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Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.

The Shambles 19 Jan 00 - 06:10 AM
Julie 19 Jan 00 - 07:33 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 19 Jan 00 - 07:35 AM
MudGuard 19 Jan 00 - 09:12 AM
Grab 19 Jan 00 - 11:57 AM
InOBU 19 Jan 00 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 19 Jan 00 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 19 Jan 00 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 19 Jan 00 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,Johnnny_Cash 19 Jan 00 - 12:25 PM
Sourdough 19 Jan 00 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,Mbo 19 Jan 00 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Mbo 19 Jan 00 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,Les B 19 Jan 00 - 02:13 PM
Wesley S 19 Jan 00 - 02:39 PM
jeffp 19 Jan 00 - 02:45 PM
selby 19 Jan 00 - 02:59 PM
sophocleese 19 Jan 00 - 03:07 PM
Wincing Devil 19 Jan 00 - 03:12 PM
katlaughing 19 Jan 00 - 03:17 PM
Sorcha 19 Jan 00 - 03:43 PM
InOBU 19 Jan 00 - 05:01 PM
Sorcha 19 Jan 00 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,Jacob Bloom 19 Jan 00 - 05:43 PM
jeffp 19 Jan 00 - 06:56 PM
Bob Bolton 19 Jan 00 - 08:38 PM
katlaughing 19 Jan 00 - 09:03 PM
Grab 20 Jan 00 - 09:47 AM
Mark Clark 20 Jan 00 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 20 Jan 00 - 12:22 PM
Arkie 20 Jan 00 - 03:08 PM
Jeri 20 Jan 00 - 06:10 PM
katlaughing 20 Jan 00 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,Mbo 20 Jan 00 - 10:47 PM
Little Neophyte 20 Jan 00 - 10:56 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 20 Jan 00 - 10:56 PM
GUEST,Walter 20 Jan 00 - 10:57 PM
GUEST,all wrong 20 Jan 00 - 11:45 PM
Mark Cohen 21 Jan 00 - 12:08 AM
Jeri 21 Jan 00 - 09:02 PM
GUEST,Petr 21 Jan 00 - 10:06 PM
The Shambles 22 Jan 00 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,Bev and Jerry 22 Jan 00 - 08:42 PM
lloyd61 22 Jan 00 - 09:34 PM
bob schwarer 23 Jan 00 - 05:51 AM
Jeri 23 Jan 00 - 08:59 AM
Marion 29 Nov 00 - 09:01 PM
GUEST,Jeri (playing with a new browser) 29 Nov 00 - 09:19 PM
Sorcha 30 Nov 00 - 12:13 AM
GeorgeH 30 Nov 00 - 07:00 AM
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Subject: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 06:10 AM

I have great respect for all players of this instrument, whatever it is called and I like the sound of it whatever style is being played, for it truly must be THE versatile instrument?

It is probably, also the most physically uncomfortable to play?

Is it also the only instrument to have different names dependent on the style in which it is played and how did this convention come to be held? For it is a device, which has its practical uses but I think one that is not without a certain element of snobbery? Should it be changed and the instrument have one name, if so which one would be preferable?

For I think that I do still detect a general view that the classically trained violin player is superior to the many other forms of fiddle playing? A view, I do not necessarily share, having seen how far the fiddle can be taken in the hands of those who have come close to mastering the instrument. When the distinction between the two terms, fiddle player and violinist, becomes very blurred.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Julie
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 07:33 AM

When my daughter goes to Orchestra - its a violin when's she's playing folk music with the fiddle society its a fiddle - sometimes if we're running from one event to another it changes magically in the back of the car or on the bus.

She does say when her classical violin teacher plays folk music he doesn't play loosely enough so its not right


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 07:35 AM

In the middle ages the "fiddle" at the word's broadest meaning referred to a several different instruments. The bowed type, called in French the "vielle", was the preferred instrument of the troubladours and trouveres. One type had a square body, a rouded pegboard, and five or so strings which (so far as is known) were not tuned in fifths. The violin was invented in the late 1400s, and for a while was just one more species of fiddle. In the end though, it swept almost all other fiddle types before it in the field European-derived art music, though other shapes are still sometimes made. So if a small bowed instrument has four strings, a scrolled pegboard, and f-shaped sound holes, you can call it a violin or a fiddle. If the sound holes or pegbox have some other shape or if the instruments has other than four strings, it's no longer a violin but may still be a fiddle.

T.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: MudGuard
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 09:12 AM

In Germany we have an instrument called a Fiedel (I think it derives its name from the same source as fiddle) which is more like a viola da gamba, i.e. it is placed between your feet (like a violoncello, but it has no "foot").
A violin (derived from italian violina) is called Geige in German

Please, all Italians excuse my bad italian, but I learned the following things:
violina in Italian means small viola,
viola da braccia (spelling) is the bigger version.
braccia meaning arm,
gamba means leg
violona (as in violon-cello) means big viola
cello means ??? (I don't know)

I hope I did not confuse you completely
MudGuard


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Grab
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 11:57 AM

I think it's kind of what sound they aim for. Violin players prefer instruments giving a full, rounded sound, whereas fiddle players go for more treble-y instruments. So that may make some difference. As T says, there may be different construction on a fiddle.

And violin players always play with their instrument held under their chin and with (ideally) no weight on the left hand, whereas fiddle players traditionally play with the fiddle held firmly in the left hand, without a shoulder-rest and braced against the shoulder or armpit, or (American style) held in the lap. This isn't always the case though, since most fiddlers will now learn classical violin and switch to playing fiddle music afterwards, so lots now play fiddle with a shoulder-rest.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 12:05 PM

As you see from the date it spreads about Europe, the Fiddle and Violin, were introduced into Europe from India by Roma (Gypsies). The Vedic instrument it evolved from was and still is played with the end which goes under the chin in the violin, on the lap and the neck pointing up. There are several great stories in Romani tradition about how they found the fiddle.
All the best
Larry


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 12:17 PM

The violin was invented in Italy.

The fiddle bow is thought to have been invented in the spice islands of Indonesia. Its transmission to Europe via the Roma is not impossible, but I would look to Near Eastern and Mediterranean merchants for the transmission vector before I looked to the Roma. Furthermore the Roma didn't reach Western Europe until circa 1400 (though they were in eastern Europe earlier). The bowed fiddle was known in the west before then. Even if the Roma introduced the fiddle bow to eastern Europe, it preceeded them to western Europe. Besides that, it's not known when the Roma left India. It may have been that the Roma were out of touch with the Islands of east Asia (if they ever had contact at all) before the fiddle bow was invented there.

T.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 12:19 PM

I am a member, in the sense that I have registered my name and email address and even sent Max a contribution. But I don't let my computer accept cookies. Depending on which computer I access the forum from, I might not have the authority to allow the computer to accept cookies.

T.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 12:24 PM

Alwais profred: The post about the fiddle bow should say "It's not known when the Roma left India", as in the second of the two near-duplicate posts. I was trying to intercept and correct before posting, but it didn't work.

T.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Johnnny_Cash
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 12:25 PM

Its all in yer soul , to me its a fiddle , a violin is just a fiddle played out of tune sorry fiddle music is just better than violin music because it just is .


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Sourdough
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 12:40 PM

I used to work with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and many of the younger players referred to their instruments, unselfconsciously, as fiddles. Itzhak Perlman, one of the grat violinists of our time always calls his instrument a fiddle - but in his case he sometimes does play country music on it.

SOurdough


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Mbo
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 12:46 PM

I have played both--they ROCK equally.

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Mbo
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 12:57 PM

Johnny, you gotta break out of your rusty cage ooohh and discover the beauty that violin music has too.

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 02:13 PM

If someone hasn't mentioned it already, most violins have an arched bridge, while a fiddler generally sands down his bridge to a flatter curve so he can more easily bow two strings, or play "double stops".


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Wesley S
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 02:39 PM

I'm not able to play either one but one thing I've noticed { in my experience } is that violin players are not comfortable improvising. They can play what's on the page - nothing more. Fiddle players however do it all the time and don't normally use sheet music. This is an observation - not a criticism. Agree or disagree ??


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: jeffp
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 02:45 PM

I agree, Wesley. I have been playing at Irish fiddle for 2 years now. I have taken a Beginning Fiddle class at the Augusta Heritage Center in WVa twice. Each time there are people who are skilled violin players mixed in with those of us who are new to the instrument entirely. The ones who learned violin have a tough time playing by ear without relying on printed music. They also have a tough time playing the rhythms as they should sound, rather than as they are written. Another interesting difference is that violinists are taught to not use open strings, as you cannot correct the tuning without having a finger on the string. Also, violinists tend to play vertically (up the neck), while fiddlers play horizontally.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: selby
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 02:59 PM

My son tells me violinist play with the whole bow. Fidlers play with shorter bow strokes somtimes a bow a note. keith


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: sophocleese
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 03:07 PM

I must admit I admire anybody who can get a reasonable sound out of whatever the instrument is called. I also like the guts of anybody who has learned music in one fashion, ie from written score, putting the effort into learning it differently, ie by ear. I don't particularily enjoy hearing fiddle music alone and unending unless there's a lot of dancing involved but I was absolutely mesmerized by the playing of David Greenberg of Puirt a Baroque when I first heard them live two summers ago. He has classical training and traditional fiddle training.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 03:12 PM

Simple:

A fiddler plays a fiddle
A violinist play a violin!

Of course, we could go back to the simple definition:Violin, viola, cello and bass are memberes of the fiddle family.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 03:17 PM

I think it really is an individual thing. I was classically trained, but grew up learning tunes by ear, from my dad, the fiddler, who also holds the fiddle the same way I do when being a violinist. He learned from an old fiddlemaker who made him learn by ear but also taught him the value of reading music.

When I went to see him recently, it was the first time I'd seen him play in a number of years. I always got high marks in orchestra, for using my whole bow. I told him I must've inherited it from him, because fiddler that he is, he has always been teased about needing an extended bow because he uses it so entirely.

InOBU, we have often been teased that we must have been Roma in past lives, because of our playing and bowing styles. Don't know if that was based on Hollywood notions or if true? I mean no offense, but would like to get your take on it. Thanks

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 03:43 PM

OK. I,m gonna take a shot at this. First, there are technique differences. Classical vionlinists use more different techniques such as vibrato, bowings with weird names--spizzacato, con legno,left hand configuration, etc. Then there are posture differences. Yes, it is usually true that most violinists are not loose enough to play fiddle style. Most violinists stand more still than fiddlers; they often appear to be robots with a difficult bowel movement. I spent at least 10 yrs. learning how to sound like a fiddler, instead of a violinist playing fiddle tunes.
I think it is true that some classical training makes a better fiddle player.....Allison Krause, etc. There are of course all kinds of fiddle players, from Allison, et. al. down to the 90 yr. old man down the block who owns a Sears Roebuck fiddle, never took a lesson and taught himself everything he knows, (with the help of a banjo player so he can cross tune) Violinists seldom cross tune. The stare AGHAST!! Fiddlers with smoe classical training have a jump on those without, because they can do several different kinds of vibrato when it is called for. They usually have their left hand in the proper position for left hand pizzacato, can use long whole bow strokes for waltzes, and short choppy ones for jigs. Fiddle players seldom play above 1st position..a few tunes call for 2nd or 3rd, but not many. Classically trained players have no problem with this, and can use different fingerings and positions to make the tone color match. (That is why classicists use 4th finger so much...the tone color of a fingered note does not equal the tone color of an open string, even if they are the same pitch).
Yes, violinists have trouble with improv.which is the backbone of such styles as jazz, blues, and Celtic among others. They are trained that if it is not on the paper you don't play it. Beethoven does not take kindly to people adding turns and grace notes just because they think they should be there. Whick brings us to ATTITUDE differences........if a fiddler wants to sneak something in, he/she does. No one cares if you spill beer on a fiddle. If a violin needs repair, a violinist buys a ticket on an airplane, buys his violin a ticket, and flies halfway round the world to get a new bridge. A fiddler whips out the old pocket knife and trims a new one. If a violinist lost a left hand finger joint in a table saw, he would quit playing. The old man down the street just compensates by using 3rd finger for his 2nd. It's a tough act to follow.
Then, there is set up--violins have a high arched bridge to facilitate playing only one string at a time. If they want double stops, they have to go close to the fingerboard. Violinists usually use gut or Perlon cored strings bacause they are mellower and don't ring. Fiddlers want double stops, so the bridge is flatter, and they may need to walk on 3 accordians, or play in a huge outdoor setting, so they use steel strings. Also, on a fiddle the nut is sometimes lower which helps stop left hand contortion-ism when playing chords.
AAARRRGGGHHH! didn't mean to go on so long...sorry! :>) Sorcha


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 05:01 PM

Dear friends:
Liguistic evidence is that Roma left India around 1,000 years ago, during the same events which gave rise to the Shik religion - the beginings of conflict with Moslems along the west coast of India.
I dont know much about Roma violin technique, most Roma violists I know are from Hungrey, where there has been classical training influenceing violin styles, I believe, however, I will ask other friends who may know Roma who play more traditionaly.
As far as Roma not bringing the violin to Europe, maybe, maybe no, but I would not be the one to tell any Roma they did not!
All the best
Larry


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 05:03 PM

Then there was the violinist who asked the fiddler"Do you read music?" Fiddler replied, "Not enuf to hurt my playin"


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Jacob Bloom
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 05:43 PM

I know some fiddlers who have two instruments, one of which they call a violin, and the other a fiddle. The one they call a fiddle is the one that they are willing to bring along on canoe trips.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: jeffp
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 06:56 PM

Another difference I've noticed is that fiddlers tend to have more fun.

jeffp, a fiddler in training who'll never be a violinist


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 08:38 PM

G'day all,

Another distinction between violin and fiddle (one I consider to be critical) is that fiddlers play open strings whereas violinists would die rather that introduce such a change in tone from the consistent sound of stopped strings.

This love of the distinctive ring of the open strings shapes the tune (instead of the other way round, as in classical violin) and selects a small group of "fiddle keys": D and G, if your are Irish ... as well as A if you lean to the Scots. (Sorcha: This is probably why your 90 year-old fiddler uses re-tunings)

There are a lot more subtle (and not so subtle) differences, but this is the one that I find sorts out fiddlers from violinists fastest.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 09:03 PM

LOL, yeah, Bob, you put your *finger* right on it! My old violin teacher, Grannie Gantham would have killed us if we played an open string! But, jeffp, some violinists have tons of fun; fiddler's got no market on that one, some violinists just have a harder time showing it!**BG**

kat


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Grab
Date: 20 Jan 00 - 09:47 AM

Replying to WesleyS,

It's a function of training. I learned violin for about 8 years, and got pretty good at it (coming up for Grade 6 when I quit at the age of 16). However, at no point during that time could I improvise.

5 years ago, I started playing guitar. From the guitar, I learnt what chords sound good together, how music's structured, and all that stuff. I'd done oodles of theory for my music grades, and I could write all sorts of flat diminished sixth thirteenth dominant chords and stuff on a stave, but did I have a clue how they sounded? Did I buggery!

And last month I picked my violin up for the first time in 10 years or so. And after I'd got my fingers back into it, I found that I could do improvising, chord structures, and all that stuff, simply bcos I now know how to do it. As Sorcha says, classical musicians don't have to know how to construct music, bcos they only ever play what's on the page, so they end up at the extreme of not being able to play if it's not written down! A friend of mine is a top flautist, grade 8, and regardless of how well he can play (and his top speed on the flute is a damn sight faster than mine on the guitar!) he hasn't a clue on improvising even simple fills.

So if anyone wants to learn an instrument, I'd recommend that as well as that instrument they also learn piano for general musical note theory, and guitar for chordal structure and general musical construction.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Mark Clark
Date: 20 Jan 00 - 12:13 PM

As previously discussed, a clasically trained musician may refer to his/her instrument variously as a fiddle or as a vy-oh-LYNN. The fiddler calls it a VAH-lin.

- Mark


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 20 Jan 00 - 12:22 PM

Some pictures of reconstructions of pre-violin fidulae can be found

here,

here,

here, and

here.

T.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Arkie
Date: 20 Jan 00 - 03:08 PM

Several have mentioned the fiddler playing double stops, but many are also playing triple stops, and maybe even all four strings. No one has yet mentioned the critical difference in the fiddle and the violin - If the instrument is carried in a case it is a violin. If it is carried in a flour sack, it is a fiddle. Have enjoyed and been enlightened by this discussion. I work in music park where this question pops up frequently. It will be nice to have something to add after the case and flour sack.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Jeri
Date: 20 Jan 00 - 06:10 PM

Fiddle = violin = fiddle.
Players of certain styles with a lot of double-stops, or two notes played at the same time often choose to play with a flatter bridge. (Think American "old-time" and Cajun.) Fiddlers in other styles often don't.
The prefered sound for either a fiddle or violin depends on the taste of the player.
Some fiddlers tend to play with the fiddle on the chest, not under the chin. Others don't. I started off with mine a good 6 inches below my chin and had a hard time playing, so I now use a shoulder rest and the thing is firmly wedged under my chin.
Shambles - I tried flute a couple times, and it felt pretty uncomfortable for me, but I suppose you get used to it.
There is (well, there must be, even though I've never enountered it) a very small bit of real snobbery from clasically trained violinists, but there's probably a ton of "perceived" snobbery. I personally think it's a stereotype. I've played with too many classically trained violinists attempting to "cross over" to believe in it - especially when they seem to know they don't play it quite like the traddies do, and they often ask the "unwashed masses" for advice on how to play.
Some styles of fiddling emphasize skill in playing prettily. Others emphasise rhythm, which definitely is NOT the main point of classical music. There are very good fiddlers who people pay to listen to. Most of us do it just for fun.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Jan 00 - 07:05 PM

jeri, thanks for the clarification about the bridge. I'd played with one my dad put on my violin over 35 years ago. Took it in to the son of the old fiddlemaker who taught my dad, himself now close to 80, to have him restring it and fix a crack. Without asking, he replaced the bridge with one that was way too high for my style of violin playing or fiddling! I had no idea what exactly was wrong until I called dad and he told me to whittle it down and exactly how. Thankfully that worked! None of my teachers had veer said anything about the brdige except to keep it from slanting, and they were good teachers.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Mbo
Date: 20 Jan 00 - 10:47 PM

Thanks for that, Jeri. I play both--and dislike stereotyping on both sides. Fiddles are not toothless hicks who only play Turkey in The Straw, and classical violinist are not cold, snobby, machines who can't move. IT'S ALL GOOD, BABY!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 20 Jan 00 - 10:56 PM

The biggest question remains.............
Is Rick Fielding learning to play the violin or the fiddle?

BB


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 20 Jan 00 - 10:56 PM

Another picture of a pre-violin fiddle can be seen here.

A picture of a fiddler and a citoler is here.

T.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Walter
Date: 20 Jan 00 - 10:57 PM

My wife plays viola in a local symphony and I always take her to the evening rehearsals. When she and I play together it's her on the viola and me on a 12-string tuned 1 1/2 steps below concert pitch. So, she does both classical and folk. She and I have observed that the differences between fiddlers and violinist is that (1) the fiddlers rarely get out of 1st position and use open strings a lot; (2) fiddlers use their bowing hand more than violinists, who have more technique in their fingerboard hand. I don't know about triple-stops, but there are plenty of double-stops in classical music.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,all wrong
Date: 20 Jan 00 - 11:45 PM

You guys have got it all wrong. A violin is an instrument. "Fiddle" is a verb, meaning to make small, fidgety adjustments to something, usually to no avail. The noun "fiddle" is a back-formation from the verb.

In the olden days, country fiddlers could only afford mediocre instruments, and they devised a style involving mostly eighth notes in order to keep people from dwelling too long on the sound of any one of them. They also hadn't much training. (Of course, they accomplished a lot with what they had.)

If you don't believe me, check the Fiddler's Fake Book, which could have the alternate title, "50,000 Eighth Notes."

More than once I have heard a good tune in a session, looked it up in the Fiddler's Fake Book and discovered that the melody has virtually disappeared in a welter of eighth notes. The songs are often improved by judicious insertion of a few quarter notes or even (gasp!) dotted quarter notes.

But before the classical violinists get too cocky, I would like to mention that Smithsonian Magazine had an article about an institute in New York that treats musicians for repetitive-motion injuries,and the head doc said that the violin seemed to have been designed to destroy the human right arm. Perhaps it is time to change some of the demands we make on these performers.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 21 Jan 00 - 12:08 AM

I wouldn't dare enter into this discussion, since I tried to learn the instrument once and got a cramp in my arm that went all the way to my ankle. However, if anybody reading this thread is around Port Townsend, Washington in the summertime, try to get to the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. You will see and hear hundreds of fiddlers (and a few violinists trying to pass) with assorted banjo players, guitarists, harmonica players, and lots more, along with performers from around the continent and the world of just about every traditional stripe that involves, uh, that instrument with four strings and a scroll. There's an emphasis on "old-time" music, that is, Southern U.S. mountain style tunes, but the breadth of music is astounding. The jamming and dancing and singing will knock you over. (If you notice some deja vu when you're there, it's where "An Officer and a Gentleman" was filmed.)

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Jan 00 - 09:02 PM

Dear all wrong - good one! (I'm constantly bitching about people playing everything at bluegrass speed - "Somebody kick it off. We'll play it through three times and whoever gets to the end first, wins.") It doesn't explain waltzes, airs, song accompaniment and stratspeys. The Fiddler's Fake Book contains mostly (although not exclusively) American old time tunes. Generalizations that apply to one style don't necessarily apply to all. Keep in mind, styles include US south-western, Cape Breton, French Canadian, New England, Cajun, Shetland, English, Scottish (or is that "Scots?"), Irish (Sligo, Clare,...etc), Swedish, ...does someone else want to take it from here?


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Petr
Date: 21 Jan 00 - 10:06 PM

Another definition I heard is that a fiddler is just a sloppy violinist and a violinist is a fancy fiddler.

I dont actually believe that - I went through years of classical training and stopped playing for 15yrs and 4 years ago took up the fiddle with a passion. It was definitely an advantage to have the intonation and the training - I only wish Id been introduced to fiddle music back then.

I agree with the above points on playing more open strings in fiddle music as the ringing of other strings in harmony is a big part. Also there are some ornaments such as slides and double stops which are not common in classical music - but vibrato, pizzicato spicato etc. do not occur much in fiddle music. The bowing too - it is funny watching classical violinists trying to play fiddle style with long bow strokes. On another note, a friend of mine with classical training but also a fiddle player has noticed a certain bias against classicaly trained players in old time competitions.

Cheers Petr


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 07:35 PM

The only other instrument I could think of that had different name, dependent of the style it was played, was the harmonica. Larry Adler plays one. The bluesmen play 'harp'. Especially the dead ones. Maybe not, they're probably all 'down there' in the hot place.

The problem is that these examples I gave were of very different instruments indeed.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Bev and Jerry
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 08:42 PM

So, violinists are paper trained and fiddlers aren't. Our dog is paper trained. Does that make her a violinist?

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: lloyd61
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 09:34 PM

We have a very talented local Violinist who came out with an Old Time Country Fiddle CD. It is terrible, his contemporary and classical style did not fit the Old Time Style. He is a Violin player, and a very good one, but he is not a Fiddle player. Lloyd61


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: bob schwarer
Date: 23 Jan 00 - 05:51 AM

And then we have fiddler Doug Kershaw who is a damn good violinist.

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Jeri
Date: 23 Jan 00 - 08:59 AM

Waaay off the subject, but there was an awards ceremony where Pavarotti no-showed, and Aretha Franklin sang "Nessun Dorma." I would have loved to hear that!

It's about having an ear for the music, whatever the music is. Some classically trained musicians don't have one, because all they've ever learned was to play what's in front of them on the paper. I suspect they may not be very good classical musicians, since classical music also requires some interperetation and a lot of feeling. Some do.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Marion
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 09:01 PM

Re: "Is it also the only instrument to have different names dependent on the style in which it is played?"

I can also think of harmonica vs. harp vs. mouth organ; guitar vs. axe; and piano vs. keyboard.

Regarding what people have said about fiddle bridges being flatter to make double stops easier; I don't understand how this works. When you're bowing two strings, your bow assumes the straight line between those two strings; how would the shape of the bridge or the location of the strings you're not playing affect where that straight line is? If anything it seems like a flatter bridge should be less forgiving, because it would take a smaller error in the angle to hit a wrong string.

Some general thoughts: I'm a novice fiddler, and a classically trained violinist has recently come into my life. She wants to learn fiddling, and we sat down together and tried a reel that neither of us knew. She commented that my intonation was off - not surprising, because at first reading I'm just trying to get the notes in the right order and right timing and not worrying too much about intonation. But I hadn't noticed. On the other hand, she played an eighth note where a quarter note was written (not a great photocopy) and didn't seem to notice, whereas it was glaring to me that there was a rhythm error in that bar.

Also, this girl gave me a violin piece to learn (Pachelbel's Canon in D) and said that it could be played by two or more violins as a round. So I've been working on it, and find it very different from any fiddle stuff I've done. The differences I observe are:

1. The Canon has rests in it - a few bars go note, rest, note, rest, and so on. I hadn't noticed this before, but I looked over the fiddle notebook and couldn't find any rests except those put at the end of tunes to get the right number of beats into a bar.

2. There is more variation in tempo within the piece - some bars contain all quarter notes, and some bars contain all thirty-second notes.

3. The melody is different, though it's harder to explain. There are bigger jumps between consecutive notes, and there are sequences that feel funny to my fingers even if the intervals aren't big.

Marion


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GUEST,Jeri (playing with a new browser)
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 09:19 PM

Re the double stops, what's easier is moving from a double stop on, say, the A and E string to one on the D and A string. The arc is smaller.

As far as rests go, the do exist in fiddle tunes, but aren't easy to find. Classical violinists have a habit of completely stopping the motion of the bow, or picking it up off the strings in between notes. It does NOT work well with fiddle tunes, IMO.

On the mistakes she heard vs the ones you heard - that may just be because you're two different people.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: Sorcha
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 12:13 AM

I am a Classical trained Fiddle Player--whatever that means........I played only classical music from age 12 to 17, then discovered "fiddle". My teacher was a real snob, and refused to admit that anything other than classical was real music. The guitar player that was teaching me Fiddle was just as big a snob, feeling that Classic was not worth anyone's time.

The upshot is that I spent 15 years trying to sound like a fidder, and still use bowing techniques unique to classical players............I also use vibrato a lot, esp. on slow aires (wrist) and occasionaly an arm vibrato on the reels and jigs--just a quickie thing on the "long" notes.

Marion, the trick is to be relaxed and go with the rythym. Catch the beat and you can't go wrong. On jigs, hit the accent hard on the first and 4th beat--One two three, Two two three. With reels, the feel is more of a continuing thing--just keep the 4 beat going.

Slow Aires--play your heart out, and get as Classical as you like.

Dance muisc--just hit the beat hard so the dancers will feel it.

About the bridge arc--I have two fiddles, one with a very arched bridge and one with an almost flat bridge. The flat bridge does make it easier to do both fingered/open stops, and double fingered double stops because the spaces between the strings are narrower on the flat bridge. The right hand does not have to do as much work as it would with an arced bridge.


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Subject: RE: Violin vs Fiddle. A Discussion.
From: GeorgeH
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 07:00 AM

An interresting discussion about a non-existant distinction . . "classical" players seem to use "fiddle" and "violin" with no distinction in meaning (although they say "fiddle" less often); it's us folkies who are snobbish about the terminology.

G.


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