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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 :

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

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

  • History of the violin bow, 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
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