A Brief History of the Violin

A vielle, an ancestor of the modern violin, appears in a 1330 fresco. Museum of Navarra, Pamplona.

PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIDGEMAN/ACI
A vielle, an ancestor of the modern violin, appears in a 1330 fresco. Museum of Navarra, Pamplona.

PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIDGEMAN/ACI

A Brief History of the Violin

Italian musical masters took the violin from fiddle to first chair

Strummed, plucked, or bowed, violins had been making music for centuries before Andrea Amati and Antonio Stradivari brought them to new heights in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The violin is arguably the world’s most popular instrument. Its expressive tones suit a variety of musical styles, from fast and furious to slow and sanguine. Becoming popular in the 16th century with both commoners and nobles, the violin has remained a democratic instrument, universal and versatile. (See also: 1,700-year-old musical instrument found, and it still works.)

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