"What is the secret of the violin? Why is it that when a great violinist appears all the other soloists have to take a back seat?
The answer is: the fascination of the violin is the fascination of the soul unveiled.
No instrument - the human voice hardly excepted - provides such a rare vehicle for the emotions - is in such close touch with the molecular vibrations of thought and with the psychic waves of feeling. But whilst the violin equals the voice in sensibility and expression, it far transcends it in compass, variety, and durability.
Consider the singular completeness and perfection of this instrument as a sort of physical and vibratory counterpart of the soul. The four strings no doubt limit and define its compass, and only in the quartet and collectively, is it capable of extended effects of complex harmony; but as a tone-producing instrument and within its limits it is perfect - every gradation of sound between tone and semitone is attainable, and for no other instrument can this be claimed."
HAWEIS, H. R. Old violins and violin lore. London: W. Reeves.