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Any bowed string musical instrument may be informally called a fiddle, regardless of the kind of music being played with it. Violins or other members of the violin family are often affectionately referred to by their players as "my fiddle".
Common distinctions between violins and fiddles reflect the differences in the instruments used to play classical and folk music. However, it is not uncommon for classically trained violinists to try to play fiddle music, and today many fiddle players have some classical training. A lot of traditional (folk) styles are oral traditions, so are taught 'by ear' rather than with written music. Most experienced fiddlers are able to pick up a tune in a matter of minutes, knowing the key instantly.
In performance, a solo fiddler, or one fiddler or two with a group of other instrumentalists, is the norm, though twin fiddling is represented in some North American, Scandinavian, Scottish and Irish styles. Violins, on the other hand, are commonly grouped in sections. These contrasting traditions may be vestiges of historical performance settings: large concert halls in which violins were played required more instruments, before electronic amplification, than did more intimate dance halls and houses fiddles were played in. The difference was likely compounded by the different sounds expected of violin music and fiddle music.
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FIDDLE LESSONS, VIOLIN LESSONS, VIOLA LESSONS,
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