Sunday, February 28, 2016

The violin in Lombardy: Part 1 - "Brescian school"

Brescia has had a major role in the history of the violin. Many archive documents very clearly testify that from 1490 to 1640 Brescia was the cradle of a magnificent school of string players and makers, all styled "maestro", of all the different kinds of stringed instruments of the Renaissance: viola da gamba (viols), violone, lyra, lyrone, violetta and viola da brazzo. So you can find from 1495 "maestro delle viole" or "maestro delle lire" and later, at least from 1558, "maestro di far violini" that is master of violin making. From 1530 the word violin appeared in Brescian documents and spread in later decades throughout north of Italy, reaching Venezia and Cremona.


The most famous violin makers, between the early 16th century and the 18th century included:

Micheli family of Italian violin makers, Zanetto Micheli 1490 - 1560, Pellegrino Micheli 1520 - 1607, Giovanni Micheli 1562 - 1616, Francesco Micheli 1579 - 1615, and the brother in law Battista Doneda 1529 - 1610

Bertolotti da Salò (Gasparo da Salò) family of Italian violin and double bass players and makers: Francesco 1513 - 1563 and Agostino 1510 - 1584 Bertolotti, Gasparo Bertolotti 1540 - 1609 called Gasparo da Salò 

[History of the violin]

Violinists and collectors particularly prize the instruments made by the Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati families from the 16th to the 18th century in Brescia and Cremona and by Jacob Stainer in Austria. According to their reputation, the quality of their sound has defied attempts to explain or equal it, though this belief is disputed.


The finest Renaissance carved and decorated violin in the world is the Gasparo da Salò (1574 c.)...


The most famous violin makers (luthiers) between the 16th century and the 18th century include:

The school of Brescia, beginning in the late 14th with liras, violettas, violas and active in the field of the violin in the first half of 16th century

The Dalla Corna family, active 1510–1560 in Brescia and Venice

The Micheli family, active 1530–1615 in Brescia

The Inverardi family active 1550–1580 in Brescia

The Gasparo da Salò family, active 1530–1615 in Brescia and Salò

Giovanni Paolo Maggini, student of Gasparo da Salò, active 1600–1630 in Brescia



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