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History and Development of Violin - Term Paper Example

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History and Development of Violin

While the violin is generally associated with European classical music, the instrument itself first emerged in the 9th century Byzantine Empire. In terms of the first written records of the instrument Persian geographer Ibn Khurradadhbih is noted as the first to write about the instrument. Khurradadhbih noted that the instrument was a bowed Byzantine lira; this geographer compared the violin to a rabab, a similar stringed instrument used by the Byzantines during this time (Sandys 2006). From these early incarnations the violin steadily gained popularity. During the 11th and 12th centuries the instrument gradually gained popularity throughout Europe and general western regions. This period also contains increased written reference to the violin. While it had not yet taken on the contemporary articulations, writers during these centuries frequently referred to the instrument as a fiddle or lira. While the violin would later become the predominant stringed instrument, its acceptance during the 11th and 12th centuries was greatly aided by the spread of a variety of stringed instruments throughout Europe; for instance, rabab gained great prominence during this period of European history (Sandys 2006). Indeed, the modern incarnation of the violin would emerge from a hybridization of many of these stringed instruments. ...
While the lira da braccio was originally regarded as the less aristocratic way of playing the instrument, holding the device in the hands would later become the accepted practice, ultimately giving way to the modern incarnation of the violin. The first incarnation of the modern violin emerged in 16th century Italy. The most prominent area for the violin during this period was the Brescia area, as existing documents from the late 16th century note that Brescia was home to hotbed of musical talent. Still, the word violin is recorded as early as 1540 in Italian documents (Sandys 2006). Although there are no surviving violins from this period, there do exist considerable visual depictions of the instrument from the mid-16th century Italian era. In terms of the first maker of the violin, there continues to be considerable debate on the subject. The most pervasive theory is that Andrea Amati constructed the first violin on order from the Medici family who desired the construction of an instrument that could be used by street musicians. There are a number of prominent considerations when examining the violin’s construction and mechanics. The typical violin consists of a spruce top. This is also referred to as the soundboard. The violin is then composed with maple ribs, a back, two endblocks, a neck, a bridge, a soundpost, four strings, and then a chin rest (Stowell 1993). The violin has an hour-glass shape and is accompanied by a series of other smaller components. In these regards, the violin contains a neck with a fingerboard. The neck is the area where the musician manipulates the strings with their fingers as a means of playing different chords (Stowell 1993). The top of the violin contains what is referred to ...Show more

Summary

History and Development of the Violin Today the violin is regarded as one of the seminal classical instruments. From adolescent age students to seasoned musicians the violin often conjures images of orchestras and a historical trajectory of music dating back to the Renaissance…
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