Stringed instruments have been around for many years. Over time these have been transformed depending on which culture has taken them on.
The Arabs as well as Greeks and Chinese have all contributed greatly to the development of the stringed instrument into what we know today to be the violin. I write about the violin because my cousin Paul who owns a plumbing company www.plumbersofpalmbeach.com plays the violin and gave me love for the instrument as well. I am working on joining the orchestra as well.
The Origin Of The Violin
The exact origin of the violin is not entirely known but through historic records it is most likely to have first began with the two stringed Arabic Rabab. The European crusades resulted in an instrument called the rebec appearing in the 11th century, Spain. Although not entirely the same, the rebec maintained the same idea of the rabab but increased the amount of strings from two to three.
Another advancement was that instead of playing the instrument on the lap the rebec was played on the shoulder, in a similar fashion as the modern day violin. In the 15th century a new 5 string instrument appeared in France.
This time the Vielle, as it was known, came with significant changes to the body and shape of the Rebec and began to look more like the modern day violin. Finally in Italy in the 15th century the Vielle was developed into the Viola di Braccio. The first accounts of the violin can be traced back to Northern Italy in the 16th century. The first of the 4 string violins to come into production is credited to Andrea Amati, however this claim is widely disputed amongst historians.
The Development Of The Violin Into What We Know It Today
This was not the end of the violins development. During the 18th and 19th century the many changes were made to the violin to accommodate the specific needs of the people playing the instrument. Among these changes includes increasing the length of the fingerboard. The strings were made to be tenser and this, together with the various changes to the fingerboard, changed the sound being produced by the violin.
This new style of violin was preferred by players as well as violin makers as the sound produced was of a much higher quality than its predecessors. As time went by and the popularity of the instrument took off it was used in different styles of music, which further increased the popularity of the instrument. Even today, we can see the versatility of the instrument. It fits into pretty much any genre of music. As was the case centuries ago, the modern violin was adapted to produce the particular sound that the musician was looking for. Most notably the violin is a key instrument used in various types of traditional music such the Celtic and Hungarian style and more recently has been implemented into iconic styles of music such as Blues and Jazz.
The Modern Violin
So where are we today with the violin? Technology has transformed the way we make and listen to music. The violin has stood the test of time and has emerged as one of the most popular and widely played instrument all over the world. Electronic violins have become increasingly more poplar. The is produced by electric violins can be played with a lot more than conventional violins and has opened up the door for creatives to fully explore a variety of different sounds and produce truly astonishing music.
There remains “purists” who prefer the old school violin, actively going out to look for violins made in the traditional style to keep that authentic sound. What these purists’ believe is that, like a fine wine, the sound of the violin gets better as the instrument ages. Therefore the older the violin and the talent of the craftsman responsible for making the violin will influence the quality of the sound produced.
So today, the modern violin consists of a family of 4 variations of the violin. First of all is the violin which is the small, high pitched instrument which everyone knows and loves. Secondly, a bit bigger than the violin is the viola. Played on the shoulder in the same fashion as the violin, the viola is differentiated ny its lower pitch. The third member of the family is the much larger Cello. This instrument is rested on the floor rather than on the shoulder.
The sound produced is much deeper than the conventional violin but is still beautiful and harmonious to the ear. The final member of the family is the iconic double bass. Unlike the other members of the violin family, the double bass is so big that players stand to play it. Another differentiating characteristic of the double bass is that instead of the strings being played with a bow, the player instead plucks the strings to create the melodious bass sounds that are so integral to the Jazz band.