What Is The Difference Between Violin And Fiddle?

by Altaf Shaikh
Difference Between Violin And Fiddle

We won’t be able to spot the difference between violin and fiddle when a violin and fiddle are kept side by side. Both these musical instruments are used by players in all genres including classical music. If you are planning to join violin or fiddle classes, then this post might be helpful for you. In today’s article, we will discuss what is the difference between a violin and a fiddle in detail. Here, I have given a comparison chart of violin vs fiddle. So, without wasting one more minute let us study the difference between violin and fiddle.

Difference Between Violin And Fiddle

Both violin and fiddle are similar stringed musical instruments. There is only one major difference between a violin and a fiddle instrument which is how they are played. Below I have given some more information on the difference between violin and fiddle in detail.

 ViolinFiddle
StringsSynthetic core instead of steel coreEither synthetic core or steel core
Playing StyleFolk, classical, jazz, countryBluegrass, folk, country, jazz, electric fiddle
PurposeThey are used to express the performer’s musical interpretation and bond to the composer’s interpretation.They are used to express the performer’s musical interpretation, improvisation, and individual interpretation.
NotesThey are vastly played and not always a written form.They are expressed in clearer notes and treble reading.
BridgeIt is more arched for cleaner single noting.It is flatter for double and triple stop bowing.

You can keep on reading to know the primary difference between classical violin and fiddle more in-depth.

Strings Difference between  Fiddle & violin 

Earlier, strings were made up of catgut. It is a substance that is derived from the intestines of sheep or cats. Years later technology evolved, people started using steel strings on a fiddle instrument. Steel strings used in Irish fiddle are more resilient, consistent, and are not easily affected by the weather. After a while, people move towards synthetic core strings for violin. These strings are very much similar to gut strings but give a warmer tone.

Difference between Bridges of violin and fiddle

If you look closely, you will find a slight difference between violin and fiddle bridge. In Fiddles, the bridges are flat, so that they can play double stops. But it doesn’t help much with triple stops. Most fiddles have bridge setups that are similar to a classical setup. On the other hand, the bridges of the violin are more arched for cleaner single noting. This allows the user to play each string cleanly without touching the other strings.

Music Styles Difference In violin and fiddle

There is also a difference between violin and fiddle music styles. Violin is more associated with classical music, chamber music, or you can say jazz music. You can find the play in several classical symphonies and orchestras. Here, the violin player tries to capture the composition of any classical piece as closely as possible.

On the other hand, fiddles are more associated with traditional music, country, folk, and bluegrass. They are often played in more informal settings that will make you dance and sing. 

Fiddles are very fast, rhythmic, and are largely improvised than violins. Violins are mostly paired with classical instruments like cello and double bass. Whereas fiddles are mostly paired with non-classical instruments like drums, banjos, and keyboards.

Playing Techniques of Violin and Fiddle

Bowed string instruments are very difficult to learn. Fiddle players hold their instruments on their arms or chest. This allows them to sing and dance while playing. While violins are not always held on arms or chest.

Most violinists sometimes use the double string techniques while playing. Whereas fiddle players always use double stops while playing. 

People find playing a fiddle a lot cheaper and easier than playing the violin. Once you learned how to play the fiddle, you can move towards playing the violin.  If you are planning to play classical violin, you will require a higher level of training.

Tuning of Violin & Fiddle

The catgut or synthetic core strings used in violins requires more care and tuning. So that it produces a richer sound to round off a potentially over-loud tone. On the other hand, the fiddle uses steel core strings to stay in tune for a longer time. Some commonly used fiddle tunning is AEAE, DDAD, GDGD, GDGB, AEAC#, and EDAE. While in violin, any other tunes can be used except GDAE.

  • Lower Action

Usually, fiddlers have lower action on their strings than violins. Now, you must be confused about what does lower action means? Lower action allows the players to play for a long period of time. It also allows the players to play tricky passages effectively.

Let us now check out more factors of the difference between violin and fiddle.

  • Looser Bow Hair

Fiddlers can be played with a looser bow hair when compared with violins. Some fiddlers love to play with the hair touching the stick of the bow. Whereas some violinists love to play without touching them.

  • Vibrato

While playing the violin, every note deserves a vibrato. And while playing fiddle, vibrato doesn’t even exist!  But some fiddles do use vibrato for changing the mood of the note. It generally does not vibrate as fast as classical players use.

You can keep on reading further to know the difference between violin and viola.

Difference Between Violin Viola And Fiddle

Both violin and viola belong to the same string instrument family. But there are a few differences between violin and viola that are worth mentioning. In this section, we will discuss the actual difference between violin vs viola in detail.

  • Size

When you first look at these instruments, you can instantly spot a violin. Violin is smaller in size compared to viola. The length of the violin’s body is about 35 centimeters. On the other hand, the length of the viola’s body is about 45 centimeters. You can find these instruments in other different sizes too. For example, the smallest viola is just 30 centimeters.

  • Strings

Both viola and violin use just four strings, but the notes of each string are different. Violin strings include G, D, A, and E. Here, E is the highest string and G is the lowest string. Whereas the viola strings include C, G, D, and A. Here, A is the highest string and C is the lowest string.

  • Clef

The clef of these instruments is also different. A violin is played on the Treble Clef and a viola is played on the Alto Clef or C Clef.

Similarities Between Violin And Fiddle

After learning the difference between violin and fiddle, let’s check out their similarities.

 ViolinFiddle
ClefTreble clefTreble clef
RangeG3-A7G3-A7
What It Is4 or 5 stringed bowed instrument4 or 5 stringed bowed instrument

Read Also: What Is The Difference Between Rap And Hip Hop?

FAQ

Is There Any Difference Between A Fiddle And A Violin?

Yes, there is one major difference between these instruments. This includes how they are played. Generally, the fiddle is used to play classical music, and violins are used to play jazz music.

Is A Fiddle And A Violin The Same Instrument?

Yes, fiddles and violins are the same instruments that are played in different styles.

Is A Violin Also Called A Fiddle?

Yes, a violin is also called a fiddle when classical music is played.

Why Is A Violin Called A Fiddle?

A violin is called a fiddle because they both belong to the same family.

Read Also: How To Reset Xbox 360?

Conclusion

Luckily I have spotted all the differences between violin and fiddle that not everybody is aware of. Violin is the smallest and highest-pitched member that belongs to the string instruments family. So, a fiddle is used to play folk music and a violin is used to play classical music. Therefore, a violin is also called a fiddle! Most violinists sometimes use the double string techniques while playing. Whereas fiddle players always use double stops while playing. Sometimes, the violin is also compared with the viola. But violins are smaller in size compared to violas. That’s all you must know about the difference between violin and fiddle!

0 comment

Related Posts

Leave a Comment