About this Article
Written by: Farisha Salman
Written on: October 24th, 2005
Tags: entertainment
Thumbnail by: Frinck51/Wikimedia Commons
About the Author
Farisha Salman was studying Computer Science at the University of Southern California in the fall of 2005. She enjoys dancing and playing musical instruments in her free time and is a passionate student of the Korean language.
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Volume VII Issue I > The Violin: The Art Behind the Sound
The violin is regarded as one of the most important musical instruments in history, perhaps because of its fundamental role in an orchestra or the inspiration and emotion transferred to the listener upon hearing its powerfully romantic sound. While its construction concentrates on producing impeccable sound, had the violin not adhered to the laws of science, it would have been a failure as a musical instrument (Hughes). Indeed, the violin is an amazing amalgam of science, mathematics, physics, and chemistry but it is strictly regulated by physical and acoustic laws. Nothing about the violin can be changed without seriously disturbing its equilibrium as an instrument of essential and precise assimilation.

The History of the Violin

The history of the violin can be traced back as far as the 9th century. Although violin-playing is best known in European countries, especially considering the origins of world famous violinists like Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, and Niccolo Paganini, violins are believed to have originated in Asia [1]. The current form of the violin, however, evolved more than 500 years ago from several musical instruments. These precursors include rudimentary instruments called the Rebab, Rebec, and Ravanastron, played in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and India. The Rebec, a pear-shaped instrument, contributes some of its traits to the modern violin. Positioned at the neck and played with a bow like the violin, the Rebec has f-holes carved out from its body. In addition, like the violin, the strings of the Rebec are secured and tightened by pegs laterally inserted into a pegbox [2].

The Major Components of the Violin

The violin is composed almost entirely of wood. It is shaped like a woman's body by design and has a bridge that is placed between the two f-holes (Fig. 1). Four strings, connected to a saddle, are positioned on the bridge, extended across the fingerboard, and tied into a pegbox at the opposite end. These strings can be metal, gut or a hybrid called synthetic core. Also, two f-holes are carved out from the body of the violin and at the end of the finger board, a scroll protrudes from the pegbox.
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Figure 1: The parts of a violin is shaped like a woman's body and is usually made entirely of wood.
The violin contains distinct components and understanding how each of these parts is connected to the violin as a whole is crucial. The major parts of the violin-- the body, bridge, strings and bow-- each contribute to the production of a violin's distinct sound.