The Violin - Its Famous Makers and Their Imitators
by George Hart
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"To perfect that wonder of travel—the locomotive—has perhaps not required the expenditure of more mental strength and application, than to perfect that wonder of music—the Violin." W. E. GLADSTONE.


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The favourable reception accorded to the previous editions of this work has not only added greatly to the pleasure attending the preparation of a new and revised edition, but has encouraged me to spare no effort within my power to render the volume as interesting and complete as possible. In making these endeavours, the bulk of the book has been necessarily increased by additional information, spread over all the sections of the work, but chiefly on those which treat of the Early History of the leading instrument, and the Italian branches of the subject.

It is in connection with the Italian divisions of the book that the reader will discover, I venture to hope, information which he will regard as interesting in its character, besides being of some historical value. The greater part of this new matter has been obtained from original MSS. belonging to the trustees of the Civic Museum at Cremona, which Institution is located in the palace bequeathed to the citizens, together with its contents, by the Marchese Ponzoni. In the year 1872, Dr. F. Robolotti, the learned historiographer of the town, and a distinguished physician, and the Marchese Senatore Araldi Erizzo, presented to the Institution referred to an important collection of rare books and documents illustrative of the history of the City of Cremona. Among these are two sets of MSS., numbered respectively 729 and 431, the contents of which shed much light on the Italian sections of our subject, and constitute the source of the principal portion of the additional information contained in the following pages. The first-named MS. is the work of Don Desiderio Arisi, a monk of the order of St. Jerome, who in the quiet of his cell in the Convent of St. Sigismondo set himself the task of writing brief notices of Cremonese worthies. The MS. is dated 1720, and includes a most interesting account of the patronage enjoyed by Antonio Stradivari, together with several items of information of more or less worth, relative to the famous Violin-maker. In passing, it may be mentioned that Don Desiderio Arisi was intimate with Stradivari, and gained his knowledge of the facts he recorded from the artist himself. The second-named MSS., from which extracts have been made, are dated 1823. These contain references to the principal makers of Cremona, combined with critical remarks on their works from the pen of Vincenzo Lancetti, a Cremonese poet and biographer. The information contained in these MSS. was chiefly received from Count Cozio di Salabue in the course of correspondence between him and Lancetti.

Nearly the whole of the extracts to which the reader's attention has been directed were given to me as far back as the year 1875, when the original edition of this work was in the press. Finding it impossible to make adequate use of them, in consequence of the volume being partly printed, I decided to insert a few items at the end of the notice of Antonio Stradivari, and to hold over the remainder in order to distribute the information among the notices of the several makers in a future edition.

I am indebted for the knowledge of the existence of the Arisi and Lancetti MSS., and for their contents, to my friend Signor Federico Sacchi,[1] who during his researches among the Robolotti collection had free access to all the original documents, and whose family has long lived near the house occupied by Stradivari. With these advantages, it is almost needless to remark that my friend possessed ample means of aiding me in my endeavours to learn much concerning the makers of his native city. Taking as he does a deep and enthusiastic interest in the past history of Cremonese art, he spared no effort to obtain for me all the information possible. To him I am also indebted for the contents of the correspondence relative to the purchase, by Count Cozio di Salabue, of the tools used by Antonio Stradivari, and for the same having been placed at my disposal by the Marquis dalla Valle. In making these acknowledgments, I desire to tender Signor Sacchi my warmest thanks for the interest he has taken in my undertaking.[2]

[Footnote 1: Signor Sacchi is the author of—

1. "Cenni sulla vita e le opere di Agostino Aglio pittor Cremonese." Cremona, 1868. 8vo.

2. "Notizie pittoriche Cremonesi." Cremona, 1872. 4to.

3. "I Tipografi Ebrei di Soncino." Cremona, 1877. 4to.

4. "Annali Tipografici della Cittae provincia di Cremona,"

and many other memoirs on Cremonese printers and painters.]

[Footnote 2: Signor Sacchi died in 1902.—ED.]

The Section containing the Anecdotes has been recruited by additional Miscellanea, including "Hudibras and the Champion Crowdero." In placing this piece of wit and humour before my readers, I have endeavoured to do so in a form as connected as possible, by the selection of passages likely to conduce to that end, without trespassing too much on space, and on the reader's patience.

I am indebted to Mr. G. D. Bishopp for the table containing the amount of tension of Violin strings, and their downward pressure. The information therein contained will doubtless be acceptable to many of my readers.

I owe to M. le Chevalier Kraus, of Florence, the pleasure of including among the engravings those of the instruments made by Antonio Stradivari for the Grand Duke of Florence, he having obtained for me the necessary photographs.

In conclusion, I have to thank my young friend Mr. Allan Fea for the two illustrations forming the head and tail pieces to "Hudibras and the Champion Crowdero."

28, Wardour Street, London, 1884.


Pending the completion of a more costly revised version of the late Mr. Hart's work, the editors, in compliance with what seems to be a widespread public desire, have decided to reprint the volume, as issued in popular form and finally corrected by the author in 1887, but with additions and certain emendations desirable in order to bring it into accord with the present state of knowledge, and to enhance its value as a work of reference. To this end the names of a considerable number of makers, either unknown at the time, or not deemed of sufficient prominence for insertion in the edition of 1887, have been incorporated in the text, together with particulars of the distinctive features of their work; and the notices relating to others have, where needful, been modified or recast. In other respects the book remains substantially as the author left it.

28 Wardour Street November, 1909.


SECTION I.—THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE VIOLIN. PAGE 1.—General observations—Early History involved in obscurity and vague conjecture—Jubal, Orpheus, and Apollo—Views of Early Historians of Music, as to Asiatic and Scandinavian origin respectively—Ravanon, King of Ceylon, and the "Ravanastron"—Researches of Sanscrit Scholars—Suggested Arabian origin of the Ribeca, or Rebec, and the Rehab of the Moors—Early Egyptian instruments—Moorish musical influence in Spain—The Troubadours and Trouveres in Northern France, and the Gigeours of Germany . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-11

2.—Early evidence of Bowed Instruments in the north of Europe—Presumed Scandinavian origin of the German Geige—The Hon. Roger North's "Memoirs of Music"—Martinus Gerbertus, his "De Cantu et Musica Sacra"—Paul Lacroix' "Arts of the Middle Ages"—Earliest known representations of Bowed Instruments, sixth to ninth century—The Manuscript of St. Blasius—The Cheli or Chelys—Saxon Fiddle in the Cottonian Manuscripts, and in Strutt's "Sports and Pastimes"—The early Saxons' love of Music—The Saxon Fithele in the time of the Norman Conquest—The Geige in France, and the Jongleurs, "dancers, jugglers, and buffoons"—Domestic Music in Germany and the Low Countries in the sixteenth century—The Viol and the Madrigal—Music in Italy—Adrian Willaert, "The Father of the Madrigal"—Northern Musicians attracted to Italian Courts—Development of the Madrigal in Italy—High standard of early Italian work, but under German teaching—The Viols of Brensius of Bologna—Silvestro Ganassi, his work on the Viol—Duiffoprugcar and Gasparo da Salo and the development of the Violin—The Fretted Finger-board—The Violono or Bass Viol—Five-stringed Viols—The three-stringed Fiddle, or Geige, attributed to Andrea Amati, altered by the Brothers Mantegazza to a four-stringed Violin—Advent of the four-stringed Violin ascribed to Gasparo da Salo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-26


The present form of the Violin the result of much research and experiment, but perfected by the great Cremonese makers—Hogarth's "Line of Beauty" exemplified in the Violin—The requisites necessary to the due appreciation of the grace and properties of the Violin, and its exquisite power of expression—Its acoustical properties—Varieties of woods used in its construction—Methods adopted, and choice of material, by the great Brescian and Cremonese makers—The "whole-back" and "slab-back"—The constituent parts of the Violin—System of placing the sound-bar—Properties and position of the sound-post, and of the bridge; the neck; the finger-board; purfling, &c., &c.—The sound-holes of different makers—Needed cautions as to repairing good instruments . . . . . . . . . . . 27-42


Importance of the Strings in the economy of the Violin—Adrien Le Roy's instructions "How to know Strings"—Thomas Mace and "Venetian Catlins"—Character of the different manufactures of Strings—Superiority of the Italian—The raw material not supplied by the feline race—Rules to be observed in choosing Strings—Modern improvements in Stringing—The Strings of Lindley and Dragonetti—Covered Strings—Experiments on the strain and pressure of Strings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43-56


A glance at the rise, culmination, and decadence of Art in Italy, and the Violin as connected therewith—The Italians far in advance of other nations in the manufacture—The five Schools of Italian makers—Roger North on the demand for Italian Violins—Brescia the cradle of the manufacture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57-69


The formation of the Italian Varnish a secret lost to the world—Lustrous character of that of Cremona—Characteristics of the four classes of Italian Varnish—Conjecture as to the loss of the secret—Influence of the different Varnishes on the tone of the Violin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70-76


Acevo—Albanesi—Albani—Aletzie—Alvani—AMATI, ANDREA; evidence as to date of birth; his Violins small; founded the School of Cremona; probably a pupil of Gasparo da Salo; his model high, and sound-hole inelegant; his varnish deep golden; his "Charles IX. Set" of twenty-four Violins, six Tenors and eight Basses—Amati, Niccolo—AMATI, the Brothers ANTONIO and GIROLAMO; probable date of birth; comparison of the respective work, material, and tone of the two brothers—AMATI, NICCOLO, son of Girolamo; date of birth and death; the greatest of his illustrious family; gradual change in style; the "Grand Amati," followed by his great pupil, Stradivari; its exquisite proportions and character; singular beauty of his material, and elegance of design; differences between Niccolo Amati and his several copyists, Italian, German, and English—AMATI, GIROLAMO; date of birth; his work ascribed to other makers; character of his instruments and his varnish; the last of the Amatis—Ambrosi, Pietro—Anselmo, Pietro—Antoniazzi, Gaetano—Antonio of Bologna—Antonio, Ciciliano—Assalone, Gasparo . . . . . . . . . 77-94

Bagatella, Antonio—Bagatella, Pietro—BALESTRIERI, TOMMASO; probably a pupil of Stradivari; his work rough, but vigorous, tone and varnish good; his instruments rising in value—Bassiano, Lute-maker, Rome—Bellosio, Anselmo—Bente, Matteo—BERGONZI, CARLO; pupil of Antonio Stradivari; his work closely resembling that of his great master, and of the highest class; increasing appreciation; comparison of his instruments with those of Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri; character of his varnish, &c.; Violoncellos and Double-Basses of this maker—Bergonzi, Michel Angelo—BERGONZI, NICCOLO; character of his work—Bergonzi, Zosimo—Bergonzi, Carlo—Bergonzi, Benedetto—Bertassi, Ambrogio—Bertolotti (see Salo)—Bimbi, B.—Borelli, Andrea—Brensio, Girolamo—Brescia, da, Battista—Broschi, Carlo—Busseto, Giovanni . . . . . . . . . . 95-104

Calcagni, Bernardo—Calvarola, Bartolommeo—Camilli, Camillo—CAPPA, GIOFFREDO; pupil of the Brothers Amati; character of his work, in Violins and Violoncellos—Casini, Antonio—Castro—Catenar, Enrico—Celioniati, Gian Francesco—Cerin, Marco Antonio—Ceruti, Giovanni Battista; a prolific workman—Ceruti, Giuseppe—Ceruti, Enrico, son of Giuseppe; his work much valued by Italian players; exhibited in London and Milan Exhibitions—Cristofori, Bartolommeo—Circapa, Tommaso—Cocco, Cristoforo—Contreras, Joseph—Cordano, Jacopo Filippo—Costa, Pietro Antonio dalla; skilful copier of Amati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104-110

Dardelli, Pietro; a Franciscan Monk; his Viols and Lutes—Despine, A.—Dieffoprugcar, Magno (Magnus Tieffenbrucker)—Dominicelli, Ferrara—DUIFFOPRUGCAR, GASPAR; high character of his Viols . 110-112

Farinato, Paolo—Ficker, Johann Christian—Ficker, Johann Gottlieb—Fiorillo, Giovanni—Frei, Hans; Lute and Viol-maker 112-113

GABRIELLI, GIOVANNI BATTISTA; his Violoncellos and Violins of high character—Gaffino, Giuseppe—GAGLIANO, ALESSANDRO; pupil of Antonio Stradivari; character of his work—Gagliano, Gennaro—Gagliano, Niccolo—Gagliano, Ferdinando—Gagliano, Giuseppe—Gagliano, Giovanni, Antonio, and Raffaele—Galbusera, C. A.—Garani, Michel Angelo—Garani, Niccolo—Gaspara da Salo (see Salo)—Gatinari, Francesco—Geroni, Domenico Ostiano—Gibertini, Antonio—GOBETTI (Gobit) FRANCESCO; comparisons of his work with those of Montagnana, Santo Serafino, and Ruggeri—Gofriller, Matteo—Gofriller, Francesco—Gragnani, Antonio—GRANCINO, PAOLO; pupil of Niccolo Amati; a true artist; classed with Stradivari, Bergonzi, Amati, and Guarneri; his Violas and Violoncellos—Grancino, Giovanni—Grancino, Giovanni Battista—Grancino, Francesco—Grulli, Pietro—GUADAGNINI, LORENZO, and Giovanni Battista; high character of their work—Guadagnini, Gaetano—Guadagnini, Giuseppe—Guadagnini, Carlo—Guadagnini, Antonio—GUARNERI, ANDREA; the pioneer of his family; worked with Stradivari and Niccolo Amati—GUARNERI, GIUSEPPE, son of Andrea; his Violins, Violas, and Violoncellos—GUARNERI, PIETRO, brother of Andrea—GUARNERI, PIETRO, grandson of Andrea—GUARNERI, GIUSEPPE (del Gesu); his monogram and cypher; evidence of his birth; sketch of his life, and characteristics of his work; comparison with Stradivari and Gasparo da Salo; his "three epochs;" lustrous quality of his varnish; different characters of his wood; the tradition of his "Prison Fiddles"; a "Prison Joseph"—Guidanti, Giovanni—Guillami . . 113-147

Harton, Michael . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147

Kerlino, Joan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147

Lagetto, Luigi—Landolfi, Carlo Ferdinando; original and generally good quality of his work—Lanza, Antonio Maria—Lavazza, Santino—Lavazza, Antonio—Linarolli, Venturo—Loly, Jacopo . 147-148

MAGGINI, GIOVANNI PAOLO; pupil and follower of Gasparo da Salo; other makers' productions frequently attributed to him; comparison of his work with that of Da Salo—MALER (Lutinist); termed the "Stradivari of Lutes;" Thomas Mace on the art of judging Lutes and Viols—MANTEGAZZA, PIETRO GIOVANNI; eminent as a restorer—Maratti—Mariani, Antonio—Meiberi, Francesco—Mezadri, Alessandro—Mezadri, Francesco—MONTAGNANA, DOMENICO; pupil of Antonio Stradivari; splendid specimens of his art still extant; his cognomen, "The Mighty Venetian;" rising value of his instruments; comparison with Stradivari and Bergonzi; superior character of his varnish—Montaldi, Gregorio—Morella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149-158

Nadotti, Giuseppe—Nella, Raffaele . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158

Ortega . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158

Pandolfi, Antonio—PANORMO, VINCENZO; follower of Antonio Stradivari; residence in London and in Ireland; his struggles with adversity; light and graceful character of his work—Pansani, Antonio—Pasta, Antonio—Pasta, Domenico—Picino—Platner, Michel—Pollusca, Antonio—PRESSENDA, GIOVANNI FRANCESCO; superior work and varnish studied in Cremona; contrast with contemporary workers; humble origin; his connection with Storioni, and with Polledro, the Violinist; his models, Stradivari and Amati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158-163

Racceris—Rinaldi, Gioffredo—Rocca, J. A.—Rodiani—Rota, Giovanni—Rovetta—ROGERI, GIOVANNI BATTISTA ("Bononiensis," from or settled in Bologna); his instruments of large Amati pattern—ROGERI, PIETRO GIACOMO—RUGGERI, FRANCESCO ("Il Per"); early artistic genius; foremost position of his family in Cremona; pupil of Niccolo Amati and worthy of him; brilliancy of his varnish—RUGGERI, GIACINTO—RUGGERI, VINCENZO—RUGGERI, GIAMBATTISTA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163-167

SACCHINI—SALO GASPARO DA ("The Great Brescian,"); his real name Bertolotti; essentially a maker of Viols; primitive character of his instruments; evidence as to date of his work; Ganassi's work on the Art of Playing the Viol; six-stringed and four-stringed Viols; Martin Agricola and his "Musica Instrumentalis;" Quatuor of instruments, Decantus, Altus, Tenor, and Bassus; foundation by Da Salo of Italian Violin-making; gradual and tentative development of his system; high value of his labours as a pioneer; chief characteristics of his work; his nice discrimination in choice of material; Signor Dragonetti's four Double-Basses of this maker, and his presentation of one of them to the Monastery St. Mark's, Venice—Sanoni, Giovanni Battista—Santo, Giovanni—Sanzo—Sardi—Sellas, Matteo—SERAFINO, SANTO; exquisite finish of his work; variation of model; high character of varnish and work; his method of cutting; copied Amati and Stainer—Sneider, Josefo—Socchi, Vincenzo—Sorsana—Stregner, Magno—Storioni; follower of Guarneri del Gesu; his freak as to placing the sound-holes; creditable character of his work in several respects—STRADIVARI, ANTONIO; his renown beyond that of all others; researches as to records of his life; evidence as to date of birth, marriage, and death; Genealogical Table of his family; the inventory of his work remaining at his death; similarity of his early work to that of his master, Niccolo Amati; evidences as to later changes of style; his inheritance of his aged master's tools and models; his purchase of his house in Cremona; contemporary appreciation of his merits; his set of Violins, Altos, and Violoncellos for King James of England; valuable evidence of Desiderio Arisi, and of Vincenzo Lancetti; Count Cozio's purchase of Stradivari's models, tools, and drawings, and their present possession by the Marquis Dalla Valle; instruments made for the Duke of Natalona, the Duke of Savoy, and the Duke of Modena; the "Long Strad"; instruments for the Spanish Court; letter from the Marquis Ariberti; a "Chest of Viols;" a "Concerto;" Stradivari's "golden period," 1700; description of his instruments of this date; the "Betts Strad;" guiding principles as to differences of construction and quality of material; the "Dolphin Strad," its exquisite beauty; tranquil character of Stradivari's life; war in Cremona; Prince Eugene and Villeroy; visit of Philip V. of Spain to Italy, and entry into Cremona; set of instruments for Charles III. of Spain, and for Archduke Charles of Austria; letter from Lorenzo Giustiniani; set of Violins for Augustus, King of Poland; Veracini, the Solo-Violinist, and Stradivari; last epoch of the great maker; quality of his instruments at this period; comparison with those of contemporaries; place of his burial, in the Chapel of the Rosary, with diagram; Polledro's description of the personality of Stradivari; singular apathy of the Cremonese as to their great deceased citizen—STRADIVARI, FRANCESCO and OMOBONO, sons and successors of Antonio; character of their work; correspondence between his son and grandson, Paolo and Antonio, and the agents of Count Cozio di Salabue, relative to the purchase of the models, tools, and drawings of the Maestro—Sursano, Spirito . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168-219

Tanegia, Carlo Antonio—Taningard, Giorgio—TECCHLER, DAVID; his instruments of German and Italian styles, finely formed, and of good quality; his Violoncellos of large size—Testore, Carlo Giuseppe—Testore, Carlo Antonio—Testore, Paolo Antonio—Tieffenbrucker, Leonardo—Todini, Michele; his method of stringing the Violono—Tononi, Carlo—Tononi, Carlo Antonio—Tononi, Giovanni—Tononi, Felice—Tononi, Guido—Trapani, Raffaele . . 219-222

Valenzano, G.—Vetrini, Battista—Vimercati . . . . . . . . . . . 222

Wenger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222

Zannetto, Pellegrino—Zanola, Giovanni Battista—Zanotti, Antonio—Zanti, Alessandro—Zanure, Pietro—Zenatto, Pietro . 222-223


Origin of the French School in the 17th century; followers of the Brescian and Cremonese types; mediocre character of their earlier efforts, with a few exceptions—De Comble and the second French School; Pique, Lupot, and Francois Gand; Silvestre, of Lyons—Introduction of the practice of Fiddle-baking; its failure—The copyist, and the Mirecourt factory, the "Manchester of Fiddle-making;" its destructive influence on the interests of true art . . . . 224-230


Aldric—Allar—Amelot—Aubry—Augiere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231

Bachelier—Bassot—Bernardel, Sebastien Philippe—Bertrand, Nicolas—Boivin, Claude—Boquay, Jacques; follower of Girolamo Amati—Borlon, Artus, or Arnould—Borlon (or Porlon), Pierre, Viol-maker—Borlon, Joannes—Borlon, Francois—Boullangier, C.—Boumeester—Bourdet, Sebastien—Bourdet, Jacques—Boussu, Eterbeck—Breton, Le—Brugere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231-234

CALOT—Castagnery, Andrea—Castagnery, Jean Paul—Champion, Rene—Chanot, Francois—CHANOT, GEORGES; an indefatigable worker, and close copier of Stradivari and Guarneri—Chanot, Georges, fils—Chanot, F.—Chanot, G. A.—Chappuy, Nicolas-Augustin—Chardon, Joseph—Charotte—Chevrier, Andre-Augustin—Claudot, Charles—Claudot, Augustin—Clement—Cliquot, Henri—Cliquot, Louis Alexandre—Cunault—Cuypers—Cuny . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234-237

Daniel—Darche—David—DE COMBLE, AMBROISE; said to have worked with Stradivari; a skilful worker; good material and varnish—Dehommais—Delanoix—Delaunay—Deleplanque, Gerard—Derazey—Despons, Antoine—Dieulafait—Droulot—Ducheron, Mathurin—Du Mesnil, Jacques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237-238

Eesbroek, Jean Van, Lute-maker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238-239

Falaise—Fendt, or Fent—Fleury, Benoist—Fourrier, Nicolas . . . 239

GAILLARD—GAND, FRANCOIS; pupil and successor of Nicolas Lupot; an excellent maker and repairer—Gand, Adolphe—Gand, Eugene—Gavinies, Francois—Germain, Joseph Louis—Germain, Emile—Gosselin—Grand-Gerard—Grandson Fils—Grosset, Paul Francois—Guersan, Louis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239-242

Hel—Henry, Jean Baptiste Felix—Henry, Charles—Henry, Octave—Henry, Eugene—Hofmans, Mathias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242

Jacobs, Hendrik; his work often mistaken for that of Niccolo Amati—Jacobs—Jacquot, Charles (pere)—Jacquot, Charles (fils)—Jeandel, P. N. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242-243

Koliker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243

Lambert, Jean Nicolas—Lapaix—Laprevotte, Etienne—Leclerc—Lecomte—Leduc, Pierre—Lefebvre—Le Jeune, Francois—Le Pileur, Pierre—Lesclop, Francois Henry—Louis—Louvet, Jean—Lupot, Jean—Lupot, Laurent—Lupot, Francois—LUPOT, NICOLAS; maker to the Conservatoire; an excellent workman, and named "The French Stradivari," and "The king of modern makers;" characteristics of his work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243-247

Marquis de Lair—Mast, Jean Laurent—Mast—Maucotel, Charles—Maucotel, Charles Adolphe—Medard, Francois—Medard, Nicolas—Medard, Jean—Mennegand, Charles; distinguished as a maker and repairer, and also as a "cutter"—Miremont, Claude Augustin—Modessier—Mougenot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247-250

Namy—Nezot—Nicolas, Francois—Nicolas, Fourrier—Nicolas, Didier—Nicolas, Joseph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250

Ouvrard, Jean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250

Pacherele, Michel—Pacherel—Paul, Saint—PIERRAY, CLAUDE; an excellent workman, following Amati—Piete, N.—PIQUE, F. L.; close copyist of Stradivari; excellent work and material—Pirot, Claude—Pons, Cesar—Pons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250-252

Rambaux, Claude Victor—Raut, Jean—Remy—Remy, Jean Mathurin—Remy, Jules—Remy—Renaudin, Leopold—Renault, Nicolas—Rombouts, Peeter—Roze . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252-253

Sacquin—Salle—Salomon, Jean Baptiste—Saunier—Schnoeck, Egidius—SILVESTRE, PIERRE; a true artist; follower of Stradivari—Silvestre, Hippolyte—Silvestre, Hippolyte Chretien—Simon—Simonin, Charles—Socquet . . . . . . . . . . 253-254

Theress, Charles—Thibout, Jacques Pierre; an excellent workman, and well-known dealer; his relations with Luigi Tarisio—Thomassin—Tywersus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254

Vaillant, Francois—Veron, Pierre—Vibrecht, Gysbert—Vuillaume, Jean—VUILLAUME, J. B.; a prolific and skilful maker; associated with Tarisio, and purchaser of his collection—Vuillaume, N. F.—Vuillaume, Claude Francois—Vuillaume, Sebastien . . . . . . . . . . . . 254-255


No trace of Violin manufacture in Germany previous to the middle of the seventeenth century—Pervading influence of Jacob Stainer in the constitution of the German School—Popularity of his model—Mediocre character of the school, with some notable exceptions . . . . 256-258


Albani, Mathias (pere)—ALBANI, MATHIAS (fils); his style Italian, and workmanship excellent—Albani—Alletzie, Paolo—Artmann . 259-260

Bachmann, Carl Ludwig; maker to the Court of Frederick the Great; founder of Concerts for Amateurs at Berlin—Bachmann, O.—Bausch, Ludwig C. A.—Bausch, Ludwig B.—Bausch, Otto B.—Beckmann—Bedler—Bindernagel; made in both German and Italian styles—Buchstadter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260-261

Christa, Joseph Paul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261

Diel (or Diehl), Martin—Diel, Nicolaus—Diel, Johann—Diel, Jacob—Diehl, Nicolaus Louis—Diehl, Friedrich—Diehl, Johann—Diehl, Heinrich—Dopfer, Nicolaus—Durfel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261-262

Eberle, J. Ulric; good copyist; form Italian; made also Viols d'Amour—Edlinger, T.—Edlinger, Joseph Joachim—Elsler, Joseph; made Viols da Gamba—Ernst, Franz Anton; pupil of Antonio Lolli; Court Musician at Gotha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262-263

Felden, M.—Fichtold, Hans—Fichtl, Martin—Ficker, Johann Christian—Ficker, Johann Gotlieb—Fischer, Zacharie—Frey, Hans; maker of Lutes; related to Albert Durer—Fritzche . . . . . . 263-264

Gedler, Johann A.—Gedler, Johann B.—Geissenhof, Franz; Stradivari model—Gerle, Johann, Lute-maker—Griesser, Matthias—Grimm, Carl—Grobitz, A.—Gugemmos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264

Haensel, Johann A.; his "Ueber den Bau der Violin"—Hamberger, Joseph—Hamm—Hammig, Johann Gottfried—Hassert—Hassert—Helmer, Carl—Hildebrandt—Hiltz, Paul—Hoffmann, Martin—Hoffmann, Johann Christian—Hornstainer, Joseph—Hornstainer, Matthias—Horil, Jacob—Huller, August—Humel, Christian—Hunger, Christoph Friedrich . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264-265

Jais, Johann—Jauch, Johann . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265

Karb—Kambl, Johann A.—Kembter—Kiaposse, Sawes—Kirchschlag—Kloz, Matthias; pupil of Stainer—KLOZ, SEBASTIAN; superior model, form flat—Kloz, George—Kloz, Egidius—Kloz, Joseph—Kloz, J. Karl—Knittle, Joseph—Knitting—Kohl, Johann—Kolditz, J.—Kolditz, Mathias Johann—Kramer, H.—Kriner, Joseph . . . . . . . . . . 265-267

Laska, Joseph—Lembock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267

Mann, Hans—MAUSSIELL, LEONARD; Stainer model; excellent workmanship; style of Tecchler—Maher (Maier)—Meusidler—Mohr, Philip—Moldonner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267

Niggel, Simpertus; good workmanship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267

Ohberg, Johann—Ott, Johann—Otto, Jacob August; maker to the Court of Weimar; author of "Ueber den Bau und die Ehrhaltung der Geige und aller Bogeninstrumente"—Otto, Georg August—Otto, Christian—Otto, Heinrich—Otto, Carl—Otto, C. U. F.—Otto, Ludwig—Otto, Louis—Otto, Hermann . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267-268

Parth, Andreas Nicholas—Pfretzschner, Gottlob—Pfretzschner, Carl Friedrich—Plack, F.—Possen, L. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268-269

Rauch—Rauch, Jacob; Court Violin-maker—Rauch, Sebastian—Rauch—Reichel, Johann Gottfried—Reichel, Johann Conrad—Reichers, August—Riess—Roth, Christian—Ruppert . . . . 269

Sainprae, Jacques; Baryton Viol-maker—Sawicki—Scheinlein, Mathias—Scheinlein, Johann Michael—Schell, Sebastian—Schlick—Schmidt—Schonfelder, Johann A.—Schonger, Franz—Schonger, Georg—Schorn, Johann; excellent work; high model—Schorn, Johann Paul; Court instrument-maker—Schott, Martin—Schweitzer—Stadelmann, Daniel; good work; Stainer model—Stadelmann, Johann Joseph—STAINER, JACOB; the greatest of German makers, and a thorough artist; his model original; sketch of his history and work; great popularity of his style; his "Elector Stainers;" Herr S. Ruf's personal history of Stainer's life, and the romance founded thereon; Counsellor Von Sardagna's contributions to his history; Rabenalt's drama, "Jacob Stainer," and other poems thereon: "Der Geigenmacher Jacob Stainer von Absam;" said to have been a pupil of Niccolo Amati; his marriage; his appointment as Court Violin-maker; accused of heresy, and imprisoned; pecuniary difficulties, and sad end; his good name frequently clouded by inferior work falsely attributed to him—Stainer, Markus—Stainer, Andreas—Staugtinger, Mathias W.—Steininger, Jacob; related to Dopfer and Nicholas Diel—Steininger, Franz—Stoss—Stoss, Martin—Straube—Strauss, Joseph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269-281

TIEFFENBRUCKER—TIELKE, JOACHIM (i.); Lute and Guitar-maker; rich and chaste ornamentation of his work; description of examples extant in England—TIELKE, JOACHIM (ii.); fine examples of a later maker of this name at South Kensington and elsewhere . . . . . . . . . . . . 281-282

VOEL, E.; excellent work; Stradivari model—Vogel, Wolfgang—Vogler, Johann Georg—Voigt, Martin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282-283

Wagner, Joseph—Weickert—Weigert—Weiss, Jacob—Wenger, G. F.—Widhalm, Leopold; follower of Stainer; careful finish and good varnish—Wyemann, Cornelius . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283

Zwerger, Antoni . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283


Non-recognition of English makers by Continental writers on the Violin—Causes of the partial decadence of the art in this country as on the Continent—Earliest English makers, and their several models—School of English copyists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284-292


Absam, Thomas—Adams—Addison, William—Aireton, Edmund; an excellent copyist of Amati—Aldred—Askey, Samuel . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293

Baines—Baker—Ballantine—BANKS, BENJAMIN; the foremost English maker, and termed "The English Amati;" high character of his work and varnish—Banks, Benjamin (2)—Banks, James and Henry—Barnes, Robert—Barrett, John; follower of Stainer; good quality of work—Barton, George—Betts, John; pupil of Richard Duke—BETTS, EDWARD; pupil of Duke, and an excellent copyist; high finish; Amati model—Bolles—Booth, William—Booth—Boucher—Brown, James—Brown, James (2)—Browne, John . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293-299

Cahusac—Carter, John—Challoner, Thomas—Cole, Thomas—Cole, James—Collier, Samuel—Collier, Thomas—Collingwood, Joseph—Conway, William—Corsby, George—Cramond, Charles—Crask, George—Cross, Nathaniel—Crowther, John—Cuthbert; good quality of work . . 299-300

Davidson, Hay—Davis, Richard—Davis, William—Dearlove, Mark—Delany, John; his peculiar label—Dennis, Jesse—Devereux, John—Dickinson, Edward—Dickeson, John; excellent copyist of Amati—Ditton—DODD, THOMAS; not a maker, but an employer of makers of highest class, and especially famous for the high character of his varnish—Dodd, Thomas (2)—Dorant, William—DUKE, RICHARD; his name a "household word" with English Violinists; high character of his real work, but frequently and badly counterfeited; his models both Amatese and Stainer—Duke, Richard (2)—Duncan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300-305

Eglington—Evans, Richard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305

FENDT, BERNARD; a born Fiddle-maker; a fellow workman with John F. Lott; his instruments copies of Amati, bearing the labels of Thomas Dodd or John Betts, and highly valued—FENDT, BERNARD SIMON; good work, but sometimes artificially "matured;" his Violins, Tenors, Violoncellos, and Double-Basses; follower of the Guarneri and Gasparo da Salo models; his quartett of instruments in the London Exhibition of 1851—Fendt, Martin—Fendt, Jacob; his work finely finished; skilful copies of Stradivari, but artificially and cleverly "aged"—Fendt, Francis—Fendt, William—Ferguson, Donald—Firth—Forster, W.—Forster, William (i.); spinning-wheel and Violin-maker—FORSTER, WILLIAM (ii.); also a maker of spinning-wheels and Violins, and amateur Fiddler; an excellent copyist of Stainer and of the Amati models; high character of his work and varnish; his Double-Basses for the Band of George the Third; his instruments highly valued by Robert Lindley—FORSTER, WILLIAM (iii.); excellent work—Forster, William (iv.)—Forster, Simon Andrew—Frankland—Furber, John—Furber, Henry John . . . . . 305-313

Gibbs, James—GILKES, SAMUEL; a thorough artist, and pupil of William Forster—Gilkes, William—Gough, Walter . . . . . . . . . . . 313-314

Harbour—Hardie, Matthew; Scotland's best maker—Hardie, Thomas—Hare, John—Hare, Joseph—HARRIS, CHARLES; genuine character of work, of Amati and Stradivari type; exquisite finish and good varnish—Harris, Charles (2)—HART, JOHN THOMAS; pupil of Samuel Gilkes; specially known as connoisseur, collector, and dealer—Heesom, Edward—Hill, Joseph—Hill, William—Hill, Joseph—Hill, Lockey—Hill, William Ebsworth—Holloway, J.—Hume, Richard . . . . . . . . . . . . 314-318

Jay, Henry; Viol-maker—Jay, Thomas—Jay, Henry; maker of Kits—Johnson, John; music-seller and dealer; referred to by Dibdin in his Autobiography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318-320

Kennedy, Alexander—Kennedy, John—Kennedy, Thomas . . . . . . . . 320

Lentz, Johann Nicolaus—Lewis, Edward—Longman and Broderip; music-sellers and publishers—LOTT, JOHN FREDERICK; a finished workman, employed by Thomas Dodd; splendid character of his work; the "King of English Double-Bass makers"—Lott, George Frederick—Lott, John Frederick; his chequered career, and Charles Reade's novel thereon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320-322

Macintosh—Marshall, John—Martin—Mayson, W.—Meares, Richard—Mier—Morrison, John . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322-323

Naylor, Isaac—Norborn, John—NORMAN, BARAK; probably a pupil of Urquhart; follower of Maggini; excellent quality of his Violoncellos and Tenors; his partnership with Nathaniel Cross—Norris, John 323-325

Pamphilon, Edward—Panormo, Vincent—Panormo, Joseph; excellent character of work—Panormo, George Lewis—Panormo, Louis—Parker, Daniel—Pearce, James—Pemberton, Edward—Perry and Wilkinson—Powell—Preston, John . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325-327

Rawlins, Henry—Rayman, Jacob; founder of Violin-making in England—Richards, Edwin—Rook, Joseph—Rosse (or Ross), John—Ross, John (2); good character of work and varnish . . . . . . . . . 327-328

Shaw—Simpson—Smith, Henry—Smith, Thomas—Smith, William . . . . 328

Tarr, W.—Taylor—Thompson—Thorowgood, Henry—Tilley, Thomas—Tobin, Richard—Tobin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 328-329

Urquhart; excellent character of his work . . . . . . . . . . . . 329

Valentine, William . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329

Wamsley, Peter; superior character of his work—Wise, Christopher—Withers, Edward—Withers, Edward (2) . . . . . . 329-330

Young, father and son, and Purcell's Catch . . . . . . . . . . . . 330


Sterne on Hobby-horses—Tender relationships between the Violin and its Votaries—Wendell Holmes on the Violin—Thomas Mace on early prices of instruments—Early makers, continental and English—Advent of the Stainer model, and its temporary preference over those of the Italian masters; its depressing influence on prices of Amatis and Stradivaris—Guarneri del Gesu brought to the front by Paganini, and Maggini by De Beriot—Recognition of the merits of Bergonzi, Guadagnini, and Montagnana—Luigi Tarisio, and his pilgrimages in search of hidden treasures; his progress as amateur, connoisseur, devotee; his singular enthusiasm, and Charles Reade's anecdote thereon; the Spanish Bass in the Bay of Biscay; Tarisio's visit to England, and the Goding collection; his hermit life; purchase of his collection by M. Vuillaume—Principal buyers of Italian instruments at this period, continental and English—Charles Reade as a connoisseur—Count Cozio di Salabue, an ardent votary of the Cremonese Violin; his purchase of Stradivari's instruments, patterns, tools, &c.; his correspondence with Paolo Stradivari relating thereto—William Corbett, and his "Gallery of Cremonys and Stainers"—The collections of Andrew Fountaine and James Goding—The Gillott Collection; its curious origin, its unique character and interesting circumstances attending its sale . . . . . . . . . 331-374


Date of the first appearance of the instrument—The Violin of Leonardo da Vinci—Paolo Veronese's picture, "The Marriage at Cana" (with engraving)—Baltazarini, the earliest known player—The "Concert Orchestra" and the Duke of Ferrara—First use of stringed instruments in the Opera; the "Orfeo" of Claudio Monteverde—Introduction of the Sonata; Dr. Burney thereon—Corelli, and the "Balletti da Camera"—Dibdin on Corelli's Concertos—Jean Baptiste Lulli, and the Legend of the Stewpans; his influence on early French Violin music—Progress of the Violin in England; Dr. Rogers and John Jenkins—Samuel Pepys on the emoluments of the Royal Band—John Bannister and the earliest English public concerts—Henry Purcell; his Sonatas, and his royal patron, Charles II.—Thomas Britton, the "musical small-coal man," and his concerts in Clerkenwell—John Henry and Thomas Eccles, and itinerant musicians—Francesco Geminiani; his Sonatas and musical works—Progress of the instrument in Italy; Tartini and his compositions; Locatelli, Lolli, and Giardini; Boccherini and his Quintets; Viotti, his School of Violin-playing, and his concerts; Campagnoli, and his "Studies on the Seven Positions of the Violin," and other works; Paganini, and his imitators; Sivori, Ole Bull, Leclair, Gavines, and other leaders in the art—Violin-playing in France and Belgium; M. Rode, M. Alard, M. Sainton, De Beriot and Vieuxtemps—Polish Violinists of note—Lord Chesterfield's instructions to his son relative to Fiddling—Michael Festing and Thomas Britton; origin of "The Philharmonic Society," and of the "Royal Society of Musicians"—Handel legacy to the Royal Society—Early musical proclivities of the Earl of Mornington—Salomon and the Philharmonic; negociations with Haydn—Influence of Salomon on the development of musical taste in England—The Cramers—Nicholas Mori and others—Dando—Henry Blagrove, and his "Concerti da Camera"—Mr. Chappell and his "Monday Popular Concerts"—Henry C. Cooper, and the "Quartett Association"—M. Sainton, Hill, Piatti; John Carrodus, Herr Molique, and the Brothers Holmes—Progress of the Violin in Germany: Graun and Benda; John Sebastian Bach as Violinist and composer; Herr Joachim—Handel, influence of his compositions on the progress of the Violin—Haydn, and his Symphonies and Quartetts; A lady's ideal thereof—Mozart, and his "Method" for the Violin; his early attachment to the instrument—Schubert, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Fesca, and their influence—Louis Spohr and his works—Bernard Molique—Joseph Mayseder—Kalliwoda—Herr Ernst, Joachim and Strauss, with Herr Wilhelmj, and their concerts . . . . . . . . . . . . 375-409


Hudibras and the Champion Crowdero—George Herbert's references to Music—Christopher Simpson's Trinity in Unity—Shakespeare's Sonnet VIII.—Violins from a medical point of view—"A Musician"—Origin of Tartini's "Sonato del Diavolo"—Dr. Johnson and the Violin—Dr. Johnson on the Difficulty of Playing the Violin—Dr. Johnson's Epitaph on Phillips, the Welsh Violinist—Dr. Johnson's Knowledge of Music—Dr. Johnson on Fiddling and Freewill—Haydn in London: a "Sweet Stradivari;" Letters of the Rev. Thomas Twining—Gainsborough as a musician—Garrick and Cervetto—The King and the Player—Sir Walter Scott on Music and Fiddles; the Duke of Hamilton's passion for the Violin—A Cinderella Violoncello—A Stolen "Strad"—The Missing Scroll—Another Wandering Scroll—A Montagnana Instrument shot through the body—Fiddle Marks and the Credulous Dabblers—"Guarneri" at a Discount—Dragonetti's Gasparo: Letter thereon by Mr. Samuel Appleby—The Betts Stradivari: Letter by the late Charles Reade—Leigh Hunt on Paganini—Thackeray on Orchestral Music—Spohr and his Guarneri—Spohr and the Collector—The Ettrick Shepherd and the Violin—The Fiddle Trade: "Old Borax" and "Michael Schnapps," the Fiddle-ogre—The Prince and the "Fugal Vortex"—Sale of Cremonese Instruments at Milan in 1790—An Indefatigable Violinist—A Wish—Living Stradivaris—Pleasures of Imagination—A Royal Amateur—Pius IX. and the Musician—Ole Bull and Fiddle Varnish—Letter from Tartini on the Treatment of the Violin . 410-507

INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 509


FRONTISPIECE—Paganini's "Giuseppe Guarneri." 1743.

PLATE FACING PAGE I. Stradivari Viola. 1672 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

II. Jacobus Stainer. 1669 Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu Niccolo Amati. Grand Pattern. 1641 . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

III. Violoncello by Antonio Stradivari . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

IV. Antonio Stradivari. 1734 The Gillott "Strad." 1715 Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu. 1734 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

V. Carlo Bergonzi Violoncello. Grand Pattern . . . . . . . . . 84

VI. J. B. Guadagnini Storioni. 1797 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102

VII. Specimens of Scrolls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120

VIII. Giuseppe Guarneri. 1742 Antonio Stradivari. 1711 Antonio Stradivari. 1703 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136

IX. Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu. 1737 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154

X. Domenico Montagnana Violoncello . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170

XI. Antonio Stradivari. Tenor. 1690 Antonio Stradivari. 1734 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186

XII. Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu. 1738 The "Dolphin" Strad. 1714 Antonio Stradivari. 1718 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200

XIII. Antonio Stradivari. 1702 Antonio Stradivari. 1722 Antonio Stradivari. 1703 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232

XIV. Stradivari Violoncello . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250

XV. Chapel of the Rosary, Cremona . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266

XVI. Antonio Stradivari. 1708 Antonio Stradivari. 1736 Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu. 1735 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282

XVII. The "Betts" Stradivari. 1704 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298

XVIII. Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu Antonio Stradivari (Inlaid). 1687 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 316

XIX. Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu. 1733 Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu. 1741 Antonio Stradivari. 1726 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 332

XX. Gasparo da Salo Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu. 1735 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 348

XXI. Antonio Stradivari. 1690 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380

"Marriage at Cana," by Paolo Veronese . . . . . . . . . . . 376

Tartini's Dream . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 428


SECTION I The Early History of the Violin


The early history of the Violin is involved in obscurity, and in consequence, much diversity of opinion exists with regard to it. The chief object of the writer of these pages is to throw light upon the instrument in its perfected state. It is, therefore, unnecessary to enter at great length upon the vexed question of its origin. The increased research attendant upon the development of musical history generally could hardly fail to discover facts of more or less importance relative to the origin of instruments played with a bow; but although our knowledge in this direction is both deeper and wider, the light shed upon the subject has not served to dissipate the darkness attending it. Certain parts have been illumined, and conclusions of more or less worth have been drawn therefrom; for the rest, all remains more hopelessly obscured and doubtful than the identity of the "Man in the Iron Mask" or the writer of the "Letters of Junius."

It is satisfactory to know that the most valuable and interesting part of our subject is comparatively free from that doubt and tradition which necessarily attaches to the portion belonging to the Dark or Middle Ages. When we reflect that Music—as we understand it—is a modern art, and that all instruments of the Viol and Fiddle type, as far as the end of the fifteenth century, were rude if not barbarous, it can scarcely excite surprise that our interest should with difficulty be awakened in subtle questions pertaining to the archaeology of bowed instruments.

The views taken of the early history of the leading instrument have not been more multiform than remote. The Violin has been made to figure in history sacred and profane, and in lore classic and barbaric. That an instrument which is at once the most perfect and the most difficult, and withal the most beautiful and the most strangely interesting, should have been thus glorified, hardly admits of wonder. Enthusiasm is a noble passion, when tempered with reason. It cannot be said, however, that the necessity of this qualification has been invariably recognised by enthusiastic inquirers into the history of instruments played with a bow. We have a curious instance of its non-recognition in a treatise on the Viol,[1] written by a distinguished old French Violist named Jean Rousseau. The author, bent upon going to the root of his subject, begins with the Creation, and speaks of Adam as a Violist. Perhaps Rousseau based his belief in the existence of Fiddling at this early period of the world's history on the words "and his brother's name was Jubal; from him descended the Flute players and Fiddlers," as rendered by Luther.

[Footnote 1: "Traite de la Viole," Paris, 1687.]

The parts Orpheus and Apollo have been made to play in infantile Fiddle history have necessarily been dependent upon the licence and the imagination of the sculptor and the medallist. Inferences of antiquity, however, have been drawn from such representations. Tracings of a bow among the sculpture of the ancients have been sought for in vain: no piece is known upon which a bow is distinguishable. A century since, an important discovery was thought to have been made by musical antiquarians in the Grand Duke's Tribuna at Florence, wherein was a small figure of Apollo playing on a kind of Violin with something of the nature of a bow. Inquiry, however, made it clear that the figure belonged to modern art. Orpheus has been represented holding a Violin in one hand and a bow in the other; inquiry again showed that the Violin and the bow were added by the restorer of the statue.

The views held by musical historians regarding the origin of the Violin may be described by the terms Asiatic and Scandinavian. The Eastern view, it need scarcely be said, is the most prolonged, exceeding some five thousand years along the vista of time, where little else is discoverable but what is visionary, mythical, and unsubstantial. It is related—traditionally of course—that some three thousand years before our era there lived a King of Ceylon named Ravanon,[2] who invented a four-stringed instrument played with a bow, and which was named after the inventor "the Ravanastron." If it were possible to identify the instrument of that name, now known to the Hindoos, as identical with that of King Ravanon—as M. Sonnerat declares it to be—the Eastern view of our subject would be singularly clear and defined. A declaration, however, resting on tradition, necessarily makes the gathering of evidence in support of it a task both dubious and difficult.[3]

[Footnote 2: M. Sonnerat, "Voyage aux Indes Orientales," 1806.]

[Footnote 3: In Mr. Engel's "Researches into the Early History of the Violin Family," 1883—a book containing much valuable evidence on the subject—the author rightly remarks: "Now, this may be true; still it is likewise true that most of the Asiatic nations are gifted with a remarkably powerful imagination, which evidently induces them sometimes to assign a fabulously high age to any antiquity of theirs the origin of which dates back to a period where history merges in myth. At the present day the Hindoos possess, among their numerous rude instruments of the Fiddle class, an extraordinarily primitive contrivance, which they believe to be the instrument invented by Ravanon. Their opinion has actually been adopted by some of our modern musical historians as if it were a well established truth."]

It is said that Sanscrit scholars have met with names for the bow in Sanscrit writings dating back nearly two thousand years. If this information could be supplemented by reliable monumental evidence of the existence of a bow of some rude kind among the nations of the East about the commencement of the Christian era, its value would necessarily be complete. In the absence of such evidence we are left in doubt as to what was intended to be understood by the reported references to a bow in ancient Sanscrit literature. The difficulty of understanding what Greek and Roman authors meant, in reference to the same subject, must be greatly intensified in the works of ancient Eastern writers.[4]

[Footnote 4: In the "Reflections" at the end of Vol. I., "Burney's History of Music," we read, "The ancients had instead of a bow, the Plectrum." "It appears too clumsy to produce from the strings tones that had either the sweetness or brilliancy of such as are drawn from them by means of the bow or quill. But, notwithstanding it is represented so massive, I should rather suppose it to have been a quill, or piece of ivory in imitation of one, than a stick or blunt piece of wood or ivory."]

The inquiry is simplified from the point of view of a Violinist if we reject all bow-progenitors but those which have been strung with fibre, silk, hair, or other material, the properties of which would permit of the production of sustained sounds. Implements less developed belong to a separate order of sound-producing contrivances, namely plectra, and may be described as permitting strumming by striking in place of twanging or twitching the strings. The imperfect knowledge we have of instruments of the Fiddle kind in Europe, belonging to a period many centuries later than that we are now considering, points to their having been struck or strummed, and not bowed with a view to the sounds being sustained.

The oldest known representation of a contrivance or instrument upon which a string is stretched with a peg to adjust its tension, is probably that described by Dr. Burney as having been seen by him at Rome on an Egyptian obelisk. In a notice of Claudius Ptolemeus, an Egyptian, who wrote upon harmonic sounds about the middle of the second century, we have an illustration of an instrument of a similar character to that found on the obelisk above noticed.[5] In all probability neither of these contrivances was intended to be used as a musical instrument further than for scientific purposes, as a means of testing the tension of strings and the division of the scale: in short, they were monochords and dichords.

[Footnote 5: Sir John Hawkins' History.]

In following the Eastern branch of our subject, it is necessary to refer to the suggested Arabian origin of the Ribeca of the Italians and the Rebec of the French—a little bowed instrument, shaped like the half of a pear, and having therefore something of the character of the mandoline. We have early mention of this particular view of Violin history among the valuable and interesting manuscript notes of Sir John Hawkins.[6] The author states that the Rebab was taken to Spain by the Moors, "from whence it passed to Italy, and obtained the appellation of Ribeca." He also refers to a work entitled "Shaw's Travels," in which mention is made of the Rebeb or Rebab as an instrument common in the East in the eighteenth century. It is, however, upon turning to the dissertation on the invention and improvement of stringed instruments by John Gunn, published in 1793, that we first find a lucid account of Eastern influence in connection with bowed instruments.[7] The author refers to the monochord as the invention of the Arabians: he then says, "The early acquaintance which it is probable the Egyptians had of the science and practice of music, was the source whence the Arabians might derive their knowledge. There is a remarkable correspondence between the dichord of the Egyptians and an instrument of the like number of strings of the Arabians. This instrument was played with a bow, and was probably introduced into Europe by the Arabians of Spain, and well known from the Middle Ages down to the last century by the name of the Rebec; it had probably, on its first introduction, only two strings, as it still has among the Moors, and soon after had the number increased to three. Dr. Shaw, who had seen it, calls it a Violin with three strings, which is played on with a bow, and called by the Moors Rebebb." In passing it may be said that the translators of the Bible, historians, painters, and poets have in many instances contributed greatly to the confusion attending the history of bowed instruments from their inability to correctly name and depict corded instruments. About a century after the publication of Dr. Shaw's "Travels in the East," appeared Lane's "Modern Egypt," wherein reference is made to an instrument named Rebab. It is described as being made partly of parchment, and mounted with one or two strings, played on with a bow. These instruments appear to be identical. We do not usually look to the East for progressiveness, and would therefore not expect to discover much difference between a Rebab of the nineteenth century and one of the eighth century. In taking this view we may therefore assume that the existing Rebab has nearly all in common with its Eastern namesake of the eighth century. The rude and gross character of the instrument is remarkable, and renders any connection between it and the Rebec of Europe in the Middle Ages somewhat difficult to realise. Having no certain knowledge of the form of the ancient Rebab, our views regarding its connection with the Rebec must necessarily be speculative, and mainly dependent upon the etymological thread which is drawn between the words Rebec and Rebab. It is worthy of notice in relation to the opinion held by Sir John Hawkins and many other musical historians as to a bowed instrument of the Fiddle kind having been introduced into Spain from the East in the eighth century, that we possess no certain evidence of bowed instrument cultivation in Spain between the eighth and twelfth centuries, whilst we have proof of the use of bowed instruments both in Germany and in England within that period.[8] The evidence we have of the use of a description of Viol at that time, from the carvings on the Portico della Gloria of the Church of Santiago da Compostella, does not carry conviction that a bow was used, since none is represented.[9]

[Footnote 6: Hawkins' "History of Music" was published in the year 1776. The MS. notes, which are attached to the author's copy in the British Museum, were included in the edition published in 1853 by Novello & Co.]

[Footnote 7: It may be remarked that nineteen years prior to the publication of John Gunn's dissertation was published the valuable work of Martinus Gerbertus, "De Cantu et Musica Sacra," dated 1774. The volumes of Gerbertus were evidently perused with care and attention by Gunn. The references of John Gunn to the work are the earliest I have met with.]

[Footnote 8: Mention is made by Ash-Shakandi, who wrote on Moorish music in Spain in the thirteenth century, of the Rebab. If this instrument was not more developed than its modern namesake, we have evidence of the Saxons being in possession of bowed instruments infinitely superior at a much earlier date.]

[Footnote 9: In "The Violin and its Music," 1881, page 50, I have assumed their use by the performers on the above mentioned arch, believing it not improbable that the use of the bow was introduced by the settlers in Spain from the North.]

That the Spanish were influenced by their Moorish conquerors with regard to music, minstrelsy, and dancing is certain. The origin of such movements as the Saraband, the Morisca (or Morris dance), and the Chaconne,[10] has been traced to the East. That such dances should have been accompanied by instruments of Eastern origin of the Lute kind may be assumed. Both in Spain and southern France accompanying instruments struck with plectra or twanged with the fingers were adopted at a very early period, and the people of those parts attained to a high state of proficiency—so much so indeed as to have rendered the cultivation of this description of music a national characteristic with them in the use of such instruments. The usage of the bow, however, does not appear to have been cultivated sufficiently, if at all, to leave its traces in history, until about the twelfth century, when the Troubadours sought the aid of the Trouveres and Jongleurs. The Trouveres were minstrel poets belonging to Northern France. The Jongleurs entertained their patrons with jests and arch sayings, and were often joined by the Gigeours of Germany, to accompany their lays with their Geigen and kindred instruments.

[Footnote 10: It need scarcely be said that the Eastern and Spanish ancestor of Bach's Chaconne was terpsichorean, and was unconnected with any kind of scientific musical treatment.]

The foregoing remarks point to the absence of reliable evidence of the existence of a bow—worthy of the name from the point of view of a Violinist—among the Asiatic nations in the early centuries of our era. The Ravanastron of India, the Rebab of Arabia, and other stringed instruments used by the Persians and the Chinese, hardly admit of being looked upon as links in the genealogical Fiddle chain. Whatever the shape and use of ancient Eastern instruments—having something in common with the European Violin—may have been, the slight apparent affinity is accidental, and no real relationship exists between the European and the Asiatic Fiddle.[11]

[Footnote 11: Mr. Engel, "Researches into the Early History of the Violin Family," page 104, remarks: "It is rarely that the name of an Asiatic musical instrument can be traced to a European origin. There are, however, one or two instances in which this seems to be possible. Thus, the Chinese name Ye-Yia, by which they occasionally designate their Fiddle, may possibly be a corruption of giga or geige, considering that the common name of the Chinese Fiddle is Unheen, and that Macao, where this instrument is said to be called Ye-Yin, has been above three hundred years in the possession of the Portuguese, and in constant communication with European nations." This seems to deprive the argument of the Eastern origin of the Fiddle of weight, and favours the already strong evidence of Scandinavian origin centred in the word Geige.]


The survey of the early history of bowed instruments in the North of Europe necessarily discovers a broader field of ostensible data than is possible to be found in the Asiatic view of the subject. Tradition, accompanied by its attendant uncertainties, gives place to facts recorded in illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, on sculptured stone, on engraved brasses, in the lay of the minstrel, in the song of the poet, and, finally, in the works of the painter and of the musician. The information obtainable from these several sources is often of the slightest kind, and admits of little else than a rude historical outline being drawn. The varied character of the evidence, however, serves in some instances to counterbalance the lack of detail.

Enquiry into the history of any science seldom fails to make us acquainted with men whose views and opinions were formulated prior to the production of well-digested evidence in favour of their premises—a condition of things resulting oftentimes in their judgments being post-dated, and their names in consequence severed from them; in short—

"Elder times have worn the same, Though new ones get the name."

In relation to our subject, the Hon. Roger North, Attorney-General to King James the Second, occupies a position of the kind described. In his work entitled "Memoirs of Music," written in the early part of the eighteenth century, we have the ingenious author's views as to the source from whence sprung the progenitor of the long line of Fiddle and Viol. His treatment of the subject displays a truly commendable amount of skill and judgment, and more so when we consider the limited sources of information at his disposal in comparison with those at the service of subsequent musical authors. He says, "There is no hint where the Viol kind came first in use." "But as to the invention which is so perfectly novel as not to have been heard of before Augustulus, the last of the Roman Emperors, I cannot but esteem it perfectly Gothic." "I suppose that at first it was like its native country, rude and gross, and at the early importation it was of the lesser kind which they called Viola da Bracchia, and since the Violin." He concludes by expressing his belief that the Hebrews did not sound their "lutes and guitars with the scratch of an horse-tail bow." These opinions of Roger North are for the most part identical with those held by well-known promoters of the Northern view of our subject.[12]

[Footnote 12: Paul Lacroix remarks, in "The Arts of the Middle Ages": "Stringed instruments that were played on by means of bows were not known before the fifth century, and belonged to the Northern races." Sir Gore Ouseley, in his English edition of Naumann's "History of Music," commenting upon the author's statement that "the Rebab was introduced by Arabs into Southern Europe, and may be the precursor of all our modern stringed instruments," says, "From this view I am compelled to dissent," and speaks in favour of the Northern origin. William Chappell, "Popular Music of the Olden Times," remarks: "I will not follow M. Fetis in his newly adopted Eastern theory of the bow. The only evidence he adduces is its present use in the East, and the primitive form of Eastern instruments." "I would ask how comes it that the bow was unknown to the Greeks and the Romans? Did not Alexander the Great conquer India and Persia? And were not those countries better known to the ancients than to the modern until within the last three hundred years? The Spaniards derived their instruments from the Moors, but the bow was not among them."]

About fifty years later than the date of North's "Memoirs of Music" appeared the famous work of Martinus Gerbertus, entitled, "De Cantu et Musica Sacra." Among the valuable manuscripts referred to by the author is one which supplies the earliest known representation of a bow instrument of the Fiddle kind, and which may be accepted as a description of German Fiddle. The date of this particular manuscript has been ascribed by M. Fetis to the ninth century. It may possibly have belonged to an earlier period.[13]

[Footnote 13: As the manuscript was destroyed by the fire which burnt nearly the whole of the buildings, Abbey, Church, and Library of St. Blasius in the Black Forest in 1768, the language of Gerbertus, who examined the original manuscript, is worthy of some attention. After referring to certain plates, copied from a manuscript of the year 600, he says that "the other twenty-three representations on the following eighth plate" (in which is included the early German Fiddle) "are from a manuscript a little more recent." Whether the period of three centuries named by M. Fetis can be considered recent is at least questionable. The information taken from this manuscript is of paramount importance, with reference to the Asiatic and Northern views of the origin of the Violin. The view taken by some authorities, that the Europeans received their earliest instructions in infantile Fiddling from the Moors, when they conquered Spain in the eighth century, is already overclouded by the representation of a Fiddle and bow on this German Manuscript, even assuming it to be of the ninth century; but if its date be given prior to the appearance of the Moors in Europe, the Eastern view of the subject is naturally further darkened.]

The instrument was described in the manuscript of St. Blasius as a Lyre. Gerbertus rightly observes that it has only one string, and is more like a Cheli.[14] He quotes writers of different epochs relative to the meaning of the word Lyre as used by them, the tendency of his remarks apparently being to establish a connection between the German Fiddle named a Lyre in the manuscript and the Rebec. The representation we have of the instrument certainly conveys the idea of its having been a progenitor of the Rebec of the French, the Ribeca of the Italians, and the Fithele and the Geige of the Germans. The mention of an instrument of the kind in a German manuscript, discovered in an ancient German monastery, together with the record being dated by Gerbertus as not far removed from the sixth century, lends much weight to the opinion of Roger North with regard to the part played by the Teutonic race in the early history of bowed instruments.

[Footnote 14: The ancient name of corded instruments of the Lute, Mandoline, and Guitar kinds. Tradition has it that the Nile, having overflowed Egypt, left on shore a dead Cheli (tortoise), the flesh of which being dried in the sun, nothing was left within the shell but nerves and cartilages, and these being braced and contracted were rendered sonorous. Mercury, in walking, struck his foot against the shell of the tortoise, and was delighted with the sound produced, which gave him the idea of a Lyre that he later constructed in the form of a tortoise, and strung with the dried sinews of dead animals. This account of the origin of Lutes, Fiddles, and catgut is classic and picturesque. Tradition and myth have played parts of much consequence in the work of civilisation: they have, however, at length fallen upon a critical and remarkably sceptical age, and rapidly fade and die under the inquisitorial torture of modern inquiry—a result at least to be expected from the contact of their own dreamy and delicate nature with unromantic matter. It is perhaps safer to refer the origin of the name Cheli or tortoise, as applied to corded instruments, to the fact of their having sound chambers, constructed with tortoise-shell, as was the case with the Greek Lyre, or to the circumstance of the bodies of the instruments being shaped like the tortoise. The Germans used the word Chelys to designate their Viols; and Christopher Simpson, in his famous treatise on the "Viol da Gamba," names it Chelys. The application of the word Chelys to bowed instruments is suggestive of their remote connection with the ancient Lyre.]

It is now necessary to refer to the well-known representation of a Saxon Fiddle contained in the Cottonian manuscripts in the British Museum. Strutt, in his "Sports and Pastimes," supplies us with a copy of the illustration, which is that of a juggler throwing balls and knives to the accompaniment of an instrument of the Fiddle kind. Strutt ascribes the manuscript to the tenth century. The form of this Fiddle is in advance of that supplied in the St. Blasius manuscript, there being four strings, but there is no bridge indicated, and, had there been, it would not have evidenced a Saxon knowledge of tuning the strings to given intervals, and playing upon each string. The little light which has been thrown on the condition of instrumental music at the time renders it doubtful whether any bowed instrument was used, other than for the purpose of rendering a rude extemporaneous accompaniment to the voice or the dance.

The chief authorities upon ancient minstrelsy agree that the Saxon's love of music was cultivated for centuries with ardour by his Saxon ancestors; it would therefore be reasonable to believe that his knowledge of rude Fiddles was derived from the land of his forefathers, and not from any instrument he discovered in Britain.[15] The similarity of the instrument of the St. Blasius manuscript and of that in the hands of the Saxon Gleeman in the Cottonian manuscript is evidence of Teutonic origin. It is, moreover, strengthened by the fact of the use of the word Fithele by the Anglo-Saxons for nearly two centuries after the Norman Conquest, which name was adopted with but little variation by the whole of the Teutonic race.[16] In Germany the word was used as late as the twelfth century. About this period the word Geige appears to have been applied in Germany to designate a Fiddle. It is described as an improved Rebec, and strung with three strings.[17] The use of the word Geige in Germany instead of Fithele in the twelfth century, is worthy of attention as bearing upon Teutonic origin. The earliest information we have of the use of the Geige in France is in connection with the Jongleurs. The Geige was popular in France until the fifteenth century, when, as M. Lacroix says, it disappeared, leaving its name "as the designation of a joyous dance, which for a considerable period was enlivened by the sound of the instrument." The word Geige, I am inclined to think, is important as furnishing evidence of historical value in relation to the ancestry of the Violin. Lacroix believes that Germany created the Geige; other authorities are of opinion that it originated among the people of Provence. The former view is supported by the strongest evidence. Some inquirers derive the word Geige from the French and Italian words for leg of mutton.[18] Wigand, however, supposes it to be derived from the old northern word Geiga, meaning trembling, or from Gigel, to quiver. If we consider the nature and character of the instrument, this view of the derivation of the word appears both ingenious and correct. Roger North shrewdly conjectured that the "rude and gross" Gothic Fiddle "used to stir up the vulgar to dancing, or perhaps to solemnise their idolatrous sacrifices." In the Dark Ages dancing may have been regarded as bi-pedal trembling. I have remarked in another place,[19] "In the early ages of mankind dancing or jigging must have been done to the sound of the voice, next to that of the pipe, and, when the bow was discovered, to that of a stringed instrument which was named the Geige from its primary association with dancing." The evidence we have of the use to which the leading instrument was put in the days of its adolescence is indicative of its having grown up among dancers, jugglers, and buffoons. In Germany its players gave fame and name to a distinct class of itinerant minstrels named the Gigeours, who were often associated with the Jongleurs in their perambulations. In France, from the days of the Jongleurs to those of Henry IV., and later to those of Louis XIV., the instrument was wedded to the dance. In England to the time of Charles II. it was in the hands of the Fiddler, who accompanied the jig, the hornpipe, the round, and the North Country frisk.

[Footnote 15: In Carl Engel's "Researches into the Early History of the Violin Family," 1883, the author disbelieves in the Crwth having been the lineal ancestor of the Violin, and there can be but little doubt of the correctness of his opinion.]

[Footnote 16: It is worthy of remark that the Northmen, who invaded and gave their name to Normandy, carried from their Scandinavian homes a love of minstrelsy.]

[Footnote 17: Sebastian Wirdung, a priest, published a work in 1511, in which he describes the bow instruments of his time by the names Gross-Geigen and Klein-Geigen. The illustration of the Klein-Geige differs but little from the Rebec; it has three strings, whilst the Gross-Geige has nine. Further information is supplied by the work of Martin Agricola, published in 1529.—Mendel's German Musical Dictionary, article "Violine."]

[Footnote 18: "Almost all our musical writers state, as if it were a well-ascertained fact, that the German word Geige is derived from the Gigue of the French Minstrels, who, during the 13th and 14th centuries, had a sort of Rebec which they called by that name, and which, according to some commentators, resembled in outward appearance the shank of a goat or ram, called Gigot, and hence the origin of all the similar words occurring in different European languages. These commentators have, however, neglected to prove that the old French word Gigue occurs before the 13th century, or that it is earlier than the Middle High German Gige."—Engel's "Researches into the History of the Violin Family."]

[Footnote 19: "The Violin and its Music," 1881, page 19.]

In pursuing the course of our subject, our inquiries have hitherto been mainly concerned with the leading instrument in a barbarous and semi-barbarous state. We now reach what may be termed the transition stage of the question. The information relative to the appearance of the Geige, or Violin tuned in fifths, is of the slenderest kind. To obtain evidence of much worth it is necessary to reflect upon the condition of instrumental music about the sixteenth century, together with the form and character of bowed instruments belonging to the same period. The manners and customs of peoples have also to be considered. We have hitherto found the Geige or Fiddle among minstrels and itinerant musicians in countries where music and minstrelsy had become an institution with the people. The instrument was rude and gross, and its office was to play extemporaneous accompaniments, with considerable licence. At length domestic music began to be zealously cultivated in Germany and the Low Countries, to which important circumstance the rapid development of stringed instruments is traceable. Viols of various kinds supported the voices, and an important manufacture of such instruments took root in Nuremberg and other German cities. In following the history of the Madrigal much light is thrown upon that of the Viol, to which it is necessary to give attention in order to follow in some degree the development of the Violin.

The condition of music in Italy previous to the time when the father of the Madrigal, Adrian Willaert, followed in the steps of his countrymen and made Italy his home, presents a great contrast to the state of the art in Germany and the Netherlands about the same period. The love of music in these countries had been growing among the people from the days of their minstrel poets and their wandering musicians. In Italy minstrelsy received but little attention or encouragement. The effect of this was probably felt when that extraordinary love of culture and admiration for art manifested itself amid the courts of her princes, about the middle of the fifteenth century. The love of melody then, as now, was deeply rooted in the nature of her people. Musical composition, however, of a high order, and able executants, were to be found elsewhere, and in Flanders in particular, and there the principal music and musicians were sought by the Italian dilettanti. To this fortuitous combination of melody and musical learning we owe the greatest achievements in the art of music. Upon it was raised the work of Palestrina, Scarlatti, and Corelli, which their distinguished followers utilised with such judgment and effect. The progress and development of the Madrigal in Italy may be said to have been co-equal with that of the Viol, for which its music served, and to which the Italians gave the same beauty of form and exquisite refinement. The ingenuity and skilfulness of the early German Viol makers was not less speedily recognised by the Italians than was the learning and power manifested by the Flemish motet writers. The work of the Italians with regard to both the Madrigal and the Viol was artistic in the highest degree, and such as could alone have been accomplished by men nourished on the teachings of the Renaissance, and surrounded by its chief glories.

There is evidence of German influence over the Italian Viol manufacture at the end of the fifteenth century, in the German-sounding names of makers located in Italy, and likewise in the character and construction of the oldest Italian Viols: notably, there is the crescent-shaped sound-hole common to the German Grosse-Geige and Klein-Geige. The most ancient Viols in existence are those by Hieronymus Brensius of Bologna, two of which are in the Museum of the Academy of Music at Bologna, and a third is in my possession. They have labels printed in Roman letters, and doubtless belong to the end of the fifteenth century. These instruments serve to illustrate the condition of the art of Viol-making in Italy at that period. They are rude in form and workmanship, and present a marked contrast to the high artistic work associated with the Italians in other branches of industry. This rudeness is indicative of this particular manufacture being of recent importation, and of its having been received from Germany, and partly perhaps from the Low Countries, where instrumental music was cultivated chiefly by the people, in which case utility would naturally have priority of design and workmanship. With the introduction of Viols, in connection with the Madrigal, into the palaces of Italy, together with their increased use in connection with the service of the Church, a demand speedily arose for instruments of elegant design and finished workmanship, in keeping with the high standard raised by Italian artists in every direction. The work on the Viol by Silvestro Ganassi, published at Venice in 1543, furnishes us with ample proof of the advance made by the Italians in Viol-making since Brensius worked. We see from a representation of a Viol in the above-mentioned work that the sound-holes are better formed, the scroll is artistically designed, and the whole harmonious. These steps towards perfection were mounted by Duiffoprugcar and Gasparo da Salo, both of whom rapidly developed the art. With Gasparo da Salo, or a contemporary, was witnessed the rejection of the crescent-formed sound-hole, and the adoption of that which has held its own for upwards of three centuries. The sound-holes of the Amati and of Stradivari are but those of Gasparo and his contemporaries, marked with their own individuality. All Viols until about 1520 were furnished with pieces of gut tied round the neck and fingerboard to mark the divisions of the scale—in short, were fretted. From the work of Ganassi we learn that the use of these divisions was optional, thus supplying us with authentic information of considerable value with regard to the gradual emancipation of this class of instrument from frets, and foreshadowing the union of the Geige or Fiddle with the Viol. Passing to the question of form given by the Italians, early in the sixteenth century, to Viols, we find the Violono or Bass Viol with its upper and lower sides, middle bouts, belly, and sound-holes almost identical with those of the Tenor Viols, the chief difference being in the back of the latter, which is modelled, whilst the former is flat. This was the form given to the Violono by Gasparo da Salo, and which has been changed in the upper portion of the body of the instrument, to permit of modern passages being executed with greater facility. The original finger-board was short, and generally fretted. The number of strings was five or more, and not as we now string them with three or four. It will be seen that this form of instrument gives us what Mr. Charles Reade describes as the invention of Italy, namely "the four corners."[20] The same author in speaking of the order of invention remarks that he is puzzled "to time the Violono, or as we childishly call it (after its known descendant) the Double Bass. If I were so presumptuous as to trust to my eye alone, I should say it was the first of them all." With this opinion I entirely agree, and I am also in unison with Mr. Reade in believing that the large Viola (played on or between the knees) was the next creation, the design of which was that of the Violono or Double Bass already referred to. The next and most important step was in all probability to make the common Geige or three-stringed Fiddle of the same shape as these Tenor and Contralto Viols, thus handing to us the present-shaped Violin. In the MS. notes of Lancetti, reference is made to a three-stringed Violin in the collection of Count Cozio di Salabue, which throws some light upon the question as to three-stringed Violins, of the form of the Italian Viola, having been made prior to the introduction of those with four strings tuned in fifths. The instrument to which Lancetti refers was dated 1546, and was attributed to Andrea Amati. Until the beginning of the present century, this instrument remained in its original condition, when it was altered by the Brothers Mantegazza of Milan into a Violin with four strings. Mention of this curious and valuable fact furnishes us with the sole record of a three-stringed Violin having been in existence during the nineteenth century, and also supplies the link needful to connect the old type of Fiddle with the perfect instrument of the great Italian makers. When or where the four-stringed Violin tuned in fifths first appeared in Italy is a question the answer to which must ever remain buried in the past. It may have seen the light in Mantua, Bologna, or Brescia. The last-mentioned town is usually associated with its advent, and to Gasparo da Salo is given the credit of its authorship.

[Footnote 20: "Cremona Violins," Pall Mall Gazette, 1872. This reference applies to the corners and corner-blocks as made by Gasparo and all makers to the present time, in contradistinction to those seen in the Viol da Gamba and early German Viols.]

SECTION II The Construction of the Violin

The construction of the present form of the Violin has occupied the attention of many scientific men. It cannot be denied that the subject possesses a charm sufficiently powerful to induce research, as endeavour is made to discover the causes for the vast superiority of the Violin of the seventeenth century over the many other forms of bow instruments which it has survived. The characteristic differences of the Violin have been obtained at the cost of many experiments in changing the outline and placing the sound-holes in various incongruous positions. These, and the many similar freaks of inventors in their search after perfection, have signally failed, a result to be expected when it is considered that the changes mentioned were unmeaning, and had nothing but novelty to recommend them. But what is far more extraordinary is the failure of the copyist, who, vainly supposing that he has truthfully followed the dimensions and general features of the Old Masters, at last discovers that he is quite unable to construct an instrument in any way deserving of comparison with the works of the period referred to. The Violin has thus hitherto baffled all attempts to force it into the "march of progress" which most things are destined to follow. It seems to scorn complication in its structure, and successfully holds its own in its simplicity. There is in the Violin, as perfected by the great Cremonese masters, a simplicity combined with elegance of design, which readily courts the attention of thoughtful minds, and gives to it an air of mystery that cannot be explained to those outside the Fiddle world. Few objects possess so charming a display of curved lines as the members of the Violin family. Here we have Hogarth's famous line of beauty worked to perfection in the upper bouts,[1] in the lower bouts, in the outer line of the scroll, in the sound-hole. Everywhere the perfection of the graceful curve is to be seen. It has been asserted by Hogarth's enemies that he borrowed the famous line from an Italian writer named Lomazzo, who introduced it in a treatise on the Fine Arts. We will be more charitable, and say that he obtained it from the contemplation of the beauties of a Cremonese Violin.

[Footnote 1: A technical term for the sides.]

In looking at a Violin we are struck with admiration at a sight of consummate order and grace; but it is the grace of nature rather than of mechanical art. The flow of curved lines which the eye detects upon its varied surface, one leading to another, and all duly proportioned to the whole figure, may remind us of the winding of a gentle stream, or the twine of tendrils in the trellised vine.

Often is the question asked, What can there be in a simple Violin to attract so much notice? What is it that causes men to treat this instrument as no other, to view it as an art picture, to dilate upon its form, colour, and date? To the uninitiated such devotion appears to be a species of monomania, and attributable to a desire of singularity. It needs but little to show the inaccuracy of such hypotheses. In the first place, the true study of the Violin is a taste which needs as much cultivation as a taste for poetry or any other art, a due appreciation of which is impossible without such cultivation. Secondly, it needs, equally with these arts, in order to produce proficiency, that spark commonly known as genius, without which, cultivation, strictly speaking, is impossible, there being nothing to cultivate. We find that the most ardent admiration for the Violin regarded as a work of art, has ever been found to emanate from those who possessed tastes for kindred arts. Painters, musicians, and men of refined minds have generally been foremost among the admirers of the Violin. Much interest attaches to it from the fact of its being the sole instrument incapable of improvement, whether in form or in any other material feature. The only difference between the Violin of the sixteenth century and that of the nineteenth lies in the arrangement of the sound-bar (which is now longer, in order to bear the increased pressure caused by the diapason being higher than in former times), and the comparatively longer neck, so ordered to obtain increased length of string. These variations can scarcely be regarded as inventions, but simply as arrangements. The object of them was the need of adapting the instrument to modern requirements, so that it might be used in concert with others that have been improved, and allow the diapason to be raised. Lastly, it must be said that, above all, the Violin awakens the interest of its admirers by the tones which it can be made to utter in the hands of a skilful performer. It is, without doubt, marvellous that such sounds should be derivable from so small and simple-looking an instrument. Its expressiveness, power, and the extraordinary combinations which its stringing admits of, truly constitute it the king of musical instruments. These somewhat desultory remarks may suffice to trace the origin of the value set upon the Violin both as a work of art and as a musical instrument.

We will now proceed to consider the acoustical properties of the Violin. These are, in every particular, surprisingly great, and are the results of many tests, the chief of which has been the adoption of several varieties of wood in its construction. In Brescia, which was in all probability the cradle of Violin manufacture, the selection of the material of the sides and back from the pear, lemon, and ash trees was very general, and there is every reason to believe that Brescia was the first place where such woods were used. It is possible that the makers who chose them for the sides and backs of their instruments considered it desirable to have material more akin to that adopted for the bellies, which was the finest description of pine, and that the result was found to be a tone of great mellowness. If they used these woods with this intention, their calculations were undoubtedly correct. They appear to have worked these woods with but few exceptions for their Tenors, Violoncellos, and Double Basses, while they adopted the harder woods for their Violins, all which facts tend to show that these rare old makers did not consider soft wood eligible for the back and sides of the leading instrument; and later experiment has shown them to have arrived at a correct conclusion on this point. The experiments necessary to obtain these results have been effected by cutting woods of several kinds and qualities into various sizes, so as to give the sounds of the diatonic scale. By comparing the intensity and quality of tone produced by each sample of wood, plane-tree[2] and sycamore have been found to surpass the rest. The Cremonese makers seem to have adhered chiefly to the use of maple, varying the manner of cutting it. First, they made the back in one piece, technically known as a "whole back"; secondly, the back in two parts; thirdly, the cutting known as the "slab back." There being considerable doubt as to the mode of dividing the timber, the woodcuts given will assist the reader to understand it. Fig. 1 represents the cutting for the back in two pieces—the piece which is separated from the log is divided. Fig. 2 shows the method adopted to obtain the slab form.

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