Fiddle vs. Violin: What’s the Difference?

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Fiddle vs Violin

Is There a Difference?

The fiddle and the violin are both 4- or 5-stringed bowed musical instruments. They are essentially the same, but they may also have subtle differences with the instrument itself. These differences can also be observed with how the player plays it.

The instrument

Both the fiddle and violin are produce by a variety of brands today. There was a time when the violin was more expensive than a fiddle because most fiddles were homemade. Today, the price range of these instruments are the same.

Both instruments have a treble clef and a range of G3 to A7.

The biggest difference that you will find between a fiddle and a violin is the bridge. The fiddle has a flatter bridge. This enables players to double or triple stop bowing more easily. On the other hand, violins have a more arched bridge that is quite useful in singling out notes.

The strings can also be the same for fiddles and violins, but most fiddlers prefer a brighter sound. This can be achieved by using steel strings. On the other hand, violinists prefer a more full-bodied sound, which is why synthetic strings are preferred.

Playing styles and techniques

Another difference between the fiddle and the violin is the style or technique that is played. The violin is mostly used for classical music while the fiddle is usually for folk music. The style and technique used while playing the instrument is the main criteria that differentiates the violin and the fiddle.

Violin Fiddle and Culture

The way that the violin or fiddle is held while being played may also be different. Usually the musical instrument is held by the shoulder and the chin. This traditional way is still how the violin is being held. On the other hand, the fiddle may be held down on the arm to make it possible for fiddlers to talk and encourage people to dance.

There is also a difference in the accompaniment that the musical instruments come with.

The violin is usually used in an orchestra with other violins, cellos, bases, symphonic horns, violas and others musical instruments in the orchestra. The fiddle, on the other hand, is best accompanied by guitars, banjos, drums, and electronic keyboards.

The fiddle and the violin today

Today, there are hybrid strings available and these strings allow both the fiddler and violinist enjoy the music they make. They produce a clear and rich sound that can be used for different genres of music.

Most also use newer fine tuners instead wooden pegs to keep their instruments in tune.

Which is more difficult to play?

So far, we’ve learned that the violin and fiddle are essentially the same musical instrument and classifying them as a fiddle or a violin will depend on how you play it. Between the two, you may wonder which is more difficult to play.

Violin Playing Styles
Although some may claim that one is more difficult to play than the other, that may not be necessarily true. Due to the differences in the style of play, there are some skills that a violinist needs to improve on but is not useful for fiddlers.

Similarly, fiddlers need skills that may not be needed by violinist.

In order to master playing fiddle or violin music, players need time and perseverance to excel. There may also be some players who would prefer to play the instrument both ways to incorporate it in various music genres.

Learning to play the violin or fiddle

Whether you decide to call it a violin or a fiddle, learning how to play it can be as challenging as other instruments. There are some skills that you have to develop with practice and time. As you progress, you can develop your style and then select which one you prefer over the other.

violin students playing

 

It is also possible for you to play both violin or fiddle music but you have to know that there are different skills that you have to focus on. It is possible, but it takes a lot of work to do that.

Conclusion

The fiddle and the violin are essentially the same musical instruments; they only have subtle differences when it comes to the bridge and the strings, but they are mostly the same.

The main difference lies on how they are played.

Violins are mostly played with an orchestra and with classical music. On the other hand, the fiddle is mostly played with folk music. Whether you decide to play the musical instrument as a fiddle or as a violin, dedication in learning how to play it is needed.

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