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The term fiddle may refer to any bowed string musical instrument, usually the violin.[1] It is also a colloquial term for the instrument used by players in all genres, including classical music. Fiddle playing, or fiddling, refers to various styles of music.


The fiddle

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".


The bowed string instrument first appeared in India circa 3000 BC, and is described in Hindu myth as Ravanahatha.[2] From India, the technology traveled out both to China, and through Central Asia to Europe.

The medieval fiddle emerged in 10th-century Europe, deriving from the Byzantine lira (Greek:λύρα, Latin:lira, English:lyre), a bowed string instrument of the Byzantine Empire and ancestor of most European bowed instruments.[3][4] The first recorded reference to the bowed lira was in the 9th century by the Persian geographer Ibn Khurradadhbih (d. 911); in his lexicographical discussion of instruments he cited the lira (lūrā) as a typical instrument of the Byzantines and equivalent to the rabāb played in the Islamic Empires.[5] Lira spread widely westward to Europe; in the 11th and 12th centuries European writers use the terms fiddle and lira interchangeably when referring to bowed instruments (Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009).

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