Where Did Violin Originate – Birth of an Invention

Violins, they have been on earth for years, soothing hearts and minds of those who hear the notes played upon its strings. It caused ripples through time, that even effected how music was play and how one can change the way they hear it. Over the years, many players played unique styles of music that once was thought couldn’t be played upon the violin. Today, we have a wide variety of music, jazz, classical, country, etc. that could be play upon a single instrument. To understand the importance of how a single instrument can produce many kinds of music, one must understand where the violin originated from.

The Earliest Memories

The origins of the violin, the earliest written documents have been sketchy throughout the years. The earliest proof we have is of early 900 AD through photo’s of bowed instruments. They where known as a lira, the beginning point of the existence of the violin. It has been taught that the lira’s have possibly been started in Cential Asia. They than traveled through trade routes that connected to other parts of the world. Once Europe received these instruments, it was indicated that they recreated or modified the instruments. Based off of research, the Europeans separate the stringed instrument into two separate families of instruments:

  • those that where held in the arms (lira da braccio)
  • those that where positioned between the legs (lira da gamba)

They both enjoyed success and where widely used, over time the instruments held in the arms became popular and which led to the development of the violin. Records show that the violin’s family (cello, bass, violin, viola) was developed in the early 1500s by Italian Luthier Andrea Amati, the oldest known violin to date, the “Charles IX” made in Cremona in 1564 by Andrea Amati.

The earliest and oldest form violins looked different from what is known today. They had a shorter, thicker and less angled neck. The Bridge was flatter, with a shorter fingerboard, and the strings made of gut. They were not popular within the first introduction and was considered low class, but during the 1600s composers used the newly invented violin in their operas, and before long the status grew.

The Growth

Within the Small town of Cremona, within the 1600s the hub of violin production was being made. It is estimated that about 25,000 instruments where in production. During production, different families started to produce and create their own production techniques, which was passed down from generation to generation. Some of these families include Amati, Stardivari, and Guarneri.

1800s and Beyond

After a major status growth, it was unclear who initially recommended the changes, but in the early 1800s the violin got an upgrade. The fingerboard was increased in length, more curved at an angle to support tension. The increased tension, as well as longer fingerboard, resulted in increased range and sound projection. This produced better quality, more violins where being manufactured and many styles of music where being implemented. This lets players make new techniques. The violin became an important instrument, genres like jazz, country, classical music, Irish, and more where developed.

Major improvements where implemented to the violin throughout the years, with the invention of technology, better sound and performance. Violins are better suited to perform the best quality music you can offer. Within the last century, with the invention of the electric violin, violins have never been more popular. They can produce the best electronic sound that one can hear, improving the overall sound of music.

The Newest Edition to Violin Family

Electric violins are different from the original violins, for they are equipped with an electronic sound output. Playing on an electric violin is the same as a regular violin, their shape however are the same. An Electric violin can be in wacky shapes and colors. They have been used and manufactured since the 1920s, manufacturing was slow and small numbers of them were ever used. Stuff Smith was credited for being the first performer to use an electric violin. Larger scale manufacturing was implemented within the late 1990s.

With better equipment, violins are made and priced differently depending on make, type of wood, and type of player. Violins have become so popular that you can find violins shops not just all over America, but across the world. They got better gear that will help with tuning, playing, and learning like never before.

The Fun is About to Start

Now that you understand the basic knowledge of history, it is time to move forward. For the fun is about to start, buying a violin, learning music and playing by hear, and becoming a professional is the awesome part of any violin. The history helps you understand what the violin went through, the achievements, and the upgrades. It helps you become closer to your own violin.


  • “History of the Violin.” The Instrument Place, www.theinstrumentplace.com/history-of-the-violin/.
  • “The History of the Violin.”Get-Tuned.com, www.get-tuned.com/history-of-the-violin.php.
  • “The Development of the Violin.” Musical Instrument Guide, www.yamaha.com/en/musical_instrument_guild/violin/structure002.html.