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Violin – a musical instrument

The history of music believes that the violin in its most perfect form arose in the 16th century. By that time, all bowed instruments operating throughout the Middle Ages were already known. They were arranged in a certain order and scientists of that time knew with greater or lesser probability their entire pedigree. Their number was huge and now there is no need to delve into the depths of this matter.

Violin – a musical instrument (History of the violin)
Violin by A. Stradivarius 1729

Recent researchers have come to the conclusion that the violin is by no means a reduced “viola and gamba.” Moreover, it has been established with sufficient accuracy that both of these types of tools in their device have distinctly different features from each other. All instruments related to the “viola da gamba” had a flat back, flat edges, a fretboard divided by frets, a head less often in the form of a trefoil and more often with an image of a beast or a human head, cutouts on the upper surface of the instrument in the outlines of the Latin letter “C”, and finally , tuning strings by quarts and thirds. On the contrary, the “viola da braccio”, as a direct predecessor of the modern violin, had a quint tuning of strings, a convex back, slightly raised edges, a fretboard without any frets, a head in the form of a curl and cutouts or “efa”, in the outline of lowercase facing each other Latin f in italics.

This circumstance led to the fact that the viol family itself was composed of a sequential decrease in the gamba. Thus, the full composition of the old “quartet” or “quintet” arose, composed only of viola of various sizes. But, along with the emergence of a complete family of viols, the instrument developed, which had all the distinctive and most characteristic features of a modern violin. And this instrument, in fact, is not even a “manual viola” in the direct meaning of the word, but the so-called “manual lyre”, which, as a folk instrument of the Slavic lands, formed the basis of the modern family of violins. The great Raphael (1483-1520) in one of his paintings dating back to 1503, gives an excellent image of this tool. Contemplating it, there is not the slightest doubt that very little remains for the complete transformation of the “handmade lyre” into the perfect violin of our time. The only difference that distinguishes the image of Raphael from the modern violin is only in the number of strings – there are five of them in the presence of two bass ones – and in the shape of the clefs, which are still very reminiscent of the clefs of an old viola.

Since then, evidence has been increasing with incredible speed. The insignificant corrections that could have been made in the image of the old “lyre and bracho” would have given her the most perfect resemblance to a modern violin. This evidence in the form of an image of an old violin dates back to 1516 and to 1530, when a Basel bookseller chose the old violin as his trademark. At the same time, the word “violin”, in its French inscription violon, first appeared in French dictionaries at the beginning of the 16th century. Henry Prunier (1886-1942) claims that already in 1529 this word is contained in some of the then business papers. Nevertheless, indications that the concept of “violon” appeared around 1490 should be considered dubious. In Italy, the word violonista as a performer on the viola began to appear in 1462, while the word violino in the meaning of “violin” came into use only a hundred years later, when it became widespread. Only in 1555 did the English adopt the French mark of the word, which, however, after three years was completely replaced by the English “violin”.

In Russia, according to the testimony of ancient monuments, bowed instruments were known for a very long time, but not one of them developed enough to subsequently become an instrument of a symphony orchestra. The oldest Old Russian bow instrument is a beep. In its purest form, it had an oval, somewhat pear-shaped wooden body, with three strings stretched over it. They played on the whistle with an arched bow that had nothing to do with the modern one. The time when the beep was born is not exactly known, but there is an assumption that the “beep” appeared in Russia along with the penetration of the “eastern” instruments – domra, mourn, and bones. This time is usually determined by the second half of the XIV and the beginning of the XV century. When “violins” appeared in the direct meaning of the word, it’s hard to say. It is only known with certainty that the first references to the violinist in the alphabet books of the 16th-17th centuries “equally show that the interpreters had no idea about her.” In any case, according to P.F. Findeisen (1868-1928), this instrument was not yet known in the home and public life of Moscow Russia, and the first violins in their fully completed form appeared in Moscow, apparently, only at the beginning XVIII century. However, the compilers of the ABCs, who at one time had never seen a genuine violin.

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