The violin is often thought of as the heart of the orchestra, although of course it has carved a position for itself in other genres, notably jazz, in the hands of such virtuosi as Stephan Grapelli, and the European and Celtic folk traditions.
Although it superficially resembled the viol which it was eventually to replace, the members of the violin family - violin, viola, cello and double bass are actually built internally quite differently, giving them a brighter, more penetrating voice.
The first violins are recorded in Europe around 1530. By the late 16th century, the general design of the modern violin was reached, and has changed remarkably little since. The 17th century brought composers such as Arcangelo Corelli, who not only developed the violin repertoire but also as a teacher founded the oldest surviving school of violinists – not an academy as such, but a pedagogical line which can be shown to connect hundreds of modern violinists, via their teachers, with Corelli.
The 17th century also brought the Little Ice Age, giving the climate of Italy a period of cold winters which produced some remarkably dense and close grained rosewood. It is thought to be this natural phenomenon that allowed the violin makers of Cremona – the Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari families, to produce fiddles of such unequalled sweetness of tone, creating a benchmark by which all subsequent violin makers have judged their own work.
Today the violin is greatly favoured as an instrument with which to introduce children to music. Shin’ich Suzuki, a Japanese violinist anxious to bring beauty to the lives of Japan’s post-war generation of children, created the Suzuki method, teaching children from a very young age the rudiments of violin playing in a collaborative, non-competitive environment. To enable very small children to play the violin, a series of scaled down violins was created.
At Music Mart, we carry a great range of instruments for the aspiring violinist. Brands we stock include:
Shinichi Suzuki was the younger son of Masakichi Suzuki, who had been making violins since the mid 19th century. Suzuki’s reputation received a boost after a 1914 earthquake and the outbreak of the First World War led to a surge in demand for the Japanese maker. Together with Shinich Suzuki’s teaching method, these developments have given Suzuki a prominent position in today’s violin world. As you would expect, Suzuki make a full range of scaled down violins for children.
This orchestral instrument maker specialises in the manufacture of student violins. They are renowned for their robustness and consistency. Stentor’s instruments are hand crafted, under the supervision of a master maker, using traditional techniques that would be familiar to the makers of Cremona. Like Suzuki, Stentor make scaled down violins for young students.
If you would like to learn more about our violins do please give us a call on 08 9250 2015 or send an email enquiry.