SHLOMO PESTCOE  שלמה פּסטקאָ

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Please note: This is not a commercial site. I do not sell or appraise musical instruments. Please do not contact me to request that I identify and provide background information on a specific instrument in your possession and/or evaluate its worth. That's a job for an accredited professional appraiser, which I'm not. That said, I'll be glad to answer questions and discuss any subject I present here, so long as that one proviso is respected.  

 

 

FIDDLE


Copyright 2006 Shlomo Pestcoe. All rights reserved.


Fiddle is an old nickname for the violin. It's also used as a technical term to classify the incredible variety of different bowed-string instruments found around the globe.

The concept of bowing lute-type string instruments originated in Central Asia sometime in the 9th century CE and spread to China, the Islamic nations and the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire. Bowed-string instruments were introduced into Europe via Islamic Spain and Byzantium in the 11th century.

Originally, "fiddle" was a catchall name for the various European bowed-strings instruments that came before the violin, which was born in Northern Italy around 1520. In its early years, the violin was not considered a high-class instrument; it was played mostly by professional musicians to accompany popular social dancing, community celebrations and street processions. Upper-crust musical snobs turned their noses up at the violin and wrote it off as a "fiddle," after its out-of-fashion ancestors. The "common folks," however, took the scrappy little "fiddle" to their hearts.

By the early 1600s, the violin, in it's role as the fiddle, became the favored instrument for accompanying the "pop" dances and songs of the day all throughout Europe. It wasn't long before the violin made it's way to Europe's colonies and trading partners the world over.

In the Americas and the Caribbean of the Colonial Era, it was not only the principal string instrument for the European colonists but also for the native peoples and African slaves, who had adopted the fiddle and made it a vital part of their own musical cultures.

Over the centuries, distinctive regional and ethnic traditions of fiddle playing emerged all over the globe. Today, the fiddle is still considered the "King of String Instruments" in many of the different folk and popular music traditions found around the world-- especially throughout Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.

-- Shlomo Pestcoe

 

Illustration Credits:

  • American Fiddler, c.1864-1866 (Collection of Shlomo Pestcoe)

* Home * Bio * Shlomo Sez * Shlomo on MySpace * Sufferin' Succotash * Gillygaloo *    

* Yummie * Musical Styles * Instruments * Features * News * Contact * Links *

* Banjo Roots: Banjo Beginnings *

* Banjo Roots: West Africa *

* The Ekonting: A Link to the Banjo's West African Heritage *

Please send mail to info@shlomomusic.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 2005 Shlomo Pestcoe. All rights reserved.
Last modified: 02/01/09