Violin Anatomy

Clayton Haslop

When someone is learning how to play the violin, it can be very useful for them to be familiar with the violin anatomy. This will help them understand violin lessons that bit easier.

There are lots of components that make up the violin anatomy which will be discussed in more detail on this page.  There are two separate parts that are involved in playing the violin. The first part is the violin itself and the other part which is just as important is the bow.

As far as making the violin, more than seventy parts in needed when constructing the violin. Various different woods are used in making violin which are deliberately chosen to either produce certain sounds or for there durability and solidity.

Violin Anatomy

The body of the violin is a hollow that consists of a belly/top plate and the arched back plate which are held together by the ribs. Typically spruce wood is used for the belly of the violin as this type of wood is soft and it responds well to the vibration of the strings.

The back of the violin is made with harder wood which tends to be maple wood. This type of wood helps the violin to have a longer shelf life.

The shape of the violin body is typically made up of the lower, middle and upper bouts. Narrow strips of pear and white poplar wood are inlaid decoratively around the edge of the back and the belly of the violin. This inlay helps against the wood panels splitting.

On the belly of the violin there are two sound holes which are sometimes referred to as f-holes. These holes allow the sound to come out louder. If there were no holes, the vibration of the strings would not be easy to hear. The sound holes allow the sound to grow and magnify.

The next part is the bridge. This is a very important component of the violin as it supports the strings and communicates the vibrations (sound) to the violin body.

Attached to the violin body are four strings. One end of each string is fastened around a tuning peg which is in the pegbox. These strings are then stretched over the nut which holds the strings at the correct height above the fingerboard.

At the other end, these strings run over the bridge and are attached and fastened at the tailpiece. Typically this tailpiece contains four fine tuners. The tailpiece is held in place on the belly by the tailgut. The tailgut passes over the saddle at the end-button.

The neck of the violin (the fingerboard) is attached to the top block which is inside the violin, at the shoulder. Then the part that is visible to the eye is the scroll. This is at the end of the violin and it looks like a decorative feature. The scroll does not really have any function as far as producing sound.
There are various components in the violin which are not visible to the human eye. These components include the soundpost, the top, bottom and corner blocks, the brass bar and lining strips.

To make everything come together we have to look at the anatomy of the violin bow. The wooden part that looks like a little stick is called the stick. Then the part which glides over the strings is called the ribbon/hair. The top of the bow is called the point and the bottom of the bow directly underneath the ribbon is the frog.

At the very bottom of the bow is the screw or adjuster. This helps makes the ribbon tauter. Then to finish you have the winding and the lapping. These help protect the stick. The winding is typically made of thin metal wire and the lapping is usually made of leather.

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