So, what is the difference between a fiddle and a violin? Actually there is no difference. It’s the exact same instrument. BUT, the difference is the type of music that’s been played on it and the set-up of the instrument.
A fiddler would probably choose other strings, an other bridge and/or shoulder rest than a violinist. Both need the same professionalism to be really good. However they will have developed different skills. That’s because fiddles usually play folk or traditional genres and violins play composition-based genres, like classical music and jazz. These music genres require different skills.
There are many different styles of fiddling. It is characterized by a huge variety of ethnic and folk music traditions. Maybe the best known are Irish and Scottish fiddlers. But there are many more. Each continent and country has its own traditional music which can be denoted as fiddling.
Loralyn Staples has great beginner fiddler lessons. In her program she teaches 25 easy fiddle tunes. It’s interesting that she not only teaches how to play the pieces like most teachers do on YouTube but she also shows great exercises, scales, arpeggios and other suggestions to make it easier to play the songs. An example of one of her classes can be found in my article about Star of the County Down.
Fiddle Tunes I’ve played
I’ll be adding more tunes here soon. For each tune, I’ve created a page with some more information about the tune, like the origin, lyrics, tips from violin teachers and my own recording.