Lutherie in the Polish lands

Polish school of lutherie and the “Polish violin”

Asked about lutherie in the Polish lands, anybody who is only a little interested in the history of music, and the violin repertoire in particular, has immediate associations with the term “Polish school of lutherie”, the mysterious Dankwarts and even more mystifying person named Marcin Groblicz. According to Encyklopedia Muzyczna PWM [PWM Encyclopaedia of Music]1, there were at least five generations of luthiers using that first and last name in Poland. The history of lutherie knows other cases of this sort: based mostly in Venice, the Tieffenbruckers produced lutes from the early 16th century until around 16302. Researchers who study the lives of Polish luthiers cannot unequivocally ascertain how many generations of luthiers known by the name of Marcin Groblicz there were. The reasons for lack of certainty in this respect have been expertly explained in a 2016 book titled Polska szkoła lutnicza. Instrumenty Grobliczów i Dankwartów [Polish school of lutherie: instruments by the Grobliczes and Dankwarts]3. Another controversial issue related to lutherie in the Polish lands is the proposition that the violin in fact originated in Poland, put forward by Zdzisław Szulc in the 1953 Słownik lutników polskich [Dictionary of Polish luthiers]4. Szulc, an ardent enthusiast of musical instruments, merchant, founder of the Musical Instrument Museum in Poznań (division of the National Museum in Poznań), and a leading initiator of the International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Making Competition in Poznań, argued that it was in the Polish lands that the mature form of the violin was developed not as it is generally believed, in the area of Brescia in northern Italy. The hypothesis, treated rather lightly in European literature, was rather risky, yet it reflected the level of knowledge and the way of thinking prevailing in Poland at the time, its author embracing the apotheosis of a “golden age” of the Polish state. Szulc based his argument on his own interpretation of certain sources, including treatises by Martin Agricola (1545) and Michael Praetorius (1619), as well as a study by Alexander Hajdecki (1892). Based on the latter he concluded that the transformation of the lira da braccio into the violin had taken place in Kraków at the court of Sigismund I the Old and his Italian wife Bona Sforza. Writing in a rather light-hearted manner, Szulc suggested that Italian musicians playing liras da braccio at the Kraków court inspired Mateusz Dobrucki to introduce modifications to the instrument’s construction, giving it the form of present-day violin5.

These three issues suffice to inspire a more detailed study on the history of making bowed instruments in the Polish lands from the 15th to early 19th century.

While Szulc’s hypothesis is hardly more than an concept for an entertaining period movie, Mateusz Dobrucki was a flesh-and-blood person. After his death in 1602 a posthumous inventory of his possessions was drawn up as it was customary in large 17th-century towns across Europe. A final copy of the document (the first draft was most likely made by an official on site) was included in municipal records. In the 19th century, Ambroży Grabowski, an antique dealer with a passion for Kraków’s history, made a faithful copy of the inventory6.

The document is an unique source of information on the making of bowed string instruments in the 16th century. Rich furnishings found in Mateusz Dobrucki’s quarters and his luxurious wardrobe suggest that he and his wife were burgesses who owed their wealth to the making and sales of bowed instruments as well as… plumbing services. The inventory lists the following items among others: 

(. . .) One simple old carpenter’s chest
with moulds for bassÿ
In the second chest: wood for skrzÿpicze;
In the third chest: finished pegs also for skrzÿpicze;
In the fourth chest, all items related to plumbing, drills for
pumps and for pipes. Also, iron for screws,
Brass lomczuch for burning pipes,
seven drills for drilling small shovels,
Large iron pliers for pipes,
Iron barrel for various tubes,
Empty simple chest in the corner,
One hundred and ninety-one soundboards for czÿtarÿ,
Eleven moulds for czÿtarÿ,
Six patterns for descants,
Three [for] tenors,
Three [for] basses,
Iron tools for plumbing,
Forty unfinished skrzÿpic in a big chest in the room
(. . .) It. The vice with a workshop bench for making skrzÿpice in the window
It. Another vice by the bench in the room
It. Maple for skrzÿpice, one cartload,
Maple planks or lumber, 12 items.

The excerpt is by no means exclusive but the conclusions are fascinating. Dobrucki was in equal parts a luthier and a plumber. Eleven lute moulds, a cartload of maple wood and two workbenches are a clear sign he did not work alone. Let us cast a closer look at the vocabulary used in the inventory to describe musical instruments and their components. Research into the history of Polish language has showed that the word “skrzypice” [fiddles] emerged at the beginning of the 15th century7 when the bowed string instrument today known as “skrzypce” [violin] had not yet occured anywhere in Europe. “Czytara” was an Old Polish word for lute or a lute-like instrument, while “czecha do czytarij” simply meant lute neck. One hundred and ninety-one soundboards for lute-like instruments (“Dek do czÿtar trzÿ kopÿ i iedenascie”) is a number suggesting that Dobrucki’s workshop operated on an almost mass scale. The inventory is also an important source of information on European lutherie as it provides an account of equipment used by luthiers in the 16th century. Yet, the most significant conclusion follows from the interpretation of the words “bassy” [basses], “tenory” [tenors], “diskanty” [descants] and “skrzypice”. Based on linguistic research and the fact that the inventory mentions “formy” (moulds), it should be assumed that Dobrucki did not produce violins but violas da gamba, or viols, in their typical for the consort of viols sizes. A similar inventory of a luthier’s products found in the British Isles was described by Michael Fleming8.

It is also necessary to review the terminology used by Szulc to translate the two foreign treatises he analysed. First of all, he incorrectly labels a reproduction of an etching in Figure XXI no. 4 “Rechte Discant-Geig” as “Polish violin according to Praetorius”. In fact, Praetorius mentions “Polnische Geigen” in the chapter devoted to viols:

“Viols, or Violunzen, can be divided into two kinds: violas da gamba and violas da braccio, or de brazzo. Here is the explanation of what the names mean. Instruments of the first kind are held between the player’s legs. As their bodies are bigger and necks longer, their strings have more length and the sound is more pleasant than in the case of instruments of the second kind, which are propped against the player’s shoulder. Urban musicians differentiate between these two varieties calling violas da gamba Violen and violas da braccio Geigen, or Polische Geigen. Perhaps the second variety comes from Poland or most musicians who play it hail from Poland.”

In the chapter discussing violins (XXII) Praetorius does not say anything about the instrument’s supposed Polish origins. He simply concludes that the violin is so popular that there is no need to discuss its features in detail. Thus, it may be assumed that the instrument Praetorius had in mind when he mentioned Polnische Geigen was not the violin but the viol.

According to Szulc, Agricola’s treatise discusses a four-string instrument tuned in perfect fifths. In fact, Agricola describes tuning of “discantus” and “tenor/alt dreierlei Geigen” (GDA and CGD, respectively); only the bass variety is tuned FGDA. Agricola does not describe an instrument that could be considered a prototype of the violin – with a high register, four strings and tuned in perfect fifths – as Szulc claims. Szulc is correct in one thing: Agricola does record the existence of an instrument popular in what he understands to be the territory of Poland, which shares some features with the violin, that is has no frets and is tuned in perfect fifths. The figures included in the treatise are useless from iconographic perspective (cf. folio 39) as they are the exact copies of figures provided in previous editions of Musica instrumentalis deudsch in which this topic was not raised, and are similar to the iconography in Sebastian Virdung’s treatise9. In the second chapter of his 1545 treatise, Agricola lists three varieties of bowed string instruments: “Welsche” (usually understood to mean “Italian”), “Polnischen” and “kleinen dreyseitingen” Geigen10. At the beginning of the chapter he describes the manner of playing these instruments, including the bowing technique (recommending that the strings be rubbed close to the bridge) and notation. In Mea opinio he asserts that no instrument is closer to the human voice than the Geigen. He then goes on to discuss the bigger Welsche Geige (here: violas da gamba) tuned GHEA (treble), CEAD (tenor/alto), FADGH (bass), providing information on fingering techniques and the neck divisions, which may be useful for luthiers. The description the neck divisions and remarks on frets clearly prove that what Agricola refers to are instruments from the viol family. Folio 42 verso includes perhaps the most important passage of all concerning the Polnische Geigen (and kleinen handgeigelein):

“Let me now draw you attention to the second type of Geige known in Poland, whose strings are tuned in perfect fifths and the fingering technique is different than the one described above [Welsche Geige]. The strings are stopped with the use of fingernails that is why they are set wider apart. To me they sound rather clear and are subtler, more sophisticated and pleasant to the ear than the Welsche Geigen. Anybody can find out for himself what I mean by ‘subtler’ and weather a string does not sound lighter if it is stopped with a nail rather than a fingertip or something of the kind. Soft things muffle the sound, while hard ones make the sound sharper. It is also easier to produce a vibrato effect [Auch schaft man mit dem zittern frey] to make the melody sound sweeter than in the case of other instruments. But there is more. As the instrument has no frets, fingering and moving between strings is considered much more challenging. There is nothing in this world too difficult to be learnt with the right amount of persistence.”

Later on in his treatise, Agricola discusses tuning. He recommends that one should start with the treble variety and the A string (tightened to the maximum), and tune the rest in perfect fifths. Based on the treble, the tenor/alto and the bass variety should be tuned. Folio 46, 47 and 47 verso is an illustration of the neck. Transverse lines, which mark frets in the case of the Welsche Geige, here denote position. The treble variety is tuned GDA, the tenor/alto – CGD and the bass – FGDA. Agricola mentions that the bass may be tuned a fifth lower than the tenor (probably referring to a three-string instrument tuned FCG), but recommends his own method. He finishes the chapter with a few pointers on the size (divisions) of the neck that facilitates appropriate intervals. At the very end of the chapter, rather unexpectedly, we find a passage on ornaments in organ music, which is an obvious editorial mistake the fragment should be included in the treatise’s fourth chapter devoted to the construction of the organ.

Figure 1: Fingering and tuning diagrams for the Polnische Geigen: Martin Agricola, Musica instrumentalis deudsch, (Wittemberga 1545), folio 46, 47, 47 verso.

Although the treatise was incorrectly interpreted by Szulc, it is hard not to agree that Agricola’s account is of paramount importance for its descriptions of some elements of the violin and observations on the playing technique. In his partly historical, partly empirical study of the Polnische Geigen, Elias Dann argues that the fingering technique described by Agricola is the same technique later described by Leopold Mozart and applied by Leopold Auer: the left arm is placed under the violin while fingers are positioned along the strings. Dann claims that the string stopping technique described by Agricola involved stopping the strings with fingernails and fingertips, as a result of which part of the finger was placed between the strings11. Szulc’s argued that the violin had been developed in Poland based on fact that the word “skrzypice” had existed in the Polish language and was a derivate of the Italian “violino” as it was the case in Western European languages.

The historiography of lutherie in the Polish lands was further confused by Zdzisław Chaniecki, who translated archaic German and Latin names of instruments into Polish using the 20th-century typology of musical instruments12. His work was devoted to the development of institutionalised music culture in the Polish lands, that is the emergence of guilds and brotherhoods, and contained a great deal of important information which the scholar collected during his extensive archival research, also on luthiers. In the index, the author lists musicians based in different towns and associated with different organisations. Unfortunately, he provides some supposedly vital information in Polish translation without citing the source or quoting the original wording, which diminishes its academic value. One of the most key research hypotheses put forward by Chaniecki was the need to carefully study the use of the term skrzypce/skrzypice to mean not only bowed instruments of the lyre family but also instruments of the viol family. One important source of information on lutherie centres in the Polish lands is a paper by B. Vogel13 in which the author provides comprehensive data on the number of luthiers operating in different towns between the 15th and the 20th century. Another vital source is B. Vogel’s study on lutherie in Gdańsk14, which sheds new light on the “Gdańsk violin” and provides information – as scarce as it is in the historiography of European lutherie – on the circumstances of trading of these instruments, for example the Dominican fair.

The specificity of the Polish school of lutherie

When talking about a school, organologists mean a category of instruments which share similar features and were made in the same place. In the case of lutherie, the term is purely conventional and should be treated with even more caution than when it is used to describe sculpting schools or workshops, which may usually be distinguished by location, although their different styles intermixed to a degree as journeymen travelled from place to place for several years gaining experience necessary to become certified sculptors. As K. Kalinowski15 stresses, an aspirant sculptor was successful only if he was able to adapt to the style prevalent in a given workshop, which helped sustain a coherent style of different workshops and schools. During his journeyman years, young sculptor was supposed to learn to be flexible, use prescribed patterns and adhere to a style favoured by the clients, which helped propagate the style of a given school or workshop. Few sculptors were brave enough to stand by their personal style. The same went for the makers of bowed instruments, although the system of apprenticeship was not so standardised. Their activity depended on municipal laws, licenses to practice the profession, and social status in a given community. In Nuremberg, for example, guilds of brass instrument makers were replaced by associations of craftsmen, as a result of which all matters concerning apprenticeship, labelling and selling instruments were regulated by the municipal council. In order to protect the local market and its achievements, makers were obliged to live in the city until the rest of their lives, while journeymen could not leave Nuremberg at all16.

It is hard to ascertain whether Polish instrument makers were forced to obey such rigorous rules. It suffices to say that instruments of the Polish school share a few common features that make them distinguishable from instruments of other schools. They are: oval upper and lower bouts, the back and sides made of bird’s eye maple, small groove at C-bouts, f-holes with sharp endings, and a lion’s head instead of the scroll. Some of the instruments have a double purfling to strengthen the edges. Are these enough to talk about a school or are these only characteristic features of a workshop? There is no agreement between the experts. Based on an unpublished research carried out in 1998–200117, it is possible to assume that instruments now considered examples of the Polish (Kraków) school of lutherie were made between the late 17th century and mid-18th century. “Polish school of lutherie” is a relatively new term, used for the first time by Włodzimierz Kamiński and Józef Świrek in 196918 by analogy with the Italian, Venetian, Cremonese, English or German schools. Nationality adjectives are used here not to signify the makers’ origins but to denote a set of features that a class of instruments share so that it is easier for luthiers to describe an instrument by associating it with a specific cultural area in Europe.

Another term sometimes used in reference to professional lutherie in the Polish lands is “Kraków school of lutherie”. It should be, nevertheless, stressed that it does not signify the entirety of instrument production in the Polish lands. Instead it denotes the making of instruments by master luthiers in their workshops, not in manufactures, based on similar models and of similar materials. Anyone interested in the history of music, immediately thinks of Marcin Groblicz and Dankwart when asked about the Polish school of lutherie.

Dating instruments of the Polish school of lutherie

Researchers date instruments of the Polish school of lutherie to the period between 1580 and 1750. The dates were initially ascertained based on luthiers’ labels, then – supposedly – on the carving of their heads and the style of their bodies. Also useful were archival accounts, including a work by Poliński19 which records the existence of a Mr Dankwart (first name not given) and a mention of Marcin Groblicz, “magister artes liberales”, who supposedly taught aspirant luthiers the ropes of the trade in 170120. As for other members of the famous luthier dynasties, he assumed that relevant archival records would be discovered, thus proving the existence of four generations of the Groblicz family and three workshops operated by two generations of the Dankwarts. Indeed, such archival records have been uncovered and are dated to the end of the 17th and first half of the 18th century21.

The study of instruments of the Polish school of lutherie should be done with the use of all available methods applied in a complementary manner. First and foremost, the style of the model should be analysed (technique, detail, materials). Useful methods in this respect include dendrochronology, endoscopy, UV or infrared photography, as well as statistical modeling of recurrent measurements. An analysis of archival sources is equally important.

As regards the Polish school of lutherie, the following facts undermine the currently accepted chronology and the existence of the mythical, multigenerational Groblicz “dynasty”:

  1. Before 1602 Mateusz Dobrucki ran a workshop in Kraków producing plucked and bowed instruments (most probably violas da gamba). He employed a few associates and had some components made by third parties.
  2. The number of luthiers operating in Gdańsk radically increased between the 16th and the 17th century from two to thirty-six. 
  3. The oldest instrument of the Polish school of lutherie is a double bass viola da gamba dated to ca 1650 (now held by Musical Instrument Museum in Poznań).
  4. There are records placing a luthier by the name Dankwart in 1650 and 1670 at the royal court, while his instruments were valued by his contemporaries and future users (inventories). Dankwart’s first name is absent from any records apart from instrument labels.
  5. Groblicz is first mentioned in the municipal archives of the city of Poznań around 1701.    
  6. The label “Ad.M.D.G Marcin Groblicz W Krakowie 1719”22 correlates with the findings of a dendrochronological test of the instrument’s belly (1715) and wood used to make the violin, thus may be considered genuine.
  7. In 1715, 1716 and 1722 Groblicz is mentioned in Acta Exactionis “schoss” of the city of Kraków, which proves that he indeed stayed in the city in the 1720s.23.
  8. A diary of Marcin Groblicz, now held at the Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences in Vilnius, contains dated entries covering the period from 1706 to 173924.
  9. The oldest instrument belly was made a few years after 1750.

There are facts to suggest that Marcin Groblicz began working as a luthier before the end of the 17th century, thus instruments dated “Marcin Groblicz Anno Domini 1600” have false labels. His diary shows that Marcin Groblicz experimented in many fields, while his wide interests, ranging from gardening to gunpowder production, are a proof of his immense potential and love for travels. His formulas were mainly based on chemical knowledge and – in line with the spirit of the times – are associated with the search for the philosopher’s stone and a method of changing silver into gold. Excerpts of chemical treatises, medical potions, chinoiserie sketches, teorb rosettas and a furnace for melting iron – these are the different subjects Groblicz explored through extensive studies and experiments. His travels, business dealings, and the fact that he consulted treatises by leading modern chemists are clear signs of how active and hungry for knowledge he was. It seems that, apart from providing important insights on dating instruments, the diary suggests that Marcin Groblicz was a driving force, inventor, supervisor and coordinator of a workshop producing instruments that shared one style and were of the same quality25.

In conclusion, the dating of extant instruments of the Polish school of lutherie needs to be systematically reviewed. Undoubtedly, the collection of around 40 instruments held by public institutions and private owners need to undergo dendrochronological testing. Based on the available materials it may be concluded that Marcin Groblicz worked within one generation. He was professionally active since around 1700 and his instruments are dated to the first and second quarter of the 18th century. Questions concerning Dankwart need to be left open for the time being. Any assumptions following from the study of extant instruments and available archival materials require further verification. At this point, it may be ascertained that he was professionally active in the second half of the 17th century in the Kingdom of Poland.

Conclusions and perspectives for further research

In the past, instruments made by luthiers were studied for the purposes of encyclopaedic publications or biographical works, to trace back the genesis of the violin, and to classify instruments based on the place where they were made or their labels. To understand the role of the violin in culture, instruments were being linked with their famous owners. Like works of art, violins were treated as objects of beauty, thus dealing in them was ridden with the same unfair practices: their dating was tempered with to increase value, they were copied or multiplied (two instruments were made out of one with the addition of newer parts).

The emergence of a school of lutherie was incidental, and had more to do with a shared location than convergence of styles. The development of a violin making idiom was a spontaneous process, guided not by a design of any sort but such factors as a luthier’s skill, demand for instruments, availability of materials, channels of distribution, and markets. Lately, the study of the history of lutherie has become more interdisciplinary in order to root out unfair practices of dealers and eliminate incorrectly stated provenances.

Similarly as in other European countries, the historiography of lutherie in the Polish lands focused on provenance and the study of luthiers’ biographies. Interpretation of Old Polish materials was done according to limited – from the present perspective – knowledge of etymology and meaning of Old Polish words, and the mistakes that were made influenced subsequent research. Assuming that archival Polish documents and treatises by foreign authors discussed present-day violin when in fact they were referring to a different instrument, scholars concluded – incorrectly as we know today – that the violin was developed in Poland. Newer studies on the use of the term “wiola” [viola, viol] in Polish archival materials and iconography have shown that the lexeme did not exist in the Polish language before 1630 and the word skrzypice were used to denote all kinds of bowed string instruments in non-folk contexts. After World War II, the concept of a Polish school of lutherie was introduced as experts recognised the existence of a Polish violin making idiom, namely a set of unique properties that could be observed in instruments made in the Polis lands in different configurations. Its presence in artworks exploring the themes of vanitas26 and the Passion27 suggests that it played an important role in the lives of Polish communities, as death, funeral rites and Holy Week celebrations were of key importance for the Catholic part of the Polish society. The fact that terms such as “skrzyp(i)ce gdańskie” [Gdańsk fiddle, or Gdańsk violin] and “skrzypce dankwartowe” [Dankwart violin] were in use proves these artefacts were considered important in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Polish school of lutherie is a phenomenon similar to other European violin making schools. It may be traced back to the year 1600 but only on the basis of Dobrucki inventory (no instruments), while extant instruments are dated to the second half of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century. Dobrucki’s inventory is a proof that he ran a large workshop and, more importantly, applied the most advanced lutherie technology known at the end of the 16th century, that is moulds. If we assume that the different-sized skrzypice mentioned in the inventory are in fact violas da gamba, we may conclude that the artefacts were of high quality, produced with the use of technology that helped the maker achieve better productivity and meet standardised norms. It is also possible Marcin Groblicz continued the tradition and made his violas da gamba with the use of moulds too, yet this notion is purely speculative. Instruments which have survived to our times are a tangible proof that violin making traditions in the Polish lands were strong as was the professional and customary violin performance practice. Outside of Poland they are considered on a par with instruments made by Amati or Stradivari.

For the benefit of further research, an annotated version of Marcin Groblicz’s diary should be published, while the formulas for “pokost” [varnish] and ”tinctura czerwona” [red tincture] he invented and recorded should be tested. The life of Dankwart and his position at the court of the last Polish kings of the Vasa dynasty needs to be studied in more detail based on available archival materials in order to expand our knowledge of 17th-century lutherie in the Polish territories.

Bowed string instruments are a tangible testimony to a great part of human musical activity. Some may argue that primacy in this respect should be given to percussion instruments or vocal music. Still, bowed string instruments, especially considering their varieties and prevalence in most musical cultures, both in traditional and professional genres, deserve special attention. The popularity of bowed string instruments in Poland’s professional music and folk fiddles in traditional music in the Polish territories, which may be called “bowed monoculture” (especially if we consider that plucked instruments dominated in neighbouring regions28), provides grounds for in-depth organologist research. Looking at the practices of making professional and traditional instruments in the Polish lands since the Middle Ages, it seems clear they were inspiring each other. Developed in the 16th century, the Płock fiddle is a classic example of a folk instrument inspired by the medieval fiddle as manifested by its sound holes, imitation of the rosetta, and C-bouts. The constant fusion between the traditional and professional repertoire as well as traditional and professional lutherie is an interesting topic to study in itself.

Alicja Knast

1. W. Kamiński, Groblicz, in: Encyklopedia muzyczna PWM, vol. efg, ed. E. Dziębowska, (Kraków 1987), pp. 485–486.
2. G.M. Ongaro, The Tieffenbruckers and the Business of Lute-making in Sixteenth-century Venice, “Galpin Society Journal” 44, (1991), pp. 44–54.
3. Polska szkoła lutnicza. Instrumenty Grobliczów i Dankwartów, ed. P. Frankowski, vol. 1, (Poznań 2016), pp. 10–18.
4. Z. Szulc, Słownik lutników polskich, (Poznań 1953), pp. 28–32.
5. Ibidem, pp. 30-31.
6. Fabryka instrumentów [posthumous inventory of Mateusz Dobrucki’s possessions, 1602]. Archiwum Miasta Krakowa [Kraków City Archives], Teki Grabowskiego, E-120.
7. B. Szydłowska-Ceglowa, Staropolskie nazewnictwo instrumentów muzycznych, (Wrocław 1977), p. 6.
M. Fleming, Unpacking the’Chest of Viols’. “Chelys: The Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society” 28, (2000), pp. 3–19.
9. S. Virdung, Musica getutscht und ausgezogen, (Basil [?] 1511).
M. Agricola, Musica instrumentalis deudsch, (Wittenberg 1529), pp. 189–220 (originally fol. 35–51).
11. E. Dann, Martin Agricola and the early three-stringed fiddles, in: Music and civilization. Essays in honor of Paul Henry Lang, ed. E. Strainchamps, M. R. Maniates, (New York–London 1984), pp. 232–242.
12. Z. Chaniecki, Organizacje zawodowe muzyków na ziemiach polskich do końca XVIII wieku, (Kraków 1980).
13. B. Vogel, Major Historical Centres of Stringed Instrument Production in Central Europe, in: 5th International Violin Making Symposium: The Classical and Modern Art of Violin Making, 11-13 May 2006, Poznań (Poznań 2006) pp. 21–30.
14. B. Vogel, Violin making in Danzig in the past four centuries, post-conference materials in press, Bonn.
15. K. Kalinowski, Warsztat barokowego rzeźbiarza, in: Artium Questiones, ed. K. Kalinowski, A.S. Labuda, (Poznań 1995), p. 111.
16. Information based on town documents from 1629. See: A. Jegel, Alt-Nürnberger Handwerksrecht und seine Beziehungen zu anderen (Neustadt a.d. Aisch, 1965).
17. Research conducted as part of the project ”Polska szkoła lutnicza. Idiom, chronologia, miejsce w kulturze europejskiej” [Polish school of lutherie: Idiom, chronology, position in European culture] headed by Prof. Jan Stęszewski (1998–2001) by a team including P. Cieślak, E. Jansson, A. Knast, A. Michałowska, B. Niewczyk, T. Ważny; funded by Poland’s State Committee for Scientific Research.
18. W. Kamiński, J. Świrek, Lutnictwo. Wstęp do sztuki lutniczej, (Kraków 1972).
19. A. Poliński, Dzieje muzyki polskiej w zarysie, (Warszawa 1907).
20. Z Szulc, Słownik lutników polskich, (Poznań 1953), p. 60.
21. Polska szkoła lutnicza, op. cit.
22. The instrument is held by the Musical Instrument Museum in Poznań.
23. Acta Exactionis "Schoss” , Archiwum Miasta Krakowa, Ms. 2778, p. 22; 2779, p. 22; 2782, p.10.
24. [Marcin Groblicz] Ticianus, pierwszy y naysławnieyszy Malarsz Rzimski, po nim Carolus Morati, Rubens, Widoryni, Michael Andzielo, etc., Mokslu Akademijos Bibliotekos, Rankrasciu Skyrius, Vilnius, Ms. MAB-130/IV.
25. The author is would like to thank Herbert Heyde for his remarks on the status of Marcin Groblicz’s workshop.
Franciszek Lekszycki, Taniec śmierci, painting of ca. 1675, Benedictine church in Kraków.
27. Kacper Kurcz, Pan Jezus bogaty w Miłosierdzie, painting of 1605, Church of the Holy Saviour in Kraków. Recorded in the archives of the Jesuit College in Kraków are payments for the services of  “a violinist who plays at the Lord’s tomb”, Biblioteka Jagiellońska, Ms. 2648, p. 78.
28. E. Dahlig, Ludowe instrumenty skrzypcowe w Polsce, (Warszawa 2001), p. 7.