April 6, 2020
Violin vs Fiddle – What is the Difference between the Violin and Fiddle

Violin vs Fiddle – What is the Difference between the Violin and Fiddle


Hello everyone! This is Mike Sanchez violinist/tutor/performer.
You can call me any of these! Today I am going to explain to you a very popular question
that is probably the number one question actually out of anything that I have ever been asked
as a teacher and that is what is the difference between a violin and a fiddle. Many people
ask this question all over the Internet and today I am going to answer that question and
not only answer it but show you a few things on it. Just to give you a little bit of a
background I was raised classically and I learned through the symphony orchestra I could
play all classical music from my chair and didn’t move too much. But then I started to
branch off into some other forms of music which ended up being country music. I also
learned bluegrass and cajun style music. The coolest thing about it was that it allowed
me to do other things that I have never been able to do before with country and cajun music.
The reason that I bring all this up is because the violin is going to be the exact same instrument
as the fiddle! That is a shocker to many people! So you can do pretty much everything that
I just said as far as styles on this one instrument. So it is all about how you play it! This violin
here is actually my Grandfather’s he played in a local symphony for over 25 years. What
happened is that I actually turned the violin he gave me into a fiddle! I put a pickup on
the violin, and duct tape! You aren’t supposed to do that so leave me alone on that comment.
🙂 So anyways, I turned this thing into a fiddle but I can still play very much classically
and when I teach in my own studio I do teach all different styles of violin as well as
fiddle. Different students want to go different ways with it and they always ask me should
I get a fiddle or a violin? I say it is pretty much the same thing! Let me kind of demonstrate
for you what I mean by different styles and how the fiddle and the violin are exactly
the same instrument. Classical violin, let’s demonstrate here. (Tuning). Alright so here
goes a little bit of classical. (Classical music playing). So classical is very much
classical! It is single notes, vibrato, it is very much technical and not very free,
but it is very pretty and I love it. So on the same violin, notice I didn’t change the
video or anything. This is the same instrument. I am now going to show you some other styles.
Let’s see so what should I play? A lot of people can relate to maybe Orange Blossom
Special? Something like that? (Playing Orange Blossom Special). So that is a lot different
than what I did earlier! (Playing). Obviously! There is all different styles on the violin
you have blues (playing blues) as well. That was also jazzy. Or cajun music (playing cajun
music). That is similar to country but pretty much the same idea. So that answers the question
what is the difference between a violin and a fiddle. As far as the body of it there is
absolutely nothing, but the style of it is totally different and it is all going to depend
on what you want to learn and the style that you go after. You will eventually branch off
into different things that you might want to learn later on. If you want to learn about
the violin and how to play it do visit my website! It will teach you everything you
need to know. www.violintutorpro.com. Hope to see you all there and have a great night.
I hope I answered your question!

100 thoughts on “Violin vs Fiddle – What is the Difference between the Violin and Fiddle

  1. Some of the Gypsy songs are really fast. One, "Gypsy Train", sometimes called Cherry Blossom is very much similar to Orange Blossom Special.

  2. There are many types of "fiddling", each with a specialized, bow-driven rhythm. I'd say total immersion in a style is absolutely necessary. If the music is for the purpose of dancing, learn the dance steps as well. If you're playing a minuet, learn the dance. If you're playing a hoe-down, learn to clog. It's all about the rhythm, not the instrument.

  3. my granddad played the fiddle all week at the dance halls but he played the violin in church on sunday. same instrument.

  4. I begun to take violin lessons a few weeks ago an I wonder whether I will ever be able to play the tune at 5:02… How many years do you think a "average" need to come so far to play this?

  5. That was something I exspected… But it dosen't help me. I know there no "one" answer but maybe you can gibe me roughly outlook. 1 year, 10 years? Something like that…

  6. There is no difference actually. People only refer to the "violin" and "fiddle" because of the way the instrument is played.

  7. is the Violin to loud to play by your self?
    piano and guitar is fine to just sit down and play, is the fiddle to?

  8. I've always thought the violin was awesome and am thinking about buying one very soon, is this an instrument that I can learn by myself ? I'm pretty slow when introduced to new things

  9. Yes it is. I offer lessons on my violintutorpro website that I would recommend for you to get started with. If you need help choosing an instrument I would recommend looking at the Peccard model on Superior Violin's website. It's a great beginner model. Let me know if you have other questions.

  10. the only difference between the fiddle and the violin is that you can't spill whiskey on such a fancy instrument as the violin; so you call it a fiddle. 🙂

  11. A $40 violin will sound like a $40 violin. It would be better to spend a little more and get something that will actually last you a little while. You can feel free to check out my Superior Violin's website.The Superior Violin outfit has everything you need to get started for just a little over $100. If you wanted to spend a little more the Peccard model is an excellent choice too. If you would like to talk more I can give you more details or talk through other options. Just message me on here.

  12. is there not something about the shape of the bridge?? fiddle bridge less curvy?? lovely instrument by the way, and you give it power – wonderful.

  13. Mad props man. I love the versatility. My grandma recently gave me her fiddle she got in the 70's and I have been trying to learn on my own. Not a whole lot of progress yet but I love it.

  14. yes… often times fiddle players (especially old time fiddlers) like to keep their bridges flatter. And the violinist prefers a more rounded bridge. Its all about preference really.

  15. My husband plays his fiddle a lot. He loves all three of them. Regardless of the money spent on your instrument, the talent always shines through. 😉

  16. I bought a violin years ago and during that time I was taking a Music Theory class and knew a lot about reading the music sheets. I took violin classes and she told me I was a fast learner because I picked up fast on a lot of the stuff she taught me. I ending up selling my violin because I played my guitar a lot more and was more interested in it. I've been thinking about buying another one for fiddling and teaching myself but I don't know what to buy. Got any ideas? Thanks!

  17. Hey, did someone ever tell you that you know your way with a violin? I doubt anyone EVER did, so here you go. You are pretty darn amazing with a violin.

  18. I was trained as a classic violist. I would love to learn how to play fiddle music. Do you think it is possible to do on my viola or should I invest in a violin and grab some fiddle music?? What would you suggest?

  19. Hi Tiffany! That's great you want to play again! It's a great instrument. I would suggest taking a look at superiorviolins's website. I am actually the owner of Superior. I try not to be biased since I sell the instruments, but there are definitely some great ones on there you should check out! Depending on your needs and goals there is a great variety.The url is listed above. If you have questions about certain models I can help answer those for you. Feel free to send me a message.

  20. Hi Sharon! Since fiddle is only a style you could try playing that style on a viola. Though it is most common on a violin. 🙂

  21. wait…. let me try to understand this………… the violin and fiddle are the excact same instrument, and they have the same shape, but the violin plays classical music and the fiddle plays country music? i am correct? i also had a question….. you know the parts of the violin and the names? well i was wondering if the fiddle's parts are named the same. i was just wondering cause my friend kept saying that the fiddle and the violin are different

  22. wait so let me understand this……. the violin and the fiddle are the same instrument with the same shape, but the violin plays classical and the fiddle play country?am i correct? i was also wondering if the violin's and the fiddle's parts were called the same…..like the bridge and the scroll

  23. Im only in my second year of violin at my middle school and we played one fiddle peice ("bile em cabbage down") and i liked it of course what would you suggest i do at this early stage since im not that skilled yet.

  24. A violin and a fiddle are exactly the same thing. It's only the style of music that is different. Not sure what the point of this video is. This person is simply playing a "style" of violin/fiddle.. .

  25. Great explanation ! very well said. Awesome Playing. Would love to hear your full version of Orange Blossom Special !

  26. It is the exact same instrument. The item itself just has two different names. Think of it as 'normal' language and slang. The more proper term is violin, but the more slangy term would be fiddle. Mostly classical music types say violin and the more folkish types (celtic/jazz/blues/etc) usually say fiddle.

  27. The distinction between violin and fiddle is misleading: the real difference is between a violinist and a fiddler. Violinists generally play "classical" music, and play from written music until they have memorized it. Fiddlers generally play traditional music, and learn music by ear or improvise. To confuse matters, violinists and fiddlers often like their instruments set up a little differently — sometimes fiddlers do like flatter bridges than violinists. Thanks for taking this question, Mike!

  28. Like my old violin teacher once said,"play Turkey in the Straw." He does it better and I think my old teacher was being lazy. There's much to learn from American tradition. While classical violin tradition has much to recommend it, this type of music lives and breathes and deserves a special place.

  29. the answer in the difference between fiddle and violin is basically the same as between sheep and lamb , cow and beef , german and latin origin , peasant and land owner . [ norman conquest ]

  30. sure would like to hear some blues violin    what you played was def more jazzy  –  your violin has a rich tone    thnx

  31. Exact same notes, you are just down a 4th. on viola. Notes of G chord on fiddle is C chord on viola. Fiddle A=viola D Fiddle B= viola E etc. Picture taking the E string off your fiddle, moving the other 3 over and adding a C string where the G used to be. That is viola. Fiddle playing a song in D chord, you just play same song in A (fiddle) position.

  32. Yep, exact same instrument. Just use is different. Some fiddlers will flatten the curve of the bridge for speed, and some use steel strings instead of gut for a different sound. Fiddlers tend to stay in 1st. possition more but some do not. Pearlman is a very poor fiddler, while Stern was exceptional fiddler! Both equal on violin, not so on fiddle! Stern could play Orange Blossom Special as well as he could Bach! Humm it! You can't play what you can't think 🙂

  33. Thank you!  Its obvious you are a master at the violin / fiddle.  I am at a cross road with the one I like the most.  so I listen to both.  As I have a feeling you did too.  God loves classic and the waltz and He also called upon the 'dance' didn't He?  I think the instrument you hold is a choice He made in His Kingdom as a piece of music.  It ain't all harps ya know.  LOL  God Bless

  34. I was told a few years ago that the bridge was a tad less rounded on a fiddle. True or false? Thanks.

  35. Thank you so much for helping me. I was really confused and thought the fiddle and the violin were two different instruments.

  36. hey! I'm the female version of you! Classical youth, branching out – hillbilly – bluegrass – etc – and I teach as well.  I get asked that question ALLLLL the time! and thank you for giving the answer you did! (its the same answer I give people… lol )  you rock. keep it up (oh and ive got duct tape on my pick up too… and some string … and crazy glue)

  37. Thank you for clearing this up! I am a beginner fiddler and have heard people say that the difference between the two is that fiddle playing requires a flatter bridge to so that it is easier to do double stops and the like. Like I said, I am VERY MUCH a beginner and for a moment I was almost convinced that the flatter bridge theory made the difference. Thank you for clearing that up! 

  38. Brilliant! You are very talented! Totally shredded the fiddle! 😀 Thanks for sharing and keep up the amazingness! Try some Shetland Reels! The bowing is specific to the area and great fun! Willafjord, Sleep Soon Da Mornin' and Spootiskerry are all goodies! 😉
    Greetings from Scotland!

  39. I Have played classical all the time to where I've worked up to chaconne and really want to learn fiddling so what exactly do you recommend I do to learn it

  40. Thank you i was looking for the difference. i feel like im too old to learn and i wanna teach my self for fun haha self taught pianist [still learning]  now i am trying to expand to this.
    i love classical !

    thanx !!

  41. Thank you for your videos.  I see you authored the Fiddle for Dummies (there is a Violin for Dummies, too – 😛  Just to add to the confusion) book.  Great job.  I have visited your store.  I need to buy something soon at the lower range (The Matteo or VItale).  I noticed that the violin descriptions don't include the strings that come with it.  I am not going to hinge my purchase on that but some might.

  42. woww !!!! impresionante !!!!!….aunque dan ganas de guardar el violin encima del armario jiijijiijiiji …… paciencia y constancia.

  43. I've seen also the bow hold is different to obtain a lighter tone and they play closer to the fingerboard sometimes, I guess the difference is rather technical and the way the music is writte of course.

  44. I am looking if all goes to plan, in purchasing a violin. I am torn between looking to playing classical or bluegrass. Its all in the steel vs synthetic strings right?!

  45. I think what many want to know that you haven't touched on is the difference that makes the fiddle better for fiddling and makes the violin better for classical. For example, a friend brought 2 violins that were gifted to him to a shop to have them inspected. The luthier that had inspected the violins told my friend that one of the 2 would be better for fiddle music and the other should be used if he decides to play classical. So, while it's understood that all types of music can be played on one violin/fiddle, the question I have is what makes one instrument better for a specific type of music than the other? – cheers!

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