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More detailed information about stringed instruments and the history of violin making.


The violin bow: a brief depiction of its history


The history of the violin bow is the history of a violin's sound. A brief historical overview


The history of the violin bow is a frequently neglected chapter in the annals of violin making. To put it in other words, it is a central chapter in the history of instruments, given that it is the very history of the sound of a violin. The violin bow is what first brings the voice of a violin to life, and the composition of the stick, frog, head and horsehair reveals just as much about the instruments of a given era as the angle of a violin's arch or the violin varnish. The development of the violin and the violin bow has always followed a recurring pattern of musical and artisanal/technical factors mutually influencing one another. Every significant advance in violin making either was followed by new musical standards or created the conditions necessary for them to evolve – but at each phase, this progress could not take place until a new violin bow model emerged. With each new step in the history of making violin bows, the promise of new qualities of sound became reality. Those who wonder why the violin became a leading instrument in Europe's musical tradition can find solid answers by taking a closer look at the violin bow. Our short series of three introductory articles outlines the history of the violin bow :


  • Part I: The Baroque violin bow: The Baroque violin bow as part of a musical revolution

  • Part II: The Classical violin bow: consolidating bow design during the Classical period

  • Part III: The modern violin bow: F. X. Tourte and and the new classics of bow making



  • Related articles:

    The bow makers of Markneukirchen

    H. R. Pfretzschner – company history and a biographical sketch

    François Xavier Tourte, founding father of the modern violin bow

    Ludwig Bausch: the "German Tourte"

    Morizot père et frères: The short history of a great family of bow makers

    Eugène Nicolas Sartory – a modern classic among bow makers

    Bazin – The turbulent history of a great violin bow maker dynasty (two parts)

    Joseph Alfred Lamy Père – a key figure in modern bow making

    James Tubbs: the classic name in English bow making

    John Dodd – a legend of oyster shells and silver spoons

    New arrivals in our catalogue
    • Auguste Sébastien Philippe Bernardel (Bernardel Père): Fine violin No. 8, 1827 (certificate Hieronymus Köstler, Hamma & Co. Stuttgart)
    • WORKED OVER AND OPTIMIZED Italian violin, Raffaele Calace e figlio 1929 - violinist's recommendation!
    • Rare English violin by John Crowther, Holburn, London, 1788
    • WORKED OVER AND OPTIMIZED Georges Coné: Fine French violin no. 73. Lyon, 1937 - violinist's recommendation!
    • Contemporary Italian violin, Franco Albanelli workshop, 1997
    • Fine Hungarian Violin op. 13 by Alajos Werner, Budapest, 1910
    • 1930's French violin "Lutherie Artistique", Laberte
    • German 3/4 violin by Louis Dölling, Jr., Markneukirchen 1934
    • Modern violin of quality, handmade 1980/1990
    • Fine soloist violin by Nicolò Gagliano, 1762 (certificate J. & A. Beare)
    • Good French viola bow, probably Morizot workshop
    • Fine violin of the Thir circle / school, approx. 1750 (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
    • WORKED OVER AND OPTIMIZED Josef Rieger, 1927: Old Mittenwald violin
    • Interesting old Master violin, approx. 1900 - violinist's recommendation!
    • Contemporary English violin, Elspeth Noble 1991 - Guarnerius model, Violinist's recommendation!
    • WORKED OVER AND OPTIMIZED 18th century violin, Franz Knitl, Freising, 1769
    • 3/4 - Neuner & Hornsteiner, 3/4 violin from Mittenwald
    • Recommendable German violin from Markneukirchen
    • WORKED OVER AND IMPROVED Mario Gadda violin modeled after Stefano Scarampella
    • K. Gerhard Penzel violin bow, silver, approx. 1960
    • SALE Contemporary Italian violin, Francesco Frassani, Cremona 2006 (certificate Frassani)
    • Modern Italian violin, probably Mario Gadda, Mantova
    • Cristiano Ferrazzi, Verona: Italian violin op. 120
    • Excellent 1960's Markneukirchen violin bow