15 things you didn’t know about the violin

10 September 1503
Every instrument has its own history, usually with some bizarre yet incredible facts.

Here are 15 things you didn’t know about the violin:

  1. Get fit playing the fiddle

Did you know that playing the violin burns approximately 170 calories per hour? Forget the gym and start practicing!

  1. Leading the way

Before the conductor became the main fixture of the orchestra, the violin was considered the leader.

  1. 500 years old

Said to have been designed in the 1500s by Andrea Amati, the modern violin has been around for approximately 500 years.

  1. Latin origin

The term violin originates from the Medieval Latin word vitula, meaning stringed instruments.

  1. Quick thinkers

Research has shown that violinists have faster cognitive processing speeds than the average person.

  1. What wood?

Violins are usually made up of spruce or maple wood.

  1. $18 million

The most expensive violin in the world was made by Giuseppe Guarneri in 1741, appraised to the value of $18 million.

  1. From violin player to famous pianist

Renowned for his position as a prominent pianist, Mozart actually began his musical training as a violinist.

  1. Attention to detail is everything

Violins are extremely complex in design, requiring over 70 different pieces of wood to create the perfect modern violin.

  1. World’s fastest violinist

The world record as the fastest violinist is held by Ben Lee, a Sussex-born electric violinist, composer and producer.

  1. Animal materials

Originally, violin strings were created out of dried sheep, horse, goat or pig intestines. Since then, the strings have been made from solid steel, stranded steel or various other synthetic materials – sometimes plated with silver.

  1. Violin bows

Bows are typically made up of 150 to 200 hairs, crafted out of a variety of materials including nylon and horsehair. Before the 19th century, the violin bow was actually shaped like a hunting bow.

  1. The cycling violinist

The world record in cycling backwards whilst playing a violin is 60.45 kilometres in 5 hours 8 seconds.

  1. World’s largest violin

The world’s largest playable violin was constructed by 15 dedicated violin makers from Germany. It stood 4.27 metres tall and 5.22 metres wide with a sound three times lower than a conventional violin.

  1. The violin or the fiddle?

The violin and fiddle are two names for the same instrument; however, the term ‘violin’ is more often associated with classical music.