2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 12:28
Italian violin makers created such wonderful musical instruments that they are still considered the best, despite the fact that many new technologies for their manufacture have appeared in our century. Many of them are still in excellent condition, and today they are played by the most famous and best performers in the world.
The most famous and great violin maker is Antonio Stradivari, who was born and lived all his life in Cremona. To date, approximately seven hundred instruments made by him have survived in the world. Antonio's teacher was the equally famous master Nicolo Amati.
The exact date of birth of A. Stradivari is unknown. After learning from N. Amati, he opened his workshop and surpassed his teacher. Antonio improved the violins created by Nicolò. He achieved a more melodious and flexible voice of the instruments, made a more curved shape, decorated them. A. Stradivari, in addition to violins, created violas,guitars, cellos and harps (at least one). The great master's students were his sons, but they failed to repeat the success of their father. It is believed that he did not pass on the secret of the magnificent sound of his violins even to his sons, so it has not been unraveled until now.
The Amati family are violin makers from an ancient Italian family. They lived in the ancient city of Cremona. Founded the Andrea dynasty. He was the first violin maker in the family. The exact date of his birth is unknown. In 1530, he and his brother Antonio opened a workshop for making violins, violas and cellos. They developed their own technologies and created modern type instruments. Andrea made sure that his instruments sounded silvery, gentle, clear and clean. At the age of 26, A. Amati became famous. The master taught his sons his craft.
The most famous string maker in the family was Andrea Amati's grandson, Nicolò. He perfected the sound and shape of the instruments his grandfather made. Nicolo increased the size, reduced the bulges on the decks, made the sides larger and the waist thinner. He also changed the composition of the lacquer, which made it transparent and gave it shades of bronze and gold.
Nicolo Amati was the founder of a school for violin makers. Many famous string instrument makers were his students.
The Guarneri Family
Violin makers from this dynasty also lived in Cremona. Andrea Guarneri was the first violin maker in the family. Like A. Stradivari, he was a student of Nicolo Amati. Since 1641, Andrea lived in his house, worked as an apprentice and for this he received the necessary knowledge for free. He left the house of Nikolo in 1654, after he got married. Soon A. Guarneri opened his workshop. The master had four children - a daughter and three sons - Pietro, Giuseppe and Eusebio Amati. The first two followed in the footsteps of their father. Eusebio Amati was named after his father's great teacher and was his godson. But, despite such a name, he was the only one of the children of A. Guarneri who did not become a violin maker. The most famous in the family is Giuseppe. He surpassed his father. The violins of the Guarneri dynasty were not as popular as the instruments of A. Stradivari and the Amati family. The demand for them was due to not very expensive cost and Cremonese origin - which was prestigious.
There are now approximately 250 Guarneri-made instruments in the world.
Less famous Italian violin makers
There were other violin makers in Italy. But they are less known. And their tools are less valued than those created by great masters.
Gasparo da Salo (Bertolotti) is the main rival of Andrea Amati, who challenged the right to be considered the inventor of modern violins with the founder of the famous dynasty. He also created double basses, violas, cellos and so on. Very few of the instruments he created have survived to this day, no more than a dozen.
Giovanni Magini is a student of G. da Salo. At first he copied instrumentsmentor, then improved his work, based on the achievements of the Cremonese masters. His violins have a very soft sound.
Francesco Ruggeri is a student of N. Amati. His violins are valued no less than the instruments of his mentor. Francesco invented small violins.
Outstanding German violin maker - Jakob Steiner. He was ahead of his time. During his lifetime, he was considered the best. The violins he created were of greater value than those made by A. Stradivari. Jacob's teacher, presumably, was the Italian violin maker A. Amati, since his works show the style in which the representatives of this great dynasty worked. The identity of J. Steiner remains mysterious to this day. There are many secrets in his biography. Nothing is known about when and where he was born, who his mother and father were, what family he came from. But he had an excellent education, he spoke several languages - Latin and Italian.
It is assumed that N. Amati Jacob studied for seven years. After that, he returned to his homeland and opened his workshop. Soon the Archduke appointed him court master and gave him a good salary.
Jakob Steiner's violins were different from others. Her deck arch was steeper, which made it possible to increase the volume inside the instrument. The neck, instead of the usual curls, was crowned with lion heads. The sound of his products was different from the Italian samples, it was unique, clearer and higher. The resonator hole had the shape of a star. Varnish and primerused Italian.
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