Manufactur Burchardt: handmade miniature instruments

History of violin

For about 500 years already there has been a debate between European historians, the researchers of the genesis of the violin, about the country of its origin. Some believe that Poland, others that Italy is the homeland of birth of this instrument.

Martin Agricola (6.01.1486, Świebodzin – 10.06.1556, Magdeburg), who in 1545 has described the instrument calling it Polish violin (german Polnische Geige) and Michael Praetorius (15.02.1571, Kreuzburg – 15.02.1621, Wolfenbüttel) believe, that Polnische Geige penetrated from Poland to Italy thanks to Polish Queen Bona Sforza d’Aragona (2.02.1494, Vigevano – 19.11.1557, Bari).

Handmade miniature of a 5-string bowed violin

Handmade miniature of a 5-string bowed violin

However the archeological discoveries done on the Polish territory after the WW2 have tipped the scales to the advantage of Lech Walesa’s & Pop John Paul II country being the violin’s native land, when in 1948 in Opole the instrument from the XI century was found, that was named Gusle from Opole.

About a year later, on the Gdansk territory the instrument from ca. 1225 was found, that was given a name of Gusle from Gdansk.

Handmade miniature of Gusle – Highland fiddle

Handmade miniature of Gusle – Highland fiddle

However, the most important finding took place in the year of 1985, in Plock, during archeological excavations being done at the Old Town area. That’s when a 6-string instrument from XV century was found, which contained the resonance box, and was given a name of Fiddle from Plock.

Handmade miniature of Fiddle of Płock - Polish folk stringed bowed instrument

Handmade miniature of Fiddle of Płock – Polish folk stringed bowed instrument

There are many instruments in Poland that violin relates to and that survived up until this day, and these are: Suka, Mazanki Wielkopolska, Gusle, Czorsztyn Spinet etc. All these instruments have kept various elements of the archaic construction, which exactly characterize the origin of violin.

Handmade miniature of Czorsztyn spinet - Polish folk bowed string instrument

Handmade miniature of Czorsztyn spinet – Polish folk bowed string instrument

There is no other country in the world with that many varieties of string instruments related to violin than the ones originated in Poland.

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