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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
    • Older Mittenwald violin, 1960's
    • Antique French 3/4 violin with a strong tone - J.T.L.
    • Handsome old German violin. "Conservatory violin", approx. 1920
    • SALE Older English violin, made in the 1940's - warm, golden tone
    • Old Czech violin full of character, made in the Italian style, c.1910
    • Alfred Knoll viola bow. Silver mounted, a strong player
    • SALE Raffaele Calace, Italian Neapolitanian violin, 1916 (certificate Eric Blot)
    • 1/4 - Fine French 1/4 violin bow. Morizot Frères (certificate J.-F. Raffin)
    • SALE Fine Neuner & Hornsteiner 3/4 violin, Mittenwald, c.1850
    • Old Mittenwald violin, J. A. Baader, No. 4908
    • Excellent silver mounted violin bow, stamped Felix Martin
    • Fine master violin bow by C.A. Hoyer, Markneukirchen
    • Excellent German violin bow after Lupot, approx. 1940
    • SALE 1920's German violin by Otto Ebner, Augsburg
    • SALE Claude A. Thomassin, fine French violin bow (certificate J. F. Raffin)
    • French Richelme violin No. 23, Marseille 1869 - collector's piece
    • German master violin, Otto Gläsel, Gelsenkirchen
    • MARMA, silver violin bow after Sartory, approx. 1920
    • Antique French 1/2 violin, J.T.L. Compagnon c.1880
    • SALE Italian violin from the 1970's - warm, mellow sound
    • WORKED OVER AND IMPROVED: Fine master violin, 1940's. Probably American
    • Neuner & Hornsteiner violin, Mittenwald c.1900
    • French violin, "Marque Apparut", 1936
    • Markneukirchen violin after Amati