The violin was invented in Italy in the 16th century. The violin is descended from medieval stringed instruments, such as the rebec and the vielle. Another progenitor is the Renaissance instrument called the lira da braccio.

The somewhat larger and softer-sounding viol might also have contributed to the violin's development.

Though there were notable violin-makers in the 16th century, the technological advances in violin construction were at their height during the 17th and 18th centuries. The transition from private rooms to concert halls demanded enhancements to the dynamic power of the violin. Among other improvements, the instrument's neck was lengthened, its fingerboard was tilted back and a chinrest was added.