The Fiddle

The fiddle, or violin, as we know it today, first appeared in Italy in the early 16th Century, having evolved from several families of Middle Eastern (Egyptian) stringed instruments. The sound is produced when a bow, made originally with horsehair and covered with rosin, is drawn across one or more of 4 strings. The string vibrations are transferred to the hollow cavity body through the bridge which amplifies the sound and creates the distinctive sound we all know. There are many styles of violin playing and the term fiddlin' is commonly used to refer to the Appalachian style that emanates from the folk music of the Appalachian mountains. This style of playing the violin uses modal sounds and different techniques than those that are used in classical violin music. It is the fiddlin' sound that is most commonly heard in traditional American folk music as well as the more modern forms of American folk, such as bluegrass. Instrument tuning and left-hand fingering is the same as that of the mandolin or Irish tenor banjo, that is, E,A,D and G.