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corilon violins

Markneukirchen: violin making at the crossroads of craftsmanship and trade


Violin making in Markneukirchen: the tradition of craftsmanship and globalisation


On 6 March 1677, Duke Moritz von Sachsen confirmed the founding of Markneukirchen's first guild of violin makers, which was established when 12 Bohemian immigrants who had made their homes in the Vogtland region joined forces (cf. Klingenthal – the origins of violin making). To safeguard the quality and integrity of this new community, the guild issued strict rules: applicants had to present sophisticated masterpieces, pay high fees for admission into the guild and find someone who would endorse their application.


This makes the year 1713 a much more meaningful date, since it was the first time someone "untrained" was accepted: merchant Johann Elias Pfretzschner. Until that time, the masters themselves personally attended markets, fairs and clients, even when great distances were involved. The dawning “professionalisation” of selling violins turned out to be a blessing and curse at the same time. On the one hand, it led to the global success of Vogtland stringed instruments; on the other hand, it brought about the decline of handmade violin making, which gave way more and more to a division of labour, if not to industrialisation.

Violin from Saxony, approx. 1880 - top

Manufactured violin from Saxony, late 19th century

Inventory No.: 3774
Provenance: Saxony
LOB: 35.9 cm
Year: approx. 1890

German violin after Stradivari - top

Antique German manufactured violin after Stradivari

Inventory No.: 3846
Provenance: Saxony
LOB: 35.8 cm
Year: approx. 1900

In 1719, the Markneukirchen guild had already accepted a craftsman who specialised in peg turning, and shortly thereafter there were separate studios run by neck carvers and makers of violin tops and bottoms. Ultimately countless numbers of people working at home did preparatory work for the few remaining studios of master craftsmen. Labourers often called themselves "factories" and assembled the individual components on behalf of the brokerages that had grown in impressive numbers. These businesses expanded to meet the demands of the globalised market which wanted larger and larger amounts of inexpensive instruments. Around 1800, there were some 80 Markneukirchen businesses working together to produce around 18,000 violins annually. They focussed more and more on the highly sought-after Italian models, turning away from its own Bohemian-Saxonian tradition. A century later, Markneukirchen was considered one of the most affluent cites in Germany; it even had its own U.S. consulate general. The dark side of this profit, however, was the great need of the many smaller and financially dependent masters, their families and apprentices.



Related articles:

Markneukirchen – violin making in “German Cremona”

Noteworthy families of Markneukirchen violin makers

Crossing borders: on the history of violin making in western Bohemia

Klingenthal: the origin of violin making

Hopf: a dynasty of Vogtland violin makers

Ernst Heinrich Roth: a rediscovered master

The bow makers of Markneukirchen

H. R. Pfretzschner

The violin: provenance, value and appraisal.




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Corilon violins • Lilienstrasse 2 • D-81669 München • Germany
Phone: +49 (0)89-444 19 619 • Fax: +49 (0)89-444 19 620
mail@corilon.comwww.corilon.com

New arrivals in our catalogue
  • Cremonese master violin, Piergiuseppe Esposti, 1998 (certificate Piergiuseppe Esposti)
  • Antique German Maggini violin, probably Schuster & Co. Markneukirchen - suitable for fiddle, folk & Irish traditional
  • Outstanding Czech Violin by Mathias Heinicke, student of Eugeni Degani in Venice, 1911
  • German Violin by Ludwig Gläsel jr., Markneukirchen
  • Recommendable Italian violin, 1970's, probably Giudici - warm, golden sound
  • 3/4 - old German 3/4 violin after Stradivarius, dark tone
  • Old German violin, c.1900, with a warm, large sound
  • Outstanding German violin, Saxony approx. 1910
  • Ernst Heinrich Roth, Markneukirchen, fine 1922 violin - Guarnerius model
  • Powerful Mittenwald violin from the Mittenwald violin-making school, 1960's
  • Outstanding Markneukirchen violin bow, approx. 1910
  • French violin bow by Louis Joseph Morizot, known as Morizot père
  • WORKED OVER/ NEW SOUND SAMPLE: 3/4 - violin, elegant French "Copie de Stradivari"
  • Fine German violin bow, Knopf workshop, approx. 1890
  • Old French violin bow, J.T.L. "Sarasate maitre" model
  • Modern French soloist viola, Jacques Camurat, Paris 1958
  • STOLEN: Léon Victor Mougenot 1912, French violin,
  • Justin Maucotel: A powerful French violin, c.1840
  • Excellent French violin, Collin-Mézin (fils), 1936, No. 671
  • François Fent, a fine historic French viola of the late 18th century (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
  • Franco Albanelli, 1991: A fine contemporary Italian violin (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
  • Fine French violin bow by E. Sartory (certificate J.F. Raffin)
  • Giuseppe Pedrazzini, fine Italian violin (certificate J. & A. Beare)
  • 3/4 - Antique French Médio-Fino 3/4 violin, approx. 1870