Is that a fiddle… or a violin? It’s a common question, and one that baffles many beginner musicians.
So what’s the answer?
When it comes to the actual instrument, there actually aren’t any differences. What distinguishes a violin from a fiddle is what kind of music you’re playing with it. A musician playing folk, bluegrass or country, for example, would most likely refer to their instrument as a fiddle; those who play other genres (jazz, classical, etc.) typically call theirs a violin.
Some fiddle players flatten the bridge on the instrument, allowing two strings to be played simultaneously (this is called a double stop) with greater ease. Fiddlers may also have accompaniment from other instruments such as the mandolin, guitar and banjo, all common instruments in the folk music genre. Style-wise, violin players typically add in more vibrato as they’re playing, contributing to a more classical sound.
So there you have it – the difference between the violin and fiddle is simply in the approach! Whether you want to take a seat in the Philharmonic or get down with some country twang, both styles are right at your fingertips.
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Photo by rfduck