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"Fiddling around"

Posted by Roy on Monday, January 31, 2011

 Why playing the fiddle is a lot more than just fiddling around.


I did a web search the other day and typed in fiddling and I couldn't believe the number of web sites listed that had the word fiddling in them but the reference wasn't about playing the fiddle it was about "fiddling around"  . What seemed to be a kind of unstructured doodling with no purpose or end in sight .


I thought that it was quite a misrepresentation of what it is to try and play the fiddle and that even though I can take  joke about scratching horse hair across cat gut and it sounding like someone's killing chickens the reality is that learning to play the fiddle is quite a challenge and even "fiddling around" on the fiddle is not easy .



Yehudi Menuhin, the virtuosic violinist stated that playing the fiddle is as difficult as playing the violin and that a great fiddler has mastered many elements of playing just like a classical player. They are different techniques but the mastery of traditional fiddle playing takes thousands of hours of practice. 


Suffice it to say I will harangue and argue that fiddling deserves more respect and that the search engines should differentiate between "fiddling" as an art and just "fiddling around " .


5 comments on “"Fiddling around"”

bj Says:
Monday, January 31, 2011 @1:37:59 PM

I totally agree, Roy! I believe it's time to take back the word and make it our own again . . .

martynspeck Says:
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 @5:22:31 AM

Fiddlers Of The World Unite!

mudbug Says:
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 @6:17:15 AM

That's quite an observation/acknowledgement coming from such a huge talent (in his genre) as Mr. Menuhin. He is one of my favorite "classical" violinists. I wouldn't take offence about the term. It's just part of the lexicon of the English language.

fiddlepogo Says:
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 @5:04:08 PM

There may be another angle on the term... when fiddlers play a song melody, even Old Time fiddlers, they usually don't play JUST the song melody... they usually put some extra notes in here or there.. they "fiddle around" with the the melody, and "fiddle around" the melody. And that's not even talking about bluegrass-style improvisation.... that's just taking a song tune like Redwing or Golden Slippers, and in effect turning it into a fiddle tune. And all this is done intuitively... and when you "fiddle around" with something to try and get it to work, it usually means you are messing with it intuitively without any instruction or previous knowledge about it. And that's the way most fiddlers used to learn to play, and maybe still do.

Roy Says:
Wednesday, February 2, 2011 @6:26:17 AM


I agree that improvisation and playing around can lead to new incites , new melodies, harmonies, new techniques and I do that kind of stuff all the time. The point I was trying to make is that the way information gets categorized , affects whether we can even find things when we do a search, that is the way search engines operate and the wording, etc... limits what you will find . it's i guess, partly a comment on the nature of technology and how it presents information and as mudbug says it's partly to do with the way language has evolved..." fiddling around" may be viewed by some as a negative thing or a positive thing but my point was that when you do a search real fiddling doesn't even come up ..the word has been co-opted

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