Building violins began in Bad Goisern in 1735
Around 1735, 3 families from the Ramsau district began building the violins. The fact that the fathers of the later craftsmen were on their way as play men certainly contributed to this. In later years there was a real boom, which made the skilful men into coveted suppliers even beyond the town limits. As a result, violin makers became wealthy citizens who sold their goods at fairs in Styria. The violins were distinguished by their simple construction, which ensured that even customers with less purchasing power could buy high-quality products.
The violin as an important part of folk music
By the end of the 18th century, the violin had established itself as an omnipresent instrument. The violin was played at every event. Although the number of violin makers decreased, among other things due to cheap violins from Bohemia being mass-produced, the instrument has been preserved as an essential part of folk music. And the Kefer family, for example, has a continuous violin making activity until 1940.
The violin and the accordion
At the beginning of the 20th century the accordion became a strong competitor of the violin. Even in the 1920s, accordion players were repeatedly thrown out of pubs because they alone could replace an entire violin group (consisting of 4 violinists and 1 bassist). But the musicians earned an extra income with the gimmicks.
Today you can see accordion and violin playing together. Violin making has also regained momentum. The own violin making style reveals to the connoisseur that it can only be an instrument from Bad Goisern at Lake Hallstatt: round shoulders, an open, long C-frame, short corners and upright, far apart f-holes.
The violin makers of today and tomorrow
There are currently about 100 violin makers in Austria, 4 of whom are based in Bad Goisern, namely Robert Grieshofer, Andreas Ott and Mizzi Costa, Gabriel Bauer and Christian Jablonski (Christian is actually a guitar maker who also applies his knowledge to violin making). And so it is not surprising that in the neighbouring town of Hallstatt in the HTL for wood construction there is its own instrument making branch in which this important and high art is taught (among others by Christian Jablonski).
And every year on the first Sunday in September violinists from the whole region and also from neighbouring countries meet for the violin festival in Bad Goisern.