1 September 2021

Top fascinating facts about the violin

By Lark Music

The violin – head of the string family and one of the most-recognised instruments in the world – has been captivating audiences for over 500 years. While civilisations have enjoyed the music of stringed instruments for centuries, it wasn’t until the end of the 16th century that the violin as we recognise it was created. These days, it remains one of the most popular classical instruments in the UK – so much so that we offer dedicated violin insurance. But what is it about the violin that appeals to audiences and players alike?

For Geneva Lewis, Grand Prize winner at the Concert Artists Guild International Auditions in partnership with Young Classical Artists Trust, it’s “most simply, the sound.” She describes herself as “endlessly inspired by the infinite possibilities of colours that can be created on the instrument”.

She explains further: “I play some piano, and sing for fun, but I’ve always found the violin to be the instrument in which I can express myself the most naturally and effectively. Something about the sound feels closest to my soul.” Likewise, she points to the different roles the violin can play, referencing its “capability to both blend with the other instruments, and soar above, usually with the most beautiful melodies”.

So how did the violin’s sound develop into the rich “incredibly warm singing quality” that inspires Geneva? Let’s run through some top violin facts.

  • The ‘modern’ violin was first created in Italy, largely attributed to maker Andrea Amati, and then further developed by Antonio Stradivari, before undergoing some final design changes in the 19th century to create its strong and brilliant tone.


  • The largest playable violin in the world was made by 15 violin-makers in Germany. It’s an astonishing 4.27m tall and 5.22m wide! Meanwhile, the smallest violin in the world is only 37mm – but no one knows whether it can actually be played.


  • The violin’s sound comes from its strings, which are hitched to the tuning pegs and a tailpiece that passes over the bridge. This transmits the strings’ vibrations to the violin belly, amplifying the sound, while the sound post inside the instrument transmits the string vibrations to the instrument’s back, contributing to the characteristic violin tone. This is supported by the bass bar underneath that helps give the violin its resonance.



  • Violins are best made from maple and spruce (part of the pine family), while violin bows generally hold 150-200 hairs and are made from materials such as nylon or horsehair. Before the 19th century, violin bows were actually the shape of hunting bows.


  • The fiddle and the violin are the same instrument but the latter is more often associated with classical music. The word ‘violin’ comes from the Latin word ‘vitula’, which also means ‘female cow’.


  • The most expensive violin in the world is valued at $18 million. It was made in 1741 by Giuseppe Guarneri.


  • Playing the violin is good for you both physically and mentally: you can burn 170 calories over an hour of playing and Harvard University discovered that early training in the violin improves memory function.


  • Research shows violinists have faster cognitive processing abilities and greater control over most areas of their hands than the average person, and they are often used in studies into brain elasticity as a result.


  • Violins are associated with several world records. The record for ‘fastest violinist’ is held by Ben Lee, a British electric violinist, composer and producer, while the world record for cycling backwards while playing a violin is 60.45km in 5 hours 8 seconds.

Violin Insurance

If you’re looking for violin insurance, our team is happy to help. You can get in touch by clicking here or alternatively, you can get a quote online for your violin, or any type of musical instrument insurance.