courtesy of: Frinck51
To the untrained eye, a violin and a fiddle may appear to be the same instrument. Yet for those who know their instruments, violins and fiddles are actually quite different. Although these differences can be subtle, they make all the difference in how the music sounds. In the most simplistic terms, violins are more fanciful and sophisticated while fiddlers are more folksy and simple.
What makes a violin and fiddle different from one another is that there are different types of music played on them. Generally speaking, violinists play composition-based music such as classical music from Western and Indian cultures. Fiddlers tend to play folk-based tunes such as Cajun and Irish music.
Otherwise, violins and fiddlers are pretty much the same type of instrument. Many artists will use the terms interchangeably, while others are fussier and stick to one name or the other.
From a physical sense, violins and fiddles have the same wooden box. These parts are considered to be the “unchangeable” part of the instrument, and they look exactly the same across instruments. However, violinists and fiddlers sometimes prefer different setups when it comes to the “changeable” parts of their instruments. These parts, called the “setup”, include the strings, bridge, shoulder rest, chin rest and pickup.
Traditional fiddles have four strings, but it’s not uncommon for fiddles to have five strings. Standard violins also have four strings, and these strings can be made from a variety of materials such as steel or metal. Either way, all types of strings are prone to breaking, which is why both violinists and fiddlers need to replace them often.
So is one instrument more difficult to play than the other? No. Both instruments require a great deal of skill, patience and attention to detail, and there are different skills required for each. If you’re interested in trying out a violin or fiddler, come to Catfish Music where we have a variety of high-quality instruments on consignment or used for less.