The violin has been around since the mid-1500s, but it didn’t make its mark until the early seventeenth century. During this time composers began to write increasingly challenging music for the violin – music that was both virtuosic and highly expressive. The violin has an important role in the orchestra. The first player of the first violin section is often called the ‘leader’ of the orchestra.
The body of the violin is made of different types of wood (including spruce, maple, ebony and rosewood). The violin has four strings; these were originally made from gut. Nowadays strings can be made of metal, or with metal wound round gut or even plastic. The strings are stretched between the two ends of the instrument across the ‘bridge’.