member of the string instrument family and is capable of producing a 3 octave sound range when played by skilled musicians.
The sound a violin creates depends on a number of factors, the most important of which are the type of wood used to produce the body of the instrument and the type of metal strings used..
It is usually 14 inches in length and uses metal strings tightened to various degrees on tuning pegs, to produce its exceptional sound quality. A typical violin is composed of the following parts: Chin rest, F-hole, strings, tuning pegs, scroll, tailpiece, fine tuners, bridge, belly, fingerboard, neck, and back plate. The sound is produced by the instrumentalists skimming a bow over the metal strings. Violins are usually constructed to withstand the 17 pounds of downward force that is regularly applied to the 4 metal strings.
But just like any stringed instrument, the Violin in itself will fail to make sweet music for the listeners if not strummed with a bow. The bow is the instrument by which a Violinist makes his instrument sing. His expertise in the use of the bow produces the violins varying tones and pitches. How a bow is shaped and the different parts that form the bow all work together to form the best bow for violin playing. A bow is most often described as an arc shaped piece of wood that has a flat horsehair piece stretched and tensioned across the wood.
The tips of the bow are pointed on one end and rounded on the other. Although the violin enjoyed various incarnations as it gained popularity and was played by chamber and orchestra musicians, the violin bow did not keep up with these changes. This led to a total redesign that resulted in what is known as the modern bow. The modern bow is believed to have first made its appearance in France during the 19th century at the hands of the Tourte family. The Tourte family is considered by the violin historians to be the bow maker equivalent of the Stradivari family in violin making.
The modern bow has more tension and resistance and uses Pemarnbuco wood as wood stick. Sometimes, makers will add subtle modifications to the bow in the hopes of producing a more handy and usable bow. Admittedly, not much has changed in the 150 year history of the bow. The violin and bow can be thought of in terms of milk and cookies or coffee with cream. One always enhances the best aspects of the other in order to produce a very significant experience for the person whose auditory and sensory perceptions participate in the resulting enjoyable final product of the merging of the 2 instruments.
Psarianos, Peter. (2007). Violin Bow. How Products Are Made. Retrieved October 14, 2007 from http://www. madehow. com/Volume-2/Violin-Bow. html. Skinner, Matthew. (N. A. ). The Violin and It’s History. Retrieved, October 13, 2007 from http://www. nelson. planet. org. nz/~matthew/cbt. html Sprenger, Christoph & Sprenger, Raffael. (N. A. ). The History of the Violin. Retrieved October 13, 2007 from http://www. sprengerviolins. com/e/violin_history. htm.
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