What's the difference Between Violin and Fiddle?

November 16, 2007 at 02:49 AM · I'm just wondering whats the difference between Violin and Fiddle?

Replies (31)

November 16, 2007 at 04:30 AM · they are the same. however there are sometimes setup differences to allow for different types of playing in fiddling.

November 16, 2007 at 04:34 AM · Let me put it to you this way: The well-educated young Thomas Jefferson played the violin. The older Thomas Jefferson, a president for the people, wearing a coon skin coat, played the fiddle.

The difference is style. The fiddle is folk music playing and carries a folk beat you can often dance to. The violin is otherwise.

November 16, 2007 at 04:44 AM · Playing style and usage differences aside, the terms are used interchangeably in the high-end violin world, maybe not in front of potential buyers.

Referring to a Strad,

"That's a nice fiddle."

November 16, 2007 at 05:01 AM · Dancing to fiddle music is a global kind of thing, and predates America by at least a couple hundred years. Classical composers 'very often' reached back down to folk traditions to create classical music, so in many ways, fiddle is foundation on which classical is built. (Bartok)

So in a modern interpretation of the word fiddle, one might correctly associate it with foot-stompin dance music though it is actually quite expressive and much more than driving rhythms in complexity and richness around the world.

And though in bluegrass and folk music, beyond setups and bowing styles, there is often a lot more rosin used as another difference. This generous use of rosin also, is not necessarily a global trait of folk type music.

On the American frontier, American fiddle style developed because it was often the only instrument available to dance to. But around the world, especially in gypsy type music the thought of fiddling is an especially colorful, rich and complex style.

November 16, 2007 at 05:21 AM · It' a violin when you have money.....

and a fiddle when you are broke !!!!

David B

November 16, 2007 at 05:54 AM · The difference is mostly in style, as everyone's been saying. But, as I learned when I had my violin worked on by a fiddle shop, some setup adjustments can be made...for example, the arch of the bridge may not be as rounded towards the G & D strings, to allow for easier double stops.

November 16, 2007 at 06:08 AM · "...used interchangeably...maybe not in front..."

My instincts are so good it's scary. Why waste time in school? Could be 'cause I'm 100 years old though.

November 16, 2007 at 06:16 AM · Just play the fiddle or violin !

Just Play--play the very best you can;there is no distinct difference between the two terms---they merely serve as labels which,in the final analysis are indistinguishable.

Arguing over terminology is a meaningless endeavour-----always.

November 16, 2007 at 06:45 AM · I have observed that many fiddlers, including some of the most famous, and including some of the least famous (like me), are often slightly out of tune and that gives the music that elusive twang.

November 16, 2007 at 04:25 PM · Nobody cares if you spill beer on a fiddle & a fiddle is fun to listen to.

November 16, 2007 at 04:50 PM · FWIW, this question prompted me to think about the expression "Nero fiddled while Rome burned."

So I "looked it up" and found the following gem of a study of the "Nero" phrase and the history of the word "fiddle." Bottom line, if Nero was playing a stringed instrument it was probably a cithara, which is something like a lyre.


November 17, 2007 at 01:29 PM · It's obvious from the above posts that there is no difference between "fiddle" and "violin." The crowning similarity is (and you will be totally amazed by this unquestioned statement of empirical fact and scientifically validated proof) that both "fiddle" and "violin" have exactly 6 letters. Not only that, but there is an "l" and at least one "i" in each word. On top of that, "v" and "f" not only sound almost the same, but they begin each word. (So there!!! Who says we can't agree on anything?)

:) Sandy

November 17, 2007 at 03:13 PM · I'm reliably informed that fiddlers will frequently have their instruments set up with a flatter arc to the bridge to facilitate playing on multiple strings.

November 17, 2007 at 03:41 PM · Many of these posts bring back to mind what I have been told and seems the most consistent. "Fiddle" from Cecz or German Bohemian, possibly Romany,for the instrument. Associated with Bohemian and Romany(Gyptsy) peoples would exsplain the word 'fiddle' used when playing folk music. This sounds plausible however I have no book, or web sights, etc., to refer too.

I and my family are in Texas and Eastern Tennessee (The Millers settled in Tenn., in 1720 Bohemians) and fiddlers that play at the Texas Old Fiddlers Festival do have a low arch on the bridge, apearently easier to play double stops/chords, is what they said.

November 17, 2007 at 04:41 PM · Approximately $999,900.

November 18, 2007 at 05:53 AM · Violinists (people who play classical music on their instrument) often use the word "fiddle" affectionately in reference to their instrument.

November 21, 2007 at 11:26 AM · What's the difference Between Violin and Fiddle?

....about 50 bucks a week.


November 21, 2007 at 04:03 PM · A violin is carried in a case... a fiddle, in a sack ;)

November 21, 2007 at 09:41 PM · I've heard that a violin is a fiddle that went to college.


November 22, 2007 at 01:44 AM · A fiddle that went to college. I Love It!!! :-{)

November 22, 2007 at 07:15 AM · thanks for all who responds...

November 22, 2007 at 07:23 AM · I dig that violin is a fiddle, but violin is what I paid 119.00 for my first kit, and what I shall call it.

November 22, 2007 at 02:18 PM · Sander Marcus' tongue-in-cheek quip a few posts back about the similarities between the words "fiddle" and "violin" actually has some merit to it.

Both words are etymologically related.

November 22, 2007 at 07:35 PM · I thought that there was a difference but its just the same,the Fiddle and the Violin just a nick name for the other.

November 26, 2007 at 11:02 AM · in the dim dark ages when the Spanish and the Portugese were dominating the world there developed an argument about language specificly what would be the spoken first language of the world. Being practicing Catholics they went to the Pope and his Bull was that Spanish would be spoken in some areas and Portugese in others but that science medicine archetecture and music would share a common tounge Latin. So in QE1 's time the instrument played beneath her window was called by the English word fydel but this was to change with the Italianisation of music at that time and also the effect of the Popes little tete de tete with the Spanish and Portugese.

November 26, 2007 at 03:43 PM · OR: A fiddle is what the student shows up with and the violin is what the instructor shows up with.

November 28, 2007 at 03:35 AM · A violin might be accompanied by a guitar.

A fiddle might be accompanied by a git-tar.

November 28, 2007 at 12:30 PM · With a violin you play on the strings.

With a fiddle you play on the strangs.

November 28, 2007 at 03:44 PM · The bridge for a classical violin is a lot more curved than that of a violin. Usually for a fiddle you use steel strings rather than synthetic or gut strings. If you want to try something really interesting, go to a tiny town in Mexico and ask for the local fiddler... compare instruments... very different. The fingerboard is like Uber curved and the strings are just kinda tied on and the bridge is completely different looking. That's why mariachi fiddles have such a distinct sound to them. They're very different instruments. I did this and I tried playing the Bruch concerto on one for the heck of it... sounded completely unnatural for the instrument. Very different instrument.

December 1, 2007 at 04:49 PM · >I'm just wondering whats the difference between Violin and Fiddle?

The pay scale.


December 1, 2007 at 06:25 PM · I play both classical and bluegrass/country - although it is true that some fiddlers like a flatter bridge I use the same instrument for both set up the same way. I have decided the difference between the two is really just the style of music being played. True too that we often refer to our violins as fiddles in the classical world - I've often heard famous big name classical artists use the word

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