Traditional British Instrument
The VIOLIN or FIDDLE and the Magic Box
I don't remember exactly where I was born because my birth happened a long, long time ago ...
I’m played with a bow and the first known instrument with strings vibrated by a bow is Indian. Yes! I really think I come from India! And then many of us came to Europe through the Middle East (you know, the direct ancestor of all European bowed instruments is the Arabic rebab).
I, the violin, as I am nowadays, in my present form, emerged in early 16th-century northern Italy.
The Italian Renaissance gave me such a beautiful look and… sound!
I’ve always been very much loved, both among street musicians and the nobility. I’ve always been played for everyone and, just as music does, I reach the heart of all mankind.
In the United Kingdom and especially in Ireland and Scotland, there have been many players who created fantastic folk music through me! Music played to enjoy the cold nights together with friends, music to play for weddings, for birth, music to dance!
The fiddle-player (fiddle is another way to say violin) are incredible. Traditional Irish music is highly ornamented by the musicians and it would be hard to meet two players who play the same tune the same way.
There have been, across Europe, gypsy players who, since they were children, produced the most astonishing pieces… anyone knows about the virtuosity of gypsy violin players.
And talking about gypsies… there is a gyspy tale about the violin, which is the one I like the most, about my origins. Here it is for you.
The Magic Box
When the gypsy Batchalo, the Lucky One, was born, his mum was given a little box by the fairy Matuja who told her that her newborn son should have to bring it with him, always.
When Batchalo became a boy, he fell in love with the Princess. He asked the King of the Wood to merry his daughter, but the King sent him to prison and told that to be free again and merry his daughter, he should surprise him with something that nobody had ever seen before.
Closed in the subterranean cellars of the King of the Wood, he thought and thought…
Suddenly, in the darkness of cellar, the luminous Matuja appeared, the friend of the Beech Tree, the protector of the Lucky One.
Matuja asked the young man if he still possessed the magic little box that herself gave his mother as a gift for him.
“Take some of my hair – she said – attach them to the little box and to this little branch of beech tree. He did it, Matuja took the little box from Batchalo’s hands, she laughed inside it, and then she cried inside it, and let some of her tears go into it. Then, she disappeared.
Batchalo started to rub her silver hair with a thin branch and from the little box sad sounds started to flow, sad as the sounds of the deep autumn, and cheerful sounds, cheerful as the festive summer.
The King of the Forests, heard the sounds and stopped for once to listen to the rustle of the wind in the trees. That sound was magic, as anything he heard before.
He freed the gipsy boy, gave him his daughter to merry, and let himself to be enchanted forever by the sound of the magic little box.
The violin was born.