Violins and Violin Makers. Biographical Dictionary. Joseph Pearce. The Violin is an instrument which, though small and of trifling original cost, has yet commanded most extraordinary prices. The reason of the immense difference in the value of these instruments must therefore be a subject possessing strong claims to notice from virtuoso and amateur. To distinguish by the outward characteristics and peculiarities of tone, that which will be of pecuniary value to the possessor, and yield the utmost delight to the hearer, is an acquirement at once difficult to obtain and very valuable when obtained. To assist the amateur and collector in this pursuit is the object of the present little work. Such a work has long been a desideratum. Of late years, the History of the Violin and its congeners has received much attention. Elaborate and costly treatises have been published, some of which being written in Foreign tongues, are exceedingly difficult to obtain, and not accessible to many of those who desire to peruse them, on that account. Others are very imperfect and unsatisfying. Others again, are, from their high price, beyond the reach of the greater number of amateurs. The present work is intended chiefly for the use of those who desire a handy guide to the principal characteristics both of make and tone which mark the chief builders of this most famous instrument. Many persons anxious to possess a good instrument, and led away by the very natural desire to possess an Amati, a Guarnerius, or a Stradiuarius are tempted into purchasing Violins which are presented to them under false and delusive titles, and reject frequently good and genuine instruments of less famous makers, but still valuable because they are good and genuine. Undoubted specimens of the great masters are now very rarely to be had, unless at a very high price. Yet, when we consider that even Stradiuarius himself obtained no more than four pounds for his best instruments, which now command as many hundredsit is evident that, in the absence of those great productions, the works of his pupils and successors are well worthy the attention of amateurs. There is no doubt, indeed, that many of these, which from being built on his principles are of first-rate quality, have been sold as those of the master himself. It cannot, therefore, be questioned that a knowledge which will lead the amateur to buy an instrument for what it really is, instead of what it professes to be, will at once save him from the unpleasantness of paying too dearly, and in real enjoyment yield all that can be desired.