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The Fiddle

The Fiddle - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Dec 27, 2006
( Rating: 1 Star Rating)

Fiddles aren't just for cowboys! Even though they're used in country music they're played in other styles too. So ditch that image of your grandpappy sittin' by the fire playing his fiddle.

Fiddles aren't just for grannies and cowboys! Even though fiddles are often used in country and folk music they are played in almost every style of music too. U2 used a violin on Sunday Bloody Sunday and R.E.M used a fiddle on much of their Automatic For The People album. So ditch that picture in your head of your grandpappy sittin' by the fire playing his fiddle while the family square dances.

Fiddles and violins are the same instrument - violin is just another name for the wood instrument. The fiddle belongs to the string family for obvious reasons. It has four strings with a hollow wood body and two "s" shaped holes on either side of the strings. The sound resonates through the hollow body and exits the "s" holes. The strings are made of catgut (meow) or steel and the bow is made of horsehair.

Sound is produced when the bow is rubbed or "bounced" against the strings and different notes are produced by pressing your fingers on the strings. The non-bow hand that's changing notes, presses or wiggles the strings against the neck - similar to the way you change notes on a guitar neck, except in this case the neck is pointing down. How the heck do you hold the violin? Your chin rests in a little cup or chin rest at the bottom of the instrument. The hand that's working the neck supports the body. The fiddle is a lot smaller than a guitar otherwise this wouldn't work.

The main instrument used in Celtic music and Irish jigs is the fiddle. Natalie MacMaster is a very popular Canadian fiddler. The Irish group of musical clones, The Corrs, are always fiddlin' away. A young fiddler from Canada's Maritimes, Ashley MacIssac, took fiddlin' to the next level by combining it with techno and pop music. Did you know that Albert Einstein even played the fiddle? You don't have to be a genius to play but this is one instrument that requires a lot of coordination, skill and musical ability.

1 It's all in the bass guitar, baby!!!
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Do You Play the Fiddle?

  • Yeah, I've been taking lessons forever!
  • I just started playing.
  • I've always wanted to, but never got around to it.
  • No, I prefer the piano.

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