Sep 9, 2011

A to Z of Crafts - V = Violin Making

As someone who not only plays the violin and owns a violin that was made in London in 1900 by a German violin maker, but who also studied the history of the violin as part of my college course, this topic held special interest.

Making an instrument of the violin family may be done in different ways, many of which have change very little in 500 years since the first violins were made. Hand made violins, called "bench-made" instruments, are made by a single individual, either a master worker, or an amateur working alone.

The violin first emerged in Northern Italy in the early 16th century. From 1530 the word violin appears in Brescian documents and spread all round north of Italy. while no instruments from the first decades of the century survive, there are several representations in paintings.

The oldest confirmed surviving violin, dated inside, in the "Charles IX" by Andrea Amati made in Cremona in 1564. Of course, the most famous of the old 'master' violin makers is Antonio Stradivari, although there are also several other "old masters". These days, many violin makers use the outlines of one of the old masters when crafting their violins.

Here are some current examples I have found of handcrafted violins:

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