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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. We have outlined the history of the violin bow in a short series of three introductory articles:


  • Part I: The Baroque violin bow

  • Part II: The Classical violin bow

  • Part III: The modern violin bow



  • Related articles:

    The bow makers of Markneukirchen

    H. R. Pfretzschner – 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
    • SALE: Antique German violin, 1920's, Markneukirchen
    • Interesting violin, probably Italian 1920's
    • Justin Derazey, French violin dated approx. 1880
    • Fine Mittenwald violin. After Aegidius Kloz, c.1800
    • SALE: German violin. Made in the 1950's
    • Fine French violin bow. Marie Louis Piernot, Paris (certificate J. F. Raffin)
    • Fine Italian violin. Milanese, Liuteria Italiana Luigi Mozzani, 1921
    • Antique German violin. Max Osterode, Stuttgart, 1915 No. 23
    • German Markneukirchen violin bow, approx. 1940 - warm tone
    • 1/4 - Rare French 1/4 violin, approx. 1850
    • Petite French viola: Joseph Nicolas fils, Mirecourt, 1849
    • Excellent old German violin bow. Sweet, fluid sound, 1950's
    • German Markneukirchen violin bow, silver, with a blank frog
    • 19th century violin from Mittenwald, approx. 1850
    • Fine contemporary viola bow. Rudolf Neudörfer, Bubenreuth
    • Petite, late 18th century Italian violin, central Italy (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
    • H. R. Pfretzschner viola bow, a strong player, c. 1940
    • Christian Friedrich Meinel, master violin from the Vogtland region, circa 1760
    • 18th century English violin, approx. 1760. Probably James Preston
    • Fine soloist violin by Nicolò Gagliano, 1762 (certificate J. & A. Beare) - financial investment
    • Giuseppe Pedrazzini, fine Italian violin (certificate J. & A. Beare) - financial investment
    • Bavarian violin from the Krauss workshop, Landshut 1954
    • Fine cello bow. Joseph Alfred Lamy père, Paris, c.1895 (certificate J.-F. Raffin)
    • Fine Mittenwald master violin, c.1740, Sebastian Klotz circle