The Making of a Violin
The Violin is a renowned instrument that is instantly recognized. Its long neck and curved hourglass shape are an iconic symbol in any musical era. Violins are not made, they are crafted. Finer materials and finishes paired with intricate detail create the sophisticated style of each Violin. You will find scrolled edging and trims that add elegance to each piece. The Violins dance partner is the Bow. The perfected marriage brings us a harmonious pitch and tone that had made the Violin an esteemed member of the string family. With all of its parts and sections, Violin making is an art form. In the early to mid-1500s, the skill was acquired through an apprenticeship of a master crafter.
The Maker and the Violin
Andrea Amati is known as the original Luthier or Violin maker. He taught his sons and grandsons the art of becoming a luthier. They in turn took on apprentices to honor the tradition. Nicolo Amati in particular is known to have mentored some of the most famous Violin crafters noted in history.
Today, we have companies and manufacturers that are able to produce large amounts of Violins for distribution. You can still also find the classically minded Luthiers who craft, repair and teach the art. When looking for a craftsman, you will want to consider the quality of materials used. There are some modern makers who use synthetic and alternative supplies. The Bow is crafted by a Bow maker or an Archetier. The careful construct of the Bow requires a steady hand, time and patience.
The Violin Basic Six
The making of a violin is extensive. We have broken down the basic six parts of a violin to get you started.
- The Neck – The Neck of the Violin is usually crafted in Maple. This holds the fingerboard and leads to the peg box that allows in the fine tuning of the instrument.
- The Fingerboard – Essential to each Violin is the fingerboard. Luthiers prefer to use ebony for its durability and sleek appearance.
- The Bridge – The specifically cut piece of maple that brings the vibrations of the strings into the body of the Violin is called the Bridge. It is arched for string support and angling.
- The Tailpiece – A tailpiece anchors the strings to the bottom portion of the Violin for stability and proper functioning.
- Strings – The strings of a Violin are made from steel or synthetic materials. The lifespan of strings is limited as they wear out with use.
- The Bow – Snakewood and Brazilwood are the traditional choices for a Violin Bow. Horse hair is widely preferred for the ribbon as it needs to glide with a slight resistance across the strings.
In the End
The craftsmanship of a Luthier is a wise and enchanted art. Just like an orchestra, each piece plays its part. The right materials and mechanics produce a beautiful instrument that will withstand the test of time. From the apprentice to the Master, the Violin will remain a tradition and a true part of our musical history.