The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers

By Arthur Elson | Go to book overview

XLIV THE VIOLIN

WHILE the piano demands the maximum amount of effort from the performer, the violin (German, Geige; French, violon; Italian, violino) is the instrument that is capable of the greatest variety of expression. Like the human voice, it may echo every emotion.

The origin of the violin, as already intimated, is shrouded in mystery. The rebab of Arabia, the ravonastron of India, the early Welsh harp known as the crwth, or even the primitive instruments of Africa, may have played their part in its development. Greilsamer, a French authority, now claims that it may have come from the kithara, because of the expansion of one of the latter's sides to a violin-like body in certain early mediæval specimens.

The term fiddle, also viol, is derived from the Latin fidicula, meaning a stringed instrument. The early viols, which came into general use in the time of the Jongleurs, were flatter in shape than the present violin. Their tone was different, being less incisive and brilliant, but more calmly sweet and plaintive. Viols of various sizes remained in use some time after the violin had developed. When the early sixteenth-century music is revived for modern ears, the viols are often used in place of violins, and with very pleasing effect if heard with harpsichord, for example.

Gasparo da Salo and the Amati family were pioneers in violin- making, the former living in the Tyrol and the latter in Cremona. Andrea Amati, the pioneer in the Cremona manufacture, was born in 1520. His two sons Antonio and Geronimo continued the work, but it was brought to greater perfection by the latter's son Nicolo. The last-named was the teacher of the greatest of violin-makers, Antonio Stradivarius ( 1650-1737). Another famous family of violin- makers was that of Guarnerius, of whom Joseph ( 1683-1745), called Del Jesu, is known through having one of his instruments used by the great Paganini. Other famous violin-makers were the Magginis, the Ruggieris, the Guadagninis, the Cerutis, and Storioni.

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The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Part I - The Evolution of Music 1
  • Part I the Evolution of Music 2
  • I - Primitive and Savage Music 3
  • II - Greece and Rome 13
  • III - Early Christian Music 23
  • IV - The Minstrel Knights 31
  • V - The Schools of Counterpoint 42
  • VI - The Harmonic Style 58
  • Part II - The Great Composers 67
  • Part II the Great Composers 68
  • VII - Bach 69
  • VIII - Handel 77
  • IX - Gluck 85
  • X - Haydn 91
  • XI - Mozart 98
  • XII - Beethoven 108
  • XIII - Schubert 120
  • XIV - Weber and Romanticism 128
  • XV - Mendelssohn 135
  • XVI - Schumman 143
  • XVII - Chopin 151
  • XVIII - Italian Opera 158
  • XIX - Cherubini and French Opera 170
  • XX - Berlioz and Other Frenchmen 179
  • XXI - Liszt and His Circle 188
  • Part III - Musical Form 307
  • XXXI - Melody and Appreciation 309
  • XXXII - Figures and Phrases 317
  • XXXIII - The Song-Forms 324
  • XXXIV - The Rondos 331
  • XXXV - The Sonata-Allegro Form 336
  • XXXVI - Other Sonata Movements 341
  • XXXVII - The Orchestral Forms 345
  • XXXVIII Dances and Piano Styles - Dances and Piano Styles 351
  • XXXIX - The Vocal Forms 360
  • XL - The Contrapuntal Forms 366
  • Part IV - The Instruments 376
  • XLI - The Piano and Its Predecessors 377
  • XLII - The Organ 384
  • XLIII - The Voice 391
  • XLIV - The Violin 398
  • XLV - Other Bowed Instruments *
  • XLVI - Plucked-String Instruments 413
  • XLVII - Flute and Piccolo 420
  • XLVIII - Oboe and English Horn *
  • XLIX - The Bassoons 433
  • L the Clarinets 438
  • Li Horns, Trumpets, and Cornets 444
  • Lii Trombones and Tubas 450
  • Liii Instruments of Percussion 456
  • Part V - Special Topics 463
  • LIV - Some Famous Pianists 465
  • LV - Some Famous Singers 474
  • LVI - Violinists and Violin Music 483
  • LVII - Orchestration 491
  • LVIII - Conducting 496
  • Lix Acoustics 503
  • LX - How to Read Music 515
  • LXI - Modern Music 538
  • Appendix 569
  • Index 581
  • Index to Supplementary Chapter 606
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