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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: What gender is your fiddle, or does it have one?

August 1, 2009 at 3:08 AM

For many of us, the violin is a kind of lifetime companion, and it takes on almost human dimensions in our lives.

Some people feel almost wedded to their instrument, like it is a kind of spouse, and think of it as having the gender a spouse for them would. Others think about the fact that the instrument can hit such high notes and thus see it as "female." On the other hand, a fiddle with a dark tone, or a viola, might be thought of as "male."

As for me, I'm fairly gender-neutral with my fiddles, but I'd probably think of each one that I own differently. The German, a family heirloom, I think of as male, carrying the family name ("Geiger") that my orphan grandmother didn't get to keep. The young American that's so cheery and yellow, though dark and mellow, it's actually female. The Italian is the balanced one, it's both.

Do you ever think of your violin in terms of gender? Please vote below, and share your thoughts!


Posted on August 1, 2009 at 3:44 AM

"Fifi", a svelt, gorgeous 62 year-old sexy Parisian vixen aka R & M Millant #422, (facebat anno 1947)

From bill platt
Posted on August 1, 2009 at 4:01 AM

Not this again :-)

From Anne Horvath
Posted on August 1, 2009 at 4:05 AM

Guido is a "he". 

From Catie Rinderknecht
Posted on August 1, 2009 at 5:26 AM

I named my violin "Adrienne," mostly because I liked the name.  I didn't consider whether the feminine name fit it's sound or not, only whether the name felt "right."   

From Barry Nelson
Posted on August 1, 2009 at 7:22 AM

Mines "Jenny Lynn" Shes a touch of class with a fiddle additude ;)


Funny thing, Ive owned over 100 guitars easy in the 35 years ive played them...never gave one of them a name


We give objects names sometimes, I bought an old pick up from a friend once, he called it goldie for as long as he had it...ugly old truck...spray can paint,. When I bought it I kept the name,pretty soon my neighbors were calling it goldie.


I see nothing wrong myself in namin g something you feel close too...and that my friends, is my 2 cents :)

From Steven Albert
Posted on August 1, 2009 at 8:45 AM

The first time I picked up my violin and we bonded, the name Viktor popped into my head.  Not sure why or how, but he rather looks like a Viktor.  And so its been ever since. 

My French Bazin bow, on the other hand, long, supple, with that core of strength, is named Giselle.

Interesting that the results are almost perfectly spread between all three choices.

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on August 1, 2009 at 9:37 AM

I tend to be pretty gender-neutral too, and I've never named any of my instruments.  But when I got a viola, for reasons of voice/pitch and size, my violin started to seem more female while my viola seemed male. I've started thinking of them that way--and that led Buri to tell me to not leave them alone together in the double case! ;-)

From Steven Albert
Posted on August 1, 2009 at 4:49 PM

I hear that violin breeding can be very lucrative.  You may end up with a litter of 1/4 sized one's for the next generation of kids.

Posted on August 1, 2009 at 10:55 PM

Violino, in Italian, is a masculine noum, so I call my preferred violin "Cellini".

From Thomas Gardner
Posted on August 2, 2009 at 1:22 AM

My violin has very prominent, nipple like protrusions on the pegs.  The instrument came into my life when I was a teenage boy so because of the anatomy I sort of thought of her as a girl.  Of course, with four pegs I guess she is either some sort of cat or perhaps some sort of carnival attraction.  Definately female though.

From Yixi Zhang
Posted on August 2, 2009 at 6:08 AM

Mine are always gender neutral. If they aren’t able to sound really like a man or a woman when I want them to, the problem is on my part.

From Robert Krosch
Posted on August 2, 2009 at 6:44 PM

 I play guitar also, and am fairly new to the violin.  It was a full 8 years of playing the guitar before she revealed her name to me.  (Her name is Lilly.)  I am sure this VSO I play also has a name, but until we have properly established respect and mutual trust, I can only wonder what her name is.  She will tell me when she's ready.

From Royce Faina
Posted on August 2, 2009 at 7:43 PM

Mine is , Fiddel

From Anthony Barletta
Posted on August 2, 2009 at 8:56 PM

Given the shape and curves of the violin, how can it be anything but female?

From Royce Faina
Posted on August 2, 2009 at 11:09 PM

Ru Paul????

From Anthony Barletta
Posted on August 2, 2009 at 11:54 PM


From Gabriel Kastelle
Posted on August 3, 2009 at 2:09 AM

Violins are "Archie"-- suave city slicker from the maker Archibald-- and "Elmer", yes, from the maker (not, thankfully, from the glue he used...), Oregonian idiosyncratic fellow complete with cedar top.

My viola is a woman.  Possibly Vanya--  she doesn't speak to me much, but I think I heard one of her friends call her that...  Is that ever possibly a Hungarian name?  Viola is Hungarian.  :-)

Just got a new (old) violin still in process of being being restored and becoming playable--  this one could go either way--  I mean, it's one or the other, I just don't know him/her that well yet...  Could well be a country girl.... I'm excited to learn more....

Posted on August 3, 2009 at 2:34 AM

One of the limitations of the English language is that the articles "the" and "a" or "an" don't give you any clue about the gender of the name following the article, whereas in languages as Spanish or Italian, for example, the article indicates the gender of the name that follows it. In Spanish, the words "the violin" are translated as "el violín". "el" is the definite article that is used to refer to "male things", consequently, the violin is a MALE object, of course. I never thought of my violins as being girls, ladies or female things.

About "the viola" ... well, In Spanish we say "la viola", where "la" is the definite article associated with female objects; it then follows that violas are FEMALES ... no question about it ... and if you put a violin and a viola together in the same case we will eventually have some little violins and some other little violas, the violin having been the "father" and the viola the "mother" ... the violin with his rather slim looks and the viola with bigger hips and breasts, just like a big mom ! ja-ja !

By the way, In Italian, "Il violino" is "the violin" in English, and "la viola" is "the viola" in English.

"Violin" is also male and "viola" is also female in the Italian language, and likewise withy all other romantic languages

From Luis Dias
Posted on August 3, 2009 at 5:00 AM

My first violin is English, violin maker Emanuel Whitmarsh. I've always called "her" Rebecca. It seems like a nice English name, and is a pun on the vernacular word here ("rebec") for violin.

My second one is also English, violin maker George Withers. But oddly enough, I've not thought in terms of gender....yet. It's a new acquisition.



From Jenny Fischer
Posted on August 3, 2009 at 2:28 PM

Jacques is a French violin and a male. Whenever anyone asks me about the little red mark on my neck I tell them, "Oh, Jacques and I were having a bit of fun in the practice room." If it's gonna leave a hickey, I'd hope it's a male.

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on August 3, 2009 at 3:55 PM

 In German, both the violin (die Geige) and the viola (die Bratsche) are feminine.  

But since I learned that girl, das Maedchen, is neuter, I stopped thinking that linguistic gender had much to do with actual gender.

From Christine Kharazian
Posted on August 3, 2009 at 8:34 PM

My violin doesn't have a name or gender. I think of it as a part of myself. I was so young when I started to play violin, that it is competely natural.

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on August 4, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Of course, I'm a girl and I'm in love with my violin. Considering that a violin is like a life partner, that you share everything including every possible emotion with it and yes... that I kiss it good night each evening after practicing (ok ok you can laugh of me : )  I couldn't even think of it as anything else than a male.  Of course, if one day it goes between the hands of a male player, I guess it will have to change sexes (ouch...) But who cares, it will remain the same violin!


From Royce Faina
Posted on August 4, 2009 at 5:20 PM

And it's never to late to get your violin or viola neutured!

This Public Service Anouncement was brought to you by The Peoples Assosiation For Violin Control! }:^D

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