Fiddle Facts

Fiddle Facts
The fiddle is a four-stringed musical instrument of the string family, also often referred to as a small type of violin. Like the violin it is also played with a bow. The terms fiddling or fiddle playing actually refer to a style of music, most commonly folk music. The origins of the name 'fiddle' are not known but it believed to be derived from an early violin or the Old English word 'fithele'. The fiddle is common to English folk music, Irish folk music, Scandinavian music, Austrian, French, Hungarian, Polish, American, Latin American, African, and even Australian music. There is no difference between the fiddle and small violin aside from the name and type of music the instrument is used for.
Interesting Fiddle Facts:
A fiddle has many parts including the neck, fingerboard, tuning pegs, scroll, peg box, bridge, sound hole, strings, fine tuners, tailpiece, bass bar, soundboard, chinrest, button, back plate, and bow.
The earliest fiddles (or violins) were derived from the bow instruments from the Middle Ages.
One of the first fiddle/violin manufacturers was Andrea Amati who started making them in 1500 in Italy.
When first invented the fiddle/violin was traditionally played at events such as funerals, weddings, birthdays, and other important occasions in the lower classes.
The fiddle/violin did not become a respected instrument until famous composers began to write pieces for the instrument. Some of these composers include Mozart, Bach, and Vivaldi.
Traditionally fiddles/violins have been made of wood but in some countries they have been known to be created out of tin cans, cactuses, and other materials.
Fiddles/violins vary around the world. In Northern Ireland there is a fiddle called the Stroh fiddle that has a horn on its side to help to amply the instrument's sound.
Of the original Stradivarius violins/fiddles made in the a8th century only a little over 600 still exist, making this instrument extremely valuable and coveted. In 1998 one made in 1707 sold for $3.5 million U.S.
It takes as many as 200 hours for craftsmen to make a high quality fiddle/violin.
Traditional fiddle strings were made of pig, goat, horse, or sheep intestine. Today they are made from steel or aluminum over a nylon core.
The fastest fiddler/violinist on record is Ben lee who played 'Flight of the Bumblebee' in just over a minute in 2010. He played an average of 13 notes each second for a total of 810 notes in all.
Some violinists prefer to distinguish the violin from the fiddle because they feel it is not as refined and classy but the only difference is the music style and name used.
There are many styles of folk music that incorporate the fiddle including down east, Acadian, Metis, Newfoundland, Tierra Caliente, Appalachian, blues, bluegrass, cajun, country, country rock, creole, old time, pop, Irish Celtic, Irish punk, English, Scottish, folk-rock, jazz and rock.
Famous fiddlers include Charlie Daniels, Mark O-Connor, Bob Wills, Craig Duncan, Jay Ungar, Justin Branum, Bobby Hicks, Natalie MacMaster, Hyram Posey, Aubrey Hayney, Jimmy Gyles, and Hoot Hester.


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