Fiddle

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Fiddle
Morris fiddler - Festivals of Winds, 2012.jpg
A fiddler fiddling
String instrument
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.322-71
(Composite chordophone sounded by a bow)
DevelopedEarly 16th century
Playing range
Range violin.png
Related instruments
Musicians
Builders
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For the Indian film, see Fiddle (film).
"Fiddler" redirects here. For other uses, see Fiddler (disambiguation).
Fiddle
Morris fiddler - Festivals of Winds, 2012.jpg
A fiddler fiddling
String instrument
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.322-71
(Composite chordophone sounded by a bow)
DevelopedEarly 16th century
Playing range
Range violin.png
Related instruments
Musicians
Builders
More articles

Fiddle is another name for the bowed string musical instrument more often called a violin.[1] It is also a colloquial term for the instrument used by players in all genres, including classical music. Fiddle playing, or fiddling, which could refers to various styles of music.

There are no real distinctions between violins and fiddles, though more primitively constructed and smaller violins are more likely to be considered fiddles. Fiddle is also a common term among musicians who play folk music on the violin. The fiddle is part of many traditional (folk) styles of music which are aural traditions, taught 'by ear' rather than via written music. It is less common for a classically trained violinist to play folk music, but today, many fiddlers have classical training.

History[edit]

The medieval fiddle emerged in 10th-century Europe, deriving from the Byzantine lira (Greek:λύρα, Latin:lira, English:lyre), a bowed string instrument of the Byzantine Empire and ancestor of most European bowed instruments.[2][3] The first recorded reference to the bowed lira was in the 9th century by the Persian geographer Ibn Khurradadhbih (d. 911); in his lexicographical discussion of instruments he cited the lira (lūrā) as a typical instrument of the Byzantines and equivalent to the rabāb played in the Islamic Empires.[4] Lira spread widely westward to Europe; in the 11th and 12th centuries European writers use the terms fiddle and lira interchangeably when referring to bowed instruments (Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009).

Over the centuries, Europe continued to have two distinct types of fiddles: one, relatively square-shaped, held in the arms, became known as the lira da braccio (arm viol) family and evolved into the violin; the other, with sloping shoulders and held between the knees, was the lira da gamba (leg viol) group. During the Renaissance the gambas were important and elegant instruments; they eventually lost ground to the louder (and originally less aristocratic) lira da braccio family.[5]

Etymology[edit]

The etymology of fiddle is uncertain: the Germanic fiddle may derive from the same early Romance word as does violin, or it may be natively Germanic.[6] The name seems however to be related to Icelandic Fiðla and also Old English fiðele.[7] A native Germanic ancestor of fiddle may even be the ancestor of the early Romance form of violin.[8] Historically, fiddle also referred to a predecessor of today's violin. Like the violin, it tended to have four strings, but came in a variety of shapes and sizes. Another family of instruments that contributed to the development of the modern fiddle are the viols, which are held between the legs and played vertically, and have fretted fingerboards.

Ensembles[edit]

Peter Stampfel from the Holy Modal Rounders

In performance, a solo fiddler, or one fiddler or two with a group of other instrumentalists, is the norm, though twin fiddling is represented in some North American, Scandinavian, Scottish and Irish styles. Violins, on the other hand, are commonly grouped in sections. These contrasting traditions may be vestiges of historical performance settings: large concert halls where violins were played required more instruments, before electronic amplification, than did more intimate dance halls and houses that fiddlers played in.

The difference was likely compounded by the different sounds expected of violin music and fiddle music. Historically, the majority of fiddle music was dance music, while violin music had either grown out of dance music or was something else entirely. Violin music came to value a smoothness that fiddling, with its dance-driven clear beat, did not always follow. In situations that required greater volume, a fiddler (as long as they kept the beat) could push their instrument harder than could a violinist.[citation needed] (Different fiddle traditions have different values, as detailed below. These explanations present the differences between fiddle music and other violin music.)

Following the folk revivals of the second half of the 20th century, however, it has become common for less formal situations to find large groups of fiddlers playing together—see for example the Calgary Fiddlers, and Swedish Spelmanslag folk-musician clubs, and the worldwide[9] phenomenon of Irish sessions.

Scottish fiddle with cello[edit]

In the very late 20th century, a few artists have successfully attempted a reconstruction of the Scottish tradition of violin and "big fiddle," or cello. Notable recorded examples include Iain Fraser and Christine Hanson, Amelia Kaminski and Christine Hanson's Bonnie Lasses[10] and Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas' Fire and Grace.[11]

Balkan fiddle with kontra[edit]

Hungarian, Slovenian, and Romanian fiddle players are often accompanied by a three-stringed variant of the viola—known as the kontra—and by double bass, with cimbalom and clarinet being less standard yet still common additions to a band. In Hungary, a three stringed viola variant with a flat bridge, called the kontra or háromhúros brácsa makes up part of a traditional rhythm section in Hungarian folk music. The flat bridge allows for three string chords to be played. A three stringed double bass variant is also used.

Styles[edit]

To a greater extent than classical violin playing, fiddle playing is characterized by a huge variety of ethnic or folk music traditions, each of which has its own distinctive sound.

Europe[edit]

Great Britain[edit]

Ireland[edit]

Scandinavia[edit]

Continental Europe[edit]

Americas[edit]

North America[edit]

American fiddling, a broad category including traditional and modern styles.

Tradition

Modern

Canadian fiddling Fiddling remains popular in Canada, and the various homegrown styles of fiddling are seen as an important part of the country's cultural identity, as celebrated during the opening ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Latin America[edit]

Other Areas[edit]

Relations[edit]

Variants[edit]

Near Relations[edit]

Distant Relations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gyles, Mary Francis (January 1947). "Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned". The Classical Journal 42 (4): 211–17. 
  2. ^ "fiddle." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 6 March 2009.
  3. ^ Anthony Baines: The Oxford Companion to Musical Instruments. Oxford University Press, USA (November 12, 1992).
  4. ^ Margaret J. Kartomi: On Concepts and Classifications of Musical Instruments. Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology, University of Chicago Press, 1990 p. 124.
  5. ^ stringed instrument. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 14, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online (Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009).
  6. ^ "fiddle, n.". Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press. 1989. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
    (as access to the OED online is not free, the relevant excerpt is provided) "The ultimate origin is obscure. The [Teutonic] word bears a singular resemblance in sound to its [medieval Latin] synonym vitula, vidula, whence [Old French] viole, Pr. viula, and (by adoption from these [languages]) [Italian], [Spanish], [Portuguese] viola: see [viol]. The supposition that the early [Romance] vidula was adopted independently in more than one [Teutonic language] would account adequately for all the [Teutonic] forms; on the other hand, *fiÞulôn- may be an [Old Teutonic] word of native etymology, though no satisfactory [Teutonic] derivation has been found."
  7. ^ "Bosworth and Toller". Web.ff.cuni.cz. Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  8. ^ Mario Pei, The Story of the English Language (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967), p. 109.
  9. ^ "The Session: Sessions". Retrieved 28 August 2006. 
  10. ^ "Amelia Kaminski Productions". Willockandsaxgallery.com. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  11. ^ "Fire & Grace". Culburnie.com. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  12. ^ Joseph Lyons. "Scottish Fiddle Music". Scotlandsmusic.com. Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  13. ^ "Regional Irish Fiddle Styles". Irishfiddle.com. Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  14. ^ "Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Fiddle". Fiddlingaround.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  15. ^ "Klezmer Fiddle". Fiddlingaround.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  16. ^ "East European and Gypsy Fiddle". Fiddlingaround.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  17. ^ "Gu-Achi Fiddlers - Old Time O'odham Fiddle Music (CR-8082)". Store.canyonrecords.com. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  18. ^ "Western Swing Fiddle". Fiddlingaround.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  19. ^ "Jackson School of International Studies - Canadian Studies Center". Jsis.washington.edu. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]