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What do you say???
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Kiara
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January 13, 2015 - 6:30 pm
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I don't know about everyone else but a common question that I get when I say I play violin is "What's the difference between a violin and a fiddle???"

I have my own answers for this but I'm curious as to what you would answer? Would your answer differ depending on whether you are talking to a non-musical person or a musical person?

Looking forward to reading your answers! :)

Cheers,

Kiara

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DanielB
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January 13, 2015 - 7:56 pm
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My answer would be that in the everyday practical sense, there usually is no difference.  The correct term is whichever the owner of the instrument prefers.

 

But technically.. Fiddle is an older word, around a thousand years old.  The first mentions of violins by name was around 500 yrs ago, about the same time that the instrument took the form that was at least close to what we think of as a violin today.  So fiddle is an older term that has been applied more generally to a family of related bowed string instruments while violin applies to a specific instrument. 

So while all violins can be called fiddles, not all fiddles could be called violins.  Vielles and rebecs, for example, are called fiddles, but not called violins.

That's how I think of it anyway.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Feathers
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January 13, 2015 - 8:07 pm
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That question comes up a lot for me too.

For both musicians and non players - My serious answer is that the only difference is in the way, or style it's played. Which most people understand.

Also depending on who's asking, I sometimes include that fiddle players will often use a different tuning for some types of songs.

My other answer is, two whiskeys. cool

"Music is what feelings sound like." ~ Author Unknown

 

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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January 13, 2015 - 8:15 pm
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My thoughts on it would be just the type of music played and the person playing it.

The first video I would call fiddle playing.

The second I would say violin. 

Violin.

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Ferret
Byron Bay Australia
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January 15, 2015 - 8:19 pm
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Would agree there mate. @Fiddlestix 

When people ask me I say that if you play it with your shoes on, its a violin. If you play with your shoes off, it's a fiddle :)

But, while he is a very good violinist, I feel the Andre Rieu is rather over rated.

It would have been good to hear him play Irish Washerwoman on his own so as to get a comparison 

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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Tyberius
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January 15, 2015 - 9:32 pm
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@Ferret Shoes on shoes off nice.

Here is wisdom of a 9 year old on that question (my Daughter when she was nine). Since then, I made it my own deciding factor, just before I started to play. 

She said "I don't want to play a violin. They all look angry or are in pain. Look at all their faces. I want to be happy and dance and play a fiddle like Mr. Price".

Truman Price is a million year old fiddler here in Oregon. He lives about 20 minutes away on his family's homestead. He is ALWAYS playing on that porch, with his mountain fiddle group touring, at civil war re-enactments, jamborees or Intl Square Dance Festivals. He has a unique hold and his playing is quite remarkable. You wont see that hold playing a violin in an orchestra. That is, unless the orchestra is another fiddle, a banjo, a washboard and a meadowlark wisping on the mountain air.

Look up Truman Price on you tube. The man is remarkable. This is a fiddler. I just gave a brief example. When he plays, he can't sit still. He always ends up dancing ..no Jigg'ing, even when he sits. You can feel the happiness he sees just from watching him play.

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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1stimestar
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January 16, 2015 - 3:46 am
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Violins have strings.  Fiddles have strangs! 

 

I think there is sometimes a difference in the bridge. 

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

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fiddle chick
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January 16, 2015 - 1:25 pm
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When someone asks me what the difference is between a violin and a fiddle, I ask them what the difference is between a sofa and a couch. 

Let the bow flow.

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Schaick
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January 16, 2015 - 4:33 pm
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fiddle chick said
When someone asks me what the difference is between a violin and a fiddle, I ask them what the difference is between a sofa and a couch. 

Don't forget the davenport!!  Anybody ever use that term for a sofa or couch?

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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fiddle chick
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January 16, 2015 - 6:34 pm
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LOL! I said that once and the person didn't know what I was talking about. 

Let the bow flow.

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Oliver
NC
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January 17, 2015 - 12:13 pm
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"Davenport" can show up on Antique Roadshow but Price is even more rare.  

(Maybe I have to build a back porch and order some more "talent" from Shar ?)

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Crazymotive
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January 23, 2015 - 3:43 pm
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Same thing IMHO. Sometimes the word "fiddle" seems more applicable to country and folk music where as "violin" seems to pertain more to classical music. But to me either term is fine. For ex I play mostly classical music but I still call it by both names "fiddle" & "violin".

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BaldBeardedViolinist
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February 13, 2015 - 1:40 pm
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I loved reading through the replies. I was going to ask the same question. For some reason, I had it in my mind that a fiddle was smaller than a violin. Not sure why I thought that, but I'm glad to lay that rumor to rest now.
When I hear the two names, I picture a violin as being more formal, conservative and classical, and a fiddle as more fun. ;-)

"The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be."

~Marcel Pagnol

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Uzi
Georgia
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February 13, 2015 - 3:14 pm
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BaldBeardedViolinist said
I loved reading through the replies. I was going to ask the same question. For some reason, I had it in my mind that a fiddle was smaller than a violin. Not sure why I thought that, but I'm glad to lay that rumor to rest now.
When I hear the two names, I picture a violin as being more formal, conservative and classical, and a fiddle as more fun. ;-)

@BaldBeardedViolinist, since you now live in Texas, I'll let you in on the secret.  @1stimestar  had the correct answer. A violin has strings, a fiddle has strangs. Welcome to the forum.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
February 13, 2015 - 8:39 pm
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BaldBeardedViolinist said
I loved reading through the replies. I was going to ask the same question. For some reason, I had it in my mind that a fiddle was smaller than a violin. Not sure why I thought that, but I'm glad to lay that rumor to rest now.
When I hear the two names, I picture a violin as being more formal, conservative and classical, and a fiddle as more fun. ;-)

I like your explanation, BBV. Now that you mention it, I, too, think of a fiddle as more fun. How's this for a comparison?

This is an example of fiddle music:

This is an example of violin music:

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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Schaick
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February 14, 2015 - 8:28 am
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@KindaScratchy - that is exactly what I was thinking!   I do believe my Berty enjoys being played as a fiddle over being played as a violin!!

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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DanielB
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February 14, 2015 - 10:59 am
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Hmm..

Violins play "repertoire" or "pieces"

Fiddles play "songs" or "tunes"

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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BaldBeardedViolinist
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February 14, 2015 - 6:51 pm
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Uzi said
@BaldBeardedViolinist, since you now live in Texas, I'll let you in on the secret.  @1stimestar  had the correct answer. A violin has strings, a fiddle has strangs. Welcome to the forum.

thumbs-up

"The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be."

~Marcel Pagnol

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