As with most industries, the history of German violin making can be traced to the history of Germany itself, with its twists and turns of economic and social trends, influence of outsiders, emergence of new technologies, and access to natural resources and trade routes. Long-standing German traditions of high quality, efficient production processes and savvy evaluation of and response to market demands, combined to create a unique industry, with today's markets continuing to rely on the quality instruments produced in Germany long ago.
Although the precise beginning of violin making in the northeastern French commune of Mirecourt has been lost to obscurity, there is no question that some of the greatest violin makers in history lived and worked in Mirecourt. In the 1600s, there were perhaps 50 luthiers, as the city was just beginning to forge its reputation. Precise recordkeeping was instituted during the 18th century, a necessity of the guild system that was helping transform Western Europe into an economic powerhouse. In 1732, Mirecourt gained its own guild of violin making, adhering to strict rules of quality control and training, necessary to building a strong export business. Read More
The origins of the violin were likely rooted in India or the Far East. In fact, musical instruments that are played with a bow appear in centuries-old paintings and pottery from many different civilizations. But there is no doubt that the violin we recognize today originated in mid-1500 Cremona, Italy, more specifically from the hand of Andrea Amati. Andrea's grandson, Nicola Amati, enlarged the pattern and refined the violin, passing his knowledge to Stradivari and Guarneri. In short order, other famous makers emerged in Cremona, Carlo Bergonzi being the most prominent. Cremona had quickly become famous throughout Europe and elsewhere. Read More