Essay on History of the Violin

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History of the Violin

The most beautiful sounding violins in existence today were made in Italy in the early 1700s, a period called the golden age of violin making. These instruments, especially those made by Antonio Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù, are the most desired instruments by both collectors and performers, selling for millions of dollars. Modern day violin-makers have not been able to successfully copy the techniques they used to produce the same quality sound of violins that was made during this period. The violin produces sound by drawing a bow across one or more strings which may be held down by the fingers of the other hand to produce a full range of pitches. The violin is the smallest and highest pitched
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At the end of the fifteenth century there were only primitive instruments, good for providing dance music or accompanying voices but not for carrying their own tune (Faber 15). Catherine de Medici was the queen consort of France from 1547 until the death of her husband, King Henry II, in 1559. Her support of the violin was crucial to its ability to flourish. Around 1555, an Italian dance band of violinists arrived at the French court. She set off on a tour that lasted two years and ordered a set of thirty-eight string instruments. All of the instruments were made in the Italian town of Cremona by Andrea Amati, whose family would dominate violin-making for the next one hundred years. Nicolo Paganini, an Italian violinist, was a celebrated virtuoso in the early 1800s. His fame spread across Europe and he was the first traveling virtuosi to show how profitable violin playing could be (Faber 104). He played a del Gesù violin, nicknamed the Cannon. Paganini was instrumental in the popularization of many techniques and showmanship in violin-playing, which are now incorporated into regular compositions. Antonio Stradivari, the greatest violin-maker of his or any other age, was born in 1644 and began violin-making at the age of twenty-two. His earliest known violin of 1666 was stamped with the Amati name, which seems to show that he apprenticed under the Amati family of violin-makers. Until

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