The New Student's Reference Work/Violin

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Vi'olin', a stringed instrument, which is played with a bow. It is a hollow wooden box, made from pine and maple or sometimes deal and sycamore wood, with a solid handle, and is strung with four strings. The bow is strung with horsehair, and when drawn across the strings sets them in motion. The different notes of the musical scale are produced by stopping the strings with the ringers on a fingerboard on the handle. The quality of a violin depends upon the fineness and thinness of the wood, the curvings and arches, the strings, the varnish, the shape of the sound-holes or openings etc. The best violins were made at Brescia, Cremona, Mantua, Milan and Venice, where, on the southern slopes of the Alps, could be found the fine elastic pine best adapted to the purpose. Salo, Maggini, the Amati family, Joseph Guarnerius, called Gesu, and Stradivarius are among the most celebrated violin makers of Italy; Norman was the first English maker of violins; and Jacobs and Kloz are well-known among German artisans. The greatest of all violin-makers is Stradivarius, born in Cremona in 1644. He learned his trade of the Amati family, but made such improvements that all violins since, whether good or bad, are copies of his work. A fine violin of his manufacture will bring from $1,500 to $3,000. The Cremona varnish, very fine, brilliant, clear, and red or brown in color but in its most beautiful form resembling amber, was used by these Italian artists, but the secret of its manufacture or the mode of applying it seems lost. The viol was the original of the violin. It was a stringed instrument with from five to 15 strings, and the fingerboard was divided by frets — strips of metals — as in the guitar. The viola and violoncello are varieties of the violin, called also tenor and bass viols. The violin is also called fiddle, from the Anglo-Saxon fythel. Violins are now made mostly in France and in Saxony. See Stradivari.