Fiddle or Violin? Meet a Maker

It is a question we hear all the time — what is the difference between a violin and a fiddle? It depends on what style of music someone plays, but basically, they are the same instrument. Chunk Dingle, a country guitar player from Georgia put it this way: “A violin has strings on it; a fiddle has straangs on it.” Classical musicians tend to call their instruments violins, but they sometimes refer to them as fiddles. Players of bluegrass, old-time, and contra dance tunes are more likely to call their instruments fiddles.

The violin pictured here was made by Bob Childs and it is currently on display at the National Heritage Museum, as part of the exhibition “Keepers of Tradition: Art and Folk Heritage in Massachusetts.” This Saturday, from 1:00-3:00 pm, Bob is going to demonstrate various aspects of violin making. You can ask questions, watch Bob measure, sand, chisel, and carve, and then go take a look at the finished product.