What’s The Difference Between a Fiddle and a Violin?

What is the difference between violin and fiddle? Are violin and fiddle the same? Have you ever wondered about these questions? If so, then you make a logical concern here. Fiddle and violin are the same things played with an instrument with four strings. Both require skill and learning.

Then why do we have two different terminologies for the same thing? As a musician and professional expert, I can clear it to you. However, we cannot do it in two lines. So let’s dive deep into the back history and learn the difference between violin and fiddle.

Are the fiddle and violin the same instrument?

The clear answer is yes or no. Before giving the final answer, we need to know the cultural context of playing and who is playing it. The instrument is pretty much the same, and there is no difference in the instrument shape.

Many professional violinists don’t like to say its fiddle. One meaning of fiddle is to mess up with, and the other is Western and country. However, the musicians from Eastern Europe always called it a fiddle. There are some historical aspects behind it that we discussed right next. This Eastern-European music is also not the same as an American genre, so here term got interchangeable, and we can clarify some differences between both terminologies.

Fiddle Vs Violin: Historical facts of both terminologies’ evolution

While enclosing all the difficult aspects in a single term, we can say that fiddle is more related to simple music, which is not very classical and complicated to sing. It usually includes cultural songs and bluegrass. Fiddle is usually called it when someone plays it in local events, and people love to dance on these nodes, and in fiddle, players will not leave the first position of playing.

On fiddle melodic and rhythmic sound, intended people to dance and have joy on the steady flow of melody. Here, remember, we’re not saying fiddle does not require any skill or knowledge, but we are just trying to define it in simpler ways.

According to the African-American music tradition, those who love to play fiddle more than guitar and other instruments mix both terms interestingly. They locally termed it a fiddle. However, between 1920 to 1930, the black string band named it violin on their official recordings. So there is also confusion between both terms. The reason behind this name is maybe they want to distinguish their singing from the traditional folks and older style of music.

You can also have different terminology reasons in traditional Irish music. Traditional Irish musicians always called it a fiddle. Later, an American musical genre, bluegrass, termed the violin a fiddle, and there is a reason behind it. The Scottish people settled in Ireland with Irish Scottish culture and moved to America. They settled in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Here the bluegrass music genre evolved and got famous worldwide with the name fiddle.

Many people consider the fiddle the ancestry name of the violin, and with its advancement and evolution, it is termed a violin. That was all the history behind the confusion between both the names. You can hear many stories; however, these were some reliable facts. Now let’s find out what exactly is fiddle and violin.

What is a fiddle?

The word fiddle is an affectionate term for violin from the Western classical players. However, the “Dictionary of music and Musician defined the fiddle as a

The fiddle group of instruments include the violin and other instruments with one string gogs and a goud sound box with boa skin or iguana. Furthermore, this group also includes Indian sarangi and rabab.”

Let’s make it simple; fiddle is a term used as a collegial term for violin. A form of violin music style played in a more traditional and casual style. It usually refers to countryside music, folks’ music, and bluegrass music.

What is a violin?

In contrast to the fiddle, the violin is considered more musical, and jazz plays through instruments. It’s played with wooden instruments with four strings. Moreover, it is regarded as a more formal and complex music form. History has had many great violinists like Beethoven and Mozart.

Furthermore, violin terminology referred to more orchestral and classical settings than the fiddle. So we can say the violin is the term that takes more liberties in terms of respect and skills.

The etymology of fiddle and violin

Informally, you can say fiddle to the violin, and in more formal and professional terms, we say it is the violin. But is there a difference between the etymology of violin and fiddle? Yes, in the Etymology aspect, both terms have different countries of origin and meanings. The word fiddle comes from the Germanic language. On the other hand, the violin has Latin roots and is a romantic language, and it comes from the Italian word “Vilanio.”

The fiddle is considered the predecessor of the violin, and like the violin, it also has the same four strings and shape. Natives have usually termed an instrument fiddle that plays with a bow called a fiddle. So overall, we can say german and English named it in two different terms throughout its evolution.

Is there any difference between playing violin and fiddle?

No, for both you have to play the same instrument. However, it is easier to fiddle than the violin. Fiddle does not include very complexly classical nodes and diversity in nodes, so it is easy to play. Later, when someone deep-dives into complicated aspects of orchestral, classical, and jazz music, we can say it’s the violin. So here we can say only the skill level can distinguish between both aspects. However, the playing is almost identical.

Difference between fiddle and violin strings and tuning

There is a difference between selecting fiddle and violin strings and tuning. Violinists usually preferred synthetic strings. They typically struggle with fine-tuning and are experts in unwrapping Steel E strings. Moreover, the violin is also perfect is playing gifts. (GDAE)

The fiddlers usually use all the steel strings during playtime and rely on the fine tuner and peg tuning. The folklore fiddlers also use a lot of variation to make a rhythmic and melodic sound.

How to play the fiddle? A weekly plan for learners

It is very effortless to learn how to play the fiddle because it gives you pleasure and enjoyment whenever you start learning it. It is not a piece of cake, but you can do it with the help of daily practice. During the practice, you will come to know where to put your hand, finger on the fingerboard, and violin on the shoulder.

Here we go with the effective style of playing a fiddle. First of all, you need to make it a habit that you will do without any gap. Then, you will learn how to bow your hand, keep the bow straight, the whole tone on the fiddle, and how to control the volume while playing a fiddle.

This is the roadmap of learning to fiddle for one week. The second week will be about learning how to play in tune, learning how to play with vibrato. The third week is all about reading your music and making notes of it according to your own. In the end, you need to learn how to play the fiddle near the ear.


There is no apparent difference between a violin and fiddle definitions. Either violin or fiddle depends on the player’s style of music, technique, and purpose. All these factors describe whether we should call it violin and fiddle. The instruments are the same, and the style of music is different. So here we want to conclude that you can learn more difference when you start to have more knowledge about music styles and play it will become the noticeable difference between both terms. I hope our information helps you, and now you have some clear indications.