Bowed string instruments are a subcategory of string instruments that are played by a bow rubbing the strings. The bow rubbing the string causes vibration which the instrument emits as sound.

Despite the numerous specialist studies devoted to the origin of the bowing the problem of the origin of the bowing is unresolved [1]

Some say that the bow was introduced to Europe from the Middle East [2][3][4] while others say the bow was not introduced from the Middle East, but the other way round, that that the bow may have had its origin from a more frequent intercourse with North Europe and Western Europe [5] [6]

List of bowed string instruments

Violin family

Niccolò Paganini playing the violin, by Georg Friedrich Kersting (1785–1847)
Variants on the standard members of the violin family include

Viol family (Viola da Gamba family)

Karl Friedrich Abel playing the bass Viola da Gamba, by Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788)
Variants on the standard four members of the viol family include:

Lyra and rebec type

Chinese bowed instruments

Two performers playing the Erhu, sometimes known as the Chinese fiddle.

Rosined wheel instruments

A performer playing the Morin Khuur, the Mongolian Horse Fiddle

The following instruments are sounded by means of a turning wheel that acts as the bow.

Other bowed instruments

See also


  1. ^ Friedrich Behn, Musikleben im Altertum und frühen page 159
  2. ^ "Rabab". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Lira | musical instrument". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  4. ^ Panum, Hortense (1939). "The stringed instruments of the Middle Ages, their evolution and development". London: William Reeves: 434. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Catechism of Musical History: History of musical instruments and history of tone-systems and notation page 27
  6. ^ The history of the violin, and other instruments played on with the bow from the remotest times to the present by Sandys, William, 1792-1874; Forster, Simon Andrew, 1801-1870