Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Sam. Sam Wonders, “What is the difference between a violin and a fiddle” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Sam!

Imagine you’re listening to music from a full orchestra. A flute solo just ended. You hear the soothing notes of the cello, clarinet, and harp. Now, rising about the rest, is a smooth, beautiful sound. It’s coming from one of the most difficult instruments to play—the violin. 

Or is it the fiddle? Wait. What’s the difference between a violin and a fiddle, anyway? Do they have different numbers of strings? Are they made of different types of wood? No, neither of these is true!

In fact, the violin and the fiddle are the same instrument. It’s made of wood, has four strings, and is played using a bow. The violin (or fiddle) developed from earlier string instruments. It was first played during the Renaissance.

Are you WONDERing why there are two names for the same instrument? The answer is they’re used in different contexts. People usually call the instrument a violin when they’re talking about classical music. This includes most songs played by an orchestra. They call it a fiddle when it’s used in folk music.

What is folk music? It’s a very wide genre. Folk music includes any traditional music that’s passed down in by people within their culture. It can include other styles of music, such as bluegrass, country, and Cajun. Folk music can also include songs written in response to a time period, such as protest songs

When it comes to playing music, fiddlers improvise more often than violinists do. Folk music is usually meant for dancing. To entertain an audience, fiddlers can add their own flair to the music as they play.

For a person playing the violin in an orchestra, things are much different. Most often, they play music written by a composer. It takes a lot of practice to play a piece of music exactly how it was written. Some violinists write their own music, as well.

Have you ever seen a fiddle or violin played at a concert? The instrument is a very popular addition to many types of music. It’s common to hear it played in anything from jazz to hip hop. 

Would you like to be a fiddler or violinist one day? It takes a lot of time and practice to become skilled on this instrument. Pick up a bow and get started today! With enough determination, you could become a world-famous musician.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

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