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Fiddles & Violins

Am now curious as to why there are two names for the fiddle/violin?

How did that come about? Do they have different origins? If so, which came first?

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dave Holland [org.uk]
23rd Apr, 2006 16:15 (UTC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violin#Fiddle is a reasonable start, but I disagree with their idea that "there is usually only one fiddle playing in any given venue". The English Acoustic Collective springs immediately to mind.
hmmm_tea
23rd Apr, 2006 16:35 (UTC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violin#Fiddle is a reasonable start

Yes, I read that and I'm happy about fiddle being a colloquil term for violin typically when it's used for traditional music, but why the 2 different terms? and which came first?

English Acoustic Collective

I used to go to school with one of them. Small world...
Dave Holland [org.uk]
24th Apr, 2006 08:51 (UTC)
Well, "violin" comes from viol / vielle (French), "fiddle" comes from fidele (Old English) / fidula (Old German). But both are ultimately derived from vidula (Latin) and have just arrived in English via different routes, hence the different forms. Does that help?

There were 4 fiddles in Bellowhead last night. :-)
thethirdvoice
24th Apr, 2006 20:40 (UTC)
From OED:

fiddle
from Old English fithele
based on Latin vitulari 'celebrate a festival'


violin
C16
from Italian violino, dimin. of viola

Pick your favourite derivation, either way, fiddle has been in this country longer.

Lots of Latin-based words came into english from Latin into Old English either from the Roman occupation, through Germanic languages or from the church, and came a second time from French after the Norman invasion. If you're interested, I'll lend you my book on it sometime (although I seem to have left it at home this term).
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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