The value of antique violins is based on specific factors and the prices for authentic antiques are in the millions. Since these antiques are steadily decreasing in number on the open market, the value will only continue to appreciate. Antique violins have an aura of romantic mystique, however, there are some conflicting opinions on the subject of sound. The debate is centered around whether or not the value of an antique violin is determined by the quality of its sound. Those who argue sound has little to no effect on the price of an antique violin will state that most of the oldest, most highly valued violins in existence are rarely played. The collectors or museums who own these violins are trying to preserve the violin’s condition. The sound of a violin is also greatly affected by the player. The human using the instrument has much more influence on how it sounds than the age or design. The bow will also affect the sound.
Not Everyone’s in Tune Over Precious Violins
Back: in two-pieces of maple of excellent quality with somewhat irregular flame of medium width descending from the center joint to the edges. Top: in two pieces of spruce with grain of narrow width in the center, opening somewhat on the flanks. There are 11 additional images in the archive which are not available publicly.
Analysis of growth rings can’t tell you who made a violin, but it can often give a ‘no-older-than’ date for the instrument.
A member of the string family accompanying the viola and cello , the violin is a small, wooden instrument with four strings that is high-pitched and played with a bow. It is a descendant of many different instruments, spanning many different countries: Greece, Turkey, India, Mongolia and China, included. Of the three, Andrea Amati is the man who put Cremona on the map, in terms of its being the epicenter of excellent violin-making in the mid s.
People from all different social strata, including Charles IX, King of France, wanted one or more of these precious instruments. As with many other highly sought-after objects, people began making reproductions and other luthiers were able to break into the violin-making scene, creating hundreds of thousands of the popular instrument. What appears to be banged up and dingy, could actually be something extraordinarily valuable, and vice versa; something that looks to be in great condition, could be shoddily made and of little to no value.
The back: examine the type of wood that makes up the back of the violin. Look straight at the scroll and observe it in profile; if there are tiny details that have been incorporated, that indicates a higher level of craftsmanship.
What’s in a violin label
Every week I find myself working with clients with the hope that they have found a genuine Stradivarius violin. They seek my expert advice, and ask me to help them understand what they have really found in their attic. For any experienced violin maker or restorer it takes one second to know a real Stradivarius from an average copy.
This complex approach is very often used for extensive expert examinations and characterizations of old violins [1,2]. Authentication means more than dating.
Sadly, this iPhone app for instantly discovering the age of a violin by visual analysis of the wood was an April Fool, but the principle of Dendrochronology is sound. Specialists use dendrochronology to find out the when the wood used in an instrument was grown. The history of a tree can be read in its rings, as year by year they reflect the climatic conditions.
In a good year the tree will grow healthily and there will be a wide ring, in a colder or unusually dry year the ring will be narrower. Trees of the same species growing in similar areas all have the exact same pattern. Precise measurements and computer analysis mean that the patterns in the spruce on the table of a violin of unknown age can now be compared with data from a wide range of other instruments. If you want a dendrochronological analysis to find out how old your violin is, contact Peter Ratcliff.
Cello bows. Email address:. Search for: Search.
The British bow: a rough guide to dating and development
Store Hours By Appointment Only. We frequently receive phone calls about “old” modern violins. It’s understandable. To most people, anything over 5 years is old – cars, television, and grandma.
Keep in mind that antique violins are not necessarily valuable, and he worked in (Cremona), followed by the words “Made in the year (date).
What makes Stradivarius violins so special? Made by Antonio Stradivari and his family, these instruments are among the most valuable violins in the world, highly regarded by performers and audiences. Take a look at pictures from the Stradivarius exhibition at Oxford’s Ashmolean museum, uncovering the beauty of these musical works of art. Antonio Stradivari is one of the most famous makers of stringed instruments otherwise known as luthiers of all time.
His instruments are highly regarded and often sell for six figure sums at auction thanks to their unique sound and esteemed history. Created in , in Stradivari’s ‘golden period’ this violin takes its name from French violinist Jean-Delphin Alard, its most famed owner. Look at the ornate carving on the tailpiece. Stradivari wasn’t just a violin maker. He’s well-known for his incredible stringed instruments, including violins, cellos, guitars, violas, and even harps, famous for their unparalleled sound quality.
This cello, nicknamed Cristiani, was made around and currently resides at the Museo Stradivariano in the City of Cremona.
The magic of the Stradivarius: the most beautiful violins in the world
Yasmina, If you read the above blog post, you’ll have your answer. First clue- Antonius Stradivarius worked in Italy, not Germany. Yasmina, you made out. Hi my mate has a strad with the same words in it however date looks faded and no country of origin noted. Any thoughts?
Where are violins made? violin makers us with older, master made instruments (typically violins) dating from the late s through s.
One was a Guarnerius and two were Stradivariuses, among the most storied names in instrument making and considered the epitome of violins; three were modern. The players were asked their preference. Only 8 of the 21 picked the precious products of the old masters, according to an academic article published this month. It was the latest salvo in the Strad wars, a long-running debate over whether the enormous worth of such instruments is rooted in myth or merit. The tradition of challenging the intrinsic musical worth of antique instruments is nearly as venerable as the instruments themselves.
Science has advanced, with ever better methods of analysis. Makers have leapt ahead in producing superb instruments, which have gained a foothold among many serious players. But while the mystique faces ever-greater scrutiny, it remains powerful in our increasingly digitized and disposable world, where year-old wood objects used to express deep emotion seem ever more precious. Prices continue to soar, and musicians still yearn to play old master instruments.
Who Made My Violin?
Almost every day someone walks into our shop and probably most other large violin shops in the United States and presents an old, tattered violin case with loose bow hair sticking out. I know instinctively what lies inside. Each one has its own story, excitedly told by the owner. Inside, the instruments often have some sort of facsimile label of one of the great Italian masters; Stradivari, Guarneri, Amati, or perhaps the Tyrolean Jacob Stainer.
These violins always have a great deal in common and are among the millions of generally inexpensive student violins made for the vast, mostly American market at a time before radio and television, motion pictures, or even recordings, when people had to entertain themselves.
My guitar is older than that and nothing special. My violin is from and not all that special, either, coming from an area known for mass.