Introduction: A Brief History of Violins

Among the different musical instruments that exist, the violin is considered the most intriguing one. Having to produce expressive tones, violins are really best suited to a variety of musical styles. From fast and furious performances to slow and gentle musical arrangements, the violin is always the perfect accompaniment. This is the main reason why discussing the history of violins is always interesting to many people. Looking back, the origin and development of the violin instrument were gradual and complex. It has always been evolving from a variety of many other stringed musical instruments. In this article, you will understand how the violin originated and you will know who are the people involved.

History of Violins

If we will talk about the history of the violin instrument, it would be interesting to discuss who started the invention of the violin and how did it start in the first place:

Who started it

Seeing all of the violin brands that are available out there, you’ll surely wonder how amazing it is that these multiple violin instruments started with a single idea of a person. With the help of the innovation of the person who started the creation of violins, people nowadays are able to enjoy playing such elaborate and wonderful musical instruments. 

In fact, the oldest known ancestor to the violin instrument is none other than the ravanastron. If we try to analyze the origin of violins, it dates back to 5000 BCE. Several pieces of evidence were found on the island of Sri Lanka that will prove the origination of the instrument. 

The ravanastron had one 22-inch string which can expand up to three octaves. This is particularly similar to the combined string length and tonal range of all four (4) strings on contemporary or modern violins that we have nowadays. On the other hand, the very first violin instrument to have four (4) strings which closely has the resemblance to the modern violin was built in 1555 by an Italian person named Andrea Amati.

How did it start

Understanding how violin instruments started is indeed highly interesting. Once you have a deeper knowledge about how the instrument started, it will be easier for you to appreciate the importance of violin instruments in music. 

It was actually in the 15th century when distinct kinds of bowed instruments emerged in Italy. The violin instrument had three (3) strings back then and it was similar in general size and shape to the contemporary violin. 

However, the violin has gone through changes of design over the years until it ends up with the current construction and dimensions that we have today. From having a shorter and thicker neck, a flatter bridge, and a shorter fingerboard, many changes were made to allow the instrument to produce a higher pitch and a richer volume.


While you are trying to look back at how incredible the origin of violin instruments was, don’t forget that a lot of people have been involved in the process before we are able to enjoy playing the contemporary violin instruments that we have today. Many people from all over the world surely made significant contributions in order for us to have the violin that we see today. It is always better to have a deeper appreciation of what we have in music nowadays by trying to look back at the history. Having the knowledge regarding how violins started will allow you to become more inclined with violins as musical instruments.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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