Difference Between Fiddle and Violin (With Table)

Many of you know how to play some sort of musical instrument. Some of you may prefer to play a guitar or drums or piano. Another musical instrument that has a fair share of fans across the globe is the violin.

You will be surprised to know that there is another musical instrument that resembles the violin and is called the fiddle. However, there are several points of differences between the two.

If you ask a violin player about the points of difference with respect to fiddle and a violin, you may be told that a violin is a fiddle. However, it is not possible for a fiddle to be called a violin.

Fiddle vs Violin

The difference between the Fiddle and Violin is that the shape and height of the bridge are different. This is a specific part of a fiddle or a violin that assists in the proper positioning of the strings and also helps to determine the action or tolerance of the strings. A violin’s bridge will always be flatter with respect to the fingerboard. However, the contour of the bridge on a fiddle matches the contour of the fingerboard.


 

Comparison Table Between Fiddle and Violin (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonFiddleViolin
DefinitionIt is a bowed string musical instrument that looks more or less like a violin.It is a wooden string instrument used to play music of different types.
StringsGenerally steel core or synthetic.Synthetic strings preferred over the normal steel core.
Playing StyleFolk, jazz, electric fiddle, bluegrass, and country music.Classical, country, jazz, folk.
PurposeIt helps musicians to express their musical interpretations and improvisations that may not be in the written form all the time.It also helps musicians express their musical interpretations and also adhere to a composer’s interpretation. It helps to express treble reading and clearer notes.
BridgeIt is less of an arc and more on the flatter side to allow double and triple stop bowing.The bridge is more arched that allows cleaner single noting.

 

What is Fiddle?

When you talk about a fiddle, it refers to a musical instrument that quite resembles a violin. It will not be wrong to say that a fiddle is an informal term used for a violin. It is important for you to note that although fiddles and violins are often used as synonyms, their style of playing music is quite different from each other.

It is also true that the music style played on them also speaks a lot about the differences in the way these 2 musical instruments are made. The common term “fiddling” is the term used for the act of playing fiddle and fiddlers are most commonly the musicians who play this musical instrument.

Playing the fiddle tends to produce various rhythms that generally focus on dancing along with some associated fast note changes. Comparatively, classical music contains more sustained notes and vibrato. According to experts, the derivation of the term fiddle is still not very certain.

However, it is said that it may have originated from fidula, which is one of the old Latin words for the violin. During medieval times, the word fiddle was also used for a kind of musical instrument that resembled the modern-day violin. Just like a violin, fiddles also used to have four strings. However, they were available in several sizes and shapes.

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What is Violin?

When you talk about a violin, it refers to a wooden string musical instrument. Interestingly, violins are also referred to as fiddles.

Violins are also the highest-pitched and smallest in the violin family. Most of the violins come with a hollow body made of wood. Although several smaller sized musical instruments somewhat like a violin, such as kit violin and violin piccolo, these are still unused.

Amongst the different types of musical instruments, the violin happens to be a rather important member.

It is used in a wide array of musical genres and is highly prominent in the Western classical tradition.

You will find people playing the violin in orchestras and also in solo performances in various types of folk music such as bluegrass, country music, and jazz. During the 16th century, the violin came to be known for the first time in Italy.

However, it went through several modifications in the 18th and 19th in order to allow violins to produce more powerful projection and sound. It also served as the basis in the development of different types of stringed instruments in Europe that were used in several Western classical music, including the viola.

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Main Differences Between Fiddle and Violin

  1. A fiddle is a bowed string musical instrument, which is most of the time looks like a violin. Fiddle happens to be the colloquial term used for the violin. On the other hand, a violin is sometimes referred to as a fiddle and it is a string musical instrument made of wood.
  2. Musicians who play the violin normally prefer the synthetic core or gut strings, whereas, musicians who play the fiddle generally prefer to use steel core strings. This is because fiddlers like the crisp and sharp sound that is produced by the steel core strings.
  3. The bridge of a fiddle is flatter as opposed to the traditional bent or arched bridge that is common in any violin. Fiddlers prefer the flatter bridge since it helps to decrease the angle between the strings and it also lets the musicians play two or even more notes at the same time.

 

Conclusion

Although to a layman a fiddle and a violin will appear to be the same, there are certain minute differences between the two.

Apart from the type of strings used in the two musical instruments, there is also a minor difference in their construction concerning the arch of the bridge.

Both the fiddle and the violin has changeable pieces that are known as the set-up. It is seen that fiddlers normally prefer a different set-up as most of the violists. Thus, it can be said that fiddlers do not like to play violins and vice-versa.


 

References

  1. https://vbn.aau.dk/ws/files/52846595/NIME2011OvertoneFiddlePhotoReady.pdf
  2. https://elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=7301104

Last update on 2021-04-11 / Amazon Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API