Difference Wiki

Fiddle vs. Violin: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 7, 2023
The fiddle and violin are essentially the same instrument; the difference lies in how they're played and in what kind of music genres.

Key Differences

Fiddle is colloquially used to denote a violin when it is used to play folk or country music. Violin, while physically identical, is associated more with classical, jazz, and rock music. Their structural sameness facilitates versatile musical expression in varied contexts.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023
The playing style differentiates a fiddle from a violin. Fiddling often employs alternative tunings, a lively and rhythmic bowing style, and may focus on dance tunes. Violin playing, conversely, often adheres to classical techniques and music theory.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023
A musician’s choice of terms between fiddle and violin may hint at their musical training or genre preferences. Fiddlers might be self-taught, learning by ear, while violinists might have formal training, often reading sheet music proficiently.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023
Both fiddle and violin are utilized in educational contexts. Students may learn "violin" in school orchestras, whereas community or cultural gatherings might favor the term “fiddle” for its local and traditional implications.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 07, 2023
Cultural and geographical variances influence the choice between fiddle and violin. In some locales, "fiddle" may be more prevalent due to the popularity of folk traditions, while "violin" might dominate in areas with strong classical music scenes.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 07, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Musical Genre

Often used in folk & country
Common in classical & jazz
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Playing Style

Lively, rhythmic bowing
Structured, classical technique
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Tuning

Alternative tunings possible
Standard tuning common
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Learning Method

Often by ear
Often through sheet music
Harlon Moss
Oct 07, 2023

Cultural Connotation

Informal, traditional
Formal, classical
Harlon Moss
Oct 07, 2023
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Fiddle and Violin Definitions

Fiddle

A stringed instrument, especially used in folk music.
She played a lively tune on the fiddle.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Violin

A stringed musical instrument of treble pitch, played with a horsehair bow.
The first chair violin played a beautiful solo.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Fiddle

To make minor manual adjustments to something.
Stop fiddling with your pen and pay attention.
Huma Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Violin

An instrument commonly found in classical orchestras.
The violin section gives the orchestra a rich, melodic layer.
Huma Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Fiddle

To manipulate something fraudulently.
He was convicted for fiddling the accounts.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Violin

An instrument capable of carrying a musical performance.
She captivated the audience with her violin performance.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Fiddle

A reference to an activity or item of little consequence.
Learning to knit is not my fiddle.
Janet White
Oct 07, 2023

Violin

An instrument often learned in formal music education.
He took violin lessons for several years at the conservatory.
Sara Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Fiddle

Something often utilized in traditional cultural expressions.
The old fiddle on the wall had been in the family for generations.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 07, 2023

Violin

An object crafted with a wooden body, four strings, and a bow.
The violin sounded warm and full after being adjusted by the luthier.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Fiddle

A violin, especially one used to play folk or country music.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2016

Violin

A stringed instrument played with a bow, having four strings tuned at intervals of a fifth, an unfretted fingerboard, and a shallower body than the viol and capable of great flexibility in range, tone, and dynamics.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2016

Fiddle

(Nautical) A guardrail used on a table during rough weather to prevent things from slipping off.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2016

Violin

A small unfretted stringed instrument with four strings tuned (lowest to highest) G-D-A-E, usually held against the chin and played with a bow.
When I play it like this, it's a fiddle; when I play it like this, it's a violin.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2016

Fiddle

(Informal) Nonsensical, trifling matters
"There are things that are important / beyond all this fiddle" (Marianne Moore).
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2016

Violin

Any instrument of the violin family, always inclusive of violins, violas, and cellos and sometimes further including the double bass.
The string quartet, one of the most popular groupings in chamber music, is composed entirely of violins: two violins proper, one viola, and one cello.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2016

FAQs

Is "fiddle" used in a particular music genre?

Yes, "fiddle" is commonly associated with folk, bluegrass, and country music.
Huma Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Can "fiddle" refer to other instruments?

Sometimes, it may colloquially refer to similar string instruments like the viola, cello, or double bass.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Is the maintenance for a fiddle different from a violin?

No, maintenance involving string replacement, bow re-hairing, and keeping the instrument clean applies to both.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 07, 2023

Can a violinist be considered a fiddler and vice versa?

Yes, though they may have to adapt their playing technique to suit different musical styles.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Is reading sheet music necessary for fiddlers?

Not always. Fiddling is often learned by ear, though sheet music can be used.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Is a fiddle a specific instrument?

No, "fiddle" refers to a bowed string instrument, typically the violin, but is also colloquially used for similar instruments like the viola.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Is the violin always played with a bow?

No, it can also be plucked, a technique known as "pizzicato."
Aimie Carlson
Oct 07, 2023

Why are both terms, fiddle and violin, used?

It often comes down to tradition and the style of music being played.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 07, 2023

What is "fiddling around"?

It means wasting time or being unproductive.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Is the playing technique different for fiddle and violin?

Yes, fiddling often employs different bowing and fingering techniques compared to classical violin playing.
Harlon Moss
Oct 07, 2023

Are the strings for fiddles and violins different?

They can be identical. However, some fiddlers may prefer steel strings for a brighter, crisper sound.
Janet White
Oct 07, 2023

Does a violin/fiddle have frets?

No, violins and fiddles do not have frets, unlike guitars.
Janet White
Oct 07, 2023

What are fiddle strings made of?

They can be made from steel, synthetic core, or gut.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 07, 2023

What is the smallest string instrument in the violin family?

The violin is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in its family.
Sara Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Are the fiddle and violin physically different?

No, they are essentially the same instrument but might be set up or played differently depending on the genre.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 07, 2023

Is the learning curve similar for both fiddle and violin playing?

Fundamentally, yes. However, the specific styles and nuances of different musical genres can affect the learning curve.
Janet White
Oct 07, 2023

How many strings does a violin have?

A violin typically has four strings.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 07, 2023

Are there electric versions of violins and fiddles?

Yes, electric violins, which can also be used for fiddling, are available and used in various music genres.
Harlon Moss
Oct 07, 2023

Is the violin a classical instrument?

Yes, the violin is prominently featured in classical music, but it's used in various genres.
Sara Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Is the violin made of a specific wood?

Violins are commonly made from spruce (for the top plate) and maple (for the back plate, ribs, and neck).
Aimie Carlson
Oct 07, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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