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Andrea Amati was a luthier, from Cremona, Italy.[1][2] Amati is credited with making the first instruments of the violin family that are in the form we use today.[3] According to the National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota:

Andrea Amati
Died(1577-12-26)26 December 1577
Known forCredited with constructing the first musical instrument of the modern violin family
This violin, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, may have been part of a set made for the marriage of Philip II of Spain to Elisabeth of Valois in 1559, which would make it one of the earliest known violins in existence.

It was in the workshop of Andrea Amati (ca. 1505-1577) in Cremona, Italy, in the middle of the 16th century that the form of the instruments of the violin family as we know them today first crystallized.

Several of his instruments survive to the present day, and some of them can still be played.[3][4][5] Many of the surviving instruments were among a consignment of 38 instruments delivered to Charles IX of France in 1564.[6]

Role in the development of the modern violinEdit

According to a biography by Roger Hargrave, Amati is one of the top candidates scholars have advanced for the "inventor of the violin."[1] The two other candidates he named were Fussen born in a region now part of present-day Germany. The other candidate he named was Gasparo' da Salo from Brescia.

The violin-like instruments that existed when Amati began his career only had three strings.[7] Amati is credited with creating the first four stringed violin-like instrument.[8] Laurence Witten also lists Amati and Gasparo' da Salo, as well as Pellegrino de' Micheli, also from Brescia; as well and Ventura di Francesco de' Machetti Linarol, of Venice.[9] Amati's first violins were smaller than modern violins, with high arches, wide purfling, and elegantly curved scrolls and bodies.[10]

Andrea Amati's two sons, Antonio Amati and Girolamo Amati were also highly skilled violin makers, as was his grandson Nicolò Amati, who had over a dozen highly regarded apprentices, including Antonio Stradivari and Andrea Guarneri.[6]

Ex-Kurtz violin at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts (ca. 1560).


  1. ^ a b Roger Hargrave. "Andrea Amati 1505 - 1577" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-31.
  2. ^ ""The King" Cello: Andrea Amati -- 1572". Cello heaven. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
  3. ^ a b "Images from The Rawlins Gallery: The King Violoncello by Andrea Amati, Cremona, after 1538". National Music Museum. 2012-01-14. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
  4. ^ Jürgen Seeger (6 June 2015). "Julius Berger / "Inspired by Bach"" (in German). BR. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Images from The Rawlins Gallery: Violin by Andrea Amati, Cremona, 1574". National Music Museum. 2010-08-25. Retrieved 2012-03-31. This rare violin is the best preserved of the few surviving Andrea Amati instruments, retaining its original neck, blocked out at the heel, as can be seen the photos above.
  6. ^ a b Roberts, Jacob (2017). "Stradivari and the Search for Brilliance". Distillations. 3 (3): 12–23. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  7. ^ Sheila M. Nelson (2003-06-20). The violin and viola: history, structure, techniques. Dover publications. p. 11. ISBN 9780486428536. Retrieved 2012-03-31. Two violins, attributed to Amati, dated 1542 and 1546, were reported during the 19th century to have been converted from three strings to four, but there is no proof of this.
  8. ^ William Tydeman; Thomas Norton; Thomas Kyd (1992). Two Tudor Tragedies. Penguin Books. p. 268. ISBN 9780140445312. Retrieved 2014-01-21. ...when Gorboduc was first presented, three-string versions featuring in painting of the 1530s, and the four-string version being perfected by Andrea Amati of Cremona (c. 1520-1611), from whom the French King, Francois II, ordered thirty-eight stringed instruments in 1560.
  9. ^ Laurence C. Witten II (October 1982). "The Surviving Instruments of Andrea Amati". Early Music. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
  10. ^ Sachs, Curt (1940). The History of Musical Instruments. W.W. Norton and Company.