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Responding to the eternal question

Posted by FiddlerJones on Monday, September 7, 2009

I was at a string jam at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago last Friday night when a banjo player asked me the eternal question:

"Do you call that a violin or a fiddle?"

After deliberating for a moment, I responded, "I call it both, at different times, just as I sometimes call my wife Elizabeth and sometimes call her sweetheart."

8 comments on “Responding to the eternal question”

OTJunky Says:
Monday, September 7, 2009 @2:55:28 PM

As good an answer as I've heard - and better than most...


Rene Says:
Monday, September 7, 2009 @4:19:26 PM

Good clever answer.

mudbug Says:
Monday, September 7, 2009 @4:38:37 PM

Maybe this is how they determine if they're going to allow someone to stay and jam. If you had answered "violin", they probably would have shown you the door. As it was, you confused him so much he let you stay.

fiddlepogo Says:
Monday, September 7, 2009 @6:47:26 PM

I called it a violin when I was in the shop buying it.
Now it's a fiddle.
If I ever sell it, it'll turn back into a violin!!!

bj Says:
Monday, September 7, 2009 @7:52:43 PM

Mine are all fiddles . . . up until I ever want to sell any of them, as Michael has said.

Cyndy Says:
Tuesday, September 8, 2009 @5:06:30 AM

I went to the fiddle workshop at Old Town on Sunday and someone asked if Finnish has a word similar to "fiddle." I think the answer was yes, although I don't quite remember what it was. And then someone else observed that we rarely, if ever, hear guitars or banjos or the like called anything but "guitar" or "banjo." I think it's because of the unique and wonderful relationships we develop with our violins. I often call mine "beloved fiddle" and it's every bit as heart-felt as it sounds.

frogeyes Says:
Tuesday, September 8, 2009 @7:26:22 PM

I use both fiddle and Violin depending on the stule of music that is being played classical , Jazz etc for violin bluegrass Irish i call it a fiddle i believe its the style of music you are playing as to what it should be called

worldfiddler Says:
Sunday, February 7, 2010 @2:27:41 PM

Well, people like Itzak Perlman usually refer to their instruments as "fiddles", possibly because they are ashamed of how much they paid for them :)

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