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The violin, viola, cello, double bass and the harp - no instruments are the epidemy of music more than these classical instruments in the string family. They also are among the oldest with their origins dating back to the great ancient civilizations. The modern violin and its cousin the viola evolved from various bowed instruments originating in the Middle East during the 10th century however it was during the 16th century that the violin and viola begun to spread across Europe and saw their popularity skyrocket. Constructed  of maple or spruce with an ebony fingerboard , the violin has remained relatively unchanged for centuries.The vioin's tone or voice largely depends on four factors: its shape, the wood it is made from, the thickness of the top and back and lastly the varnish that coats its surface and give it the warm hue associated with violins. This last factor is also what makes older violins highly sought after and also highly expensive as the varnish and the wood the violin is constructed of continously improve with age. Stradivarious violins, which were created in the late 16th and early 17th century by luthier extrordinaire Antonio Stradicari are among the most expensive due to their age and the fact that of the 1,000 instruments created less than 650 remain. Due to the amount of work that went into creating a violin and the low number of luthiers creating them, the instrument was very expensive and as a result was utilized mostly by nobility and royalty of 17th and 18th century Europe. By the middle of the 19th century violins were in such great demand that they had to be mass produced and were then available to the common people. Today the violin is used in many genres of music from classical to rock and roll.

 

The viola, which is slightly larger and has a deeper sound than the violin, is the middle voice of the string family falling between the violin and the cello.Its origins begin with the violin and once the instrument reached Northern Italy in the late 16th century, An famous Italian luthier named Andrea Amati seeking to improve the tonality of the violin created a slightly larger version, with a thicker front and back and thicker strings.The result was the viola and it put Cremona, Italy on the map as the cener of excellence for the production of string instruments. Due to its deeper sound, the viola was not typically featured in soloist works but found its niche in the harmony. Like the violin, it has been used predominately in classical music but can also be found in Pop and folk music.

 

As the violin led to the creation of the viola, the viola in turn led to the development of the cello. Differentiated from its sister strings by its much larger size, the cello was derived from the viola in the 16th century by luthiers seeking an even deeper tonality than the viola provided.From the Baroque period to today, the modern cello has gone through many changes. Today's cellos now include an endpin to support the cello by the floor when it is being played much to the benefit of cellists who previously had to hold the instruments with their calves when being played. Another noticable difference is the higher string tension that modern cello's have which results in a louder, more projecting tone. The cello immediately found itself as a popular instrument for solo works as well as a cornerstone for many classical pieces. Unlike the violin and viola, at the dawn of the jazz era the cello found itself playing a crucial role and was later included in rock and role such as the Beatles "Strawberry Fields" and "Good Vibrations". Out of all the string instruments, the cello is included i many genres of music even more so than the violin ranging from traditional classical music to jazz, pop and rock and roll.

 

A wide selection of violins, violas and cellos are available. Find your perfect orchestral string whether you are new to the instrument or a seasoned professional.

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