Honoring an instrument also known as the fiddle, National Violin Day on December 13th celebrates the bow stringed instrument loved around the world.
By drawing the bow across the strings, the violinist manipulates the sound in several ways. A violinist uses numerous bowing techniques to master the violin. The strokes dictate not only notes, but the quality of the note played.
While we associate the violin with classical music, it easily crosses genres. For instance, the violinist demonstrates the versatility of the violin by extensive use in baroque music, jazz, folk music, rock and roll, and soft rock.
“Violin” comes from the Medieval Latin work “vitula” which means stringed instrument.
Although having ancient origins, violin-makers developed most of the violin’s modern characteristics in Italy during the 16th century. Further modifications formed in the 18th and 19th centuries.
It is believed that Turkic and Mongolian horseman from Inner Asia were the world’s earliest fiddlers. They played two-stringed upright fiddles strung with horsehair strings. Likewise, they played using horsehair bows and often featured a carved horse’s head at the end of the neck. The violins we play today (as well as the violas and cellos) with bows still strung with horsehair are a legacy of the nomads.