12 Difference Between Fiddle And Violin (With Pictures)

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A violin is a wooden string instrument that typically has four strings tuned in perfect fifth and most commonly played by drawing a bowl across its strings, though it can also be played by plucking the strings with the wooden side of the bow. Violins are important instruments in a wide variety of musical genres. They are most prominent in the western classical tradition, both from chamber music to orchestras and as a solo instrument in many variety of folk music, including country music, bluegrass music and in jazz.

A fiddle is a bowed string musical instrument used by players in all genres. Although violins and fiddles are basically synonymous, the style of the music played may determine specific construction differences between fiddles and violins.

Facts About Fiddle

  • The term fiddle is a colloquial term used by players in all genres, including classical music and jazz.
  • The fiddle is usually accompanied by a wider range of instruments, including mandolin, guitar, drums, mountain dulcimer, banjo and electronic keyboard.
  • The fiddle uses steel center strings.
  • Fiddlers will always bring their own interpretation to every piece, sometimes varying so far from the original melody, as to make it almost unrecognizable.  Though this should never be interpreted to indicate either style of play derives any less intensity or greatness from the talent of the performers.
  • A fiddle being a bowed string instrument requires regular practice so as to maintain the tone quality high. Tone quality usually degrades quickly with lack of regular practice.
  • Both a fiddle and a violin are similar in physical appearance; however, a fiddle has 5 strings.
  • Fiddle is commonly for genre such as Canjun music, Irish tad, country and many different types of music.
  • Fiddle are considered to be more fun when compared to violin because it puts more focus on technique and notes; and  thus it is perceived by many people as an informal instrument.
  • Set-ups are changeable parts of an instrument and they may include the string, chin rests, pick-ups, the bridge, shoulder rest or tuners. The fiddlers usually prefer to use different set-ups compared to the violinists.
  • A violinist may hold the violin much different than a fiddler. A fiddler holds the fiddle lower than their shoulders in order to talk, sing or even yell out dance moves.
  • The bridge is a small wooden cut piece that forms the lower anchor point of the vibrating length of the strings and transmits the vibration of the strings to the body of the instrument. The bridge is straighter in the fiddle whereas it appears curved in violin.
  • The straighter bridge in fiddle allows it much easier access to play more than one note at a time.
Fiddle

Facts About Violin

  • The term violin is used most commonly is when playing traditional folk music.
  • The violin almost always appears in orchestral, symphonic or chamber settings with other violins, violas, cellos and double basses or symphonic horns.
  • The violin uses engineered polymer strings.
  • Violinist reproduces the composer’s music with exact accuracy, down to the loudness of individual notes. Usually in many cases, a well-played violin will never deviate in the slightest degree from the composer’s notation of the music.
  • Violin being a winged instrument has a higher need for professional training due to the exacting nature of excellence performance.
  • Both a fiddle and a violin are similar in physical appearance; however, violin has four strings tuned in perfect fifths.
  • Violins are used for Baroque music, classical, jazz, folk music and rock and roll.
  • Violin is perceived by many people as a formal instrument because it does not put more focus on technique.
  • Set-ups are changeable parts of an instrument and they may include the string, chin rests, pick-ups, the bridge, shoulder rest or tuners. The fiddlers usually prefer to use different set-ups compared to the violinists.
  • A violinist may hold the violin much different than a fiddler. A violinist on the other hand does not require speaking when playing; therefore, they hold their instrument under their chin.
  • The bridge is a small wooden cut piece that forms the lower anchor point of the vibrating length of the strings and transmits the vibration of the strings to the body of the instrument. The bridge is straighter in the fiddle whereas it appears curved in violin.
  • The curved bridge in a violin makes it easier for each note to stand out on its own.

Difference Between Fiddle And Violin In Tabular Form

Points of Difference Fiddle Violin
Usage of the Term The term fiddle is a colloquial term used by players in all genres, including classical music and jazz. The term violin is used most commonly is when playing traditional folk music.  
Appearance The fiddle is usually accompanied by a wider range of instruments, including mandolin, guitar, drums, mountain dulcimer, banjo and electronic keyboard. The violin on the other hand, almost always appears in orchestral, symphonic or chamber settings with other violins, violas, cellos and double basses or symphonic horns.  
Type of String Uses steel center strings. Uses engineered polymer strings.  
Playing Style Fiddlers will always bring their own interpretation to every piece, sometimes varying so far from the original melody, as to make it almost unrecognizable. Violinist reproduces the composer’s music with exact accuracy, down to the loudness of individual notes.
Playability A fiddle being a bowed string instrument requires regular practice so as to maintain the tone quality high. Violin being a winged instrument has a higher need for professional training due to the exacting nature of excellence performance.  
Strings A fiddle has 5 strings.   Has four strings tuned in perfect fifths.
Type of Music A fiddle is commonly for genre such as Canjun music, Irish tad, country and many different types of music. Violins are used for Baroque music, classical, jazz, folk music and rock and roll.  
Perceptions Fiddle are considered to be more fun when compared to violin because it puts more focus on technique and notes; and  thus it is perceived by many people as an informal instrument. A violin is perceived by many people as a formal instrument because it does not put more focus on technique.
Set-Ups The fiddlers usually prefer to use different set-ups compared to the violinists.   Violinist usually prefers different ser-ups compared to the violinist.
Holding of the Instrument A fiddler holds the fiddle lower than their shoulders in order to talk, sing or even yell out dance moves A violinist on the other hand does not require speaking when playing; therefore, they hold their instrument under their chin.
Shape of the Bridge  The bridge is straighter in the fiddle. It appears curved in violin.
Function of the bridge The straighter bridge in fiddle allows it much easier access to play more than one note at a time. The curved bridge in a violin makes it easier for each note to stand out on its own.

Summary

What is the main Difference Between a fiddle and a violin?

The term fiddle is a colloquial term used by players in all genres, including classical music and jazz whereas, the term violin is used most commonly is when playing traditional folk music.